Sony Corp said it will launch its next-generation PlayStation this year,
hoping its first video game console in seven years will give it a
much-needed head start over the next version of Microsoft's Xbox and
help revive its stumbling electronics business.
The new console will
have a revamped interface, let users stream and play video games hosted
on servers, and allow users to play while downloading titles as well as
share videos with friends. Its new controller, dubbed DualShock 4, will
have a touchpad and a camera that can sense the depth of the environment
in front of it.
Sony, which only displayed the controller but not
the console, said on Wednesday the PlayStation 4 would be available for
the year-end holiday season and flagged games from the likes of Ubisoft
Entertainment SA and Activision Blizzard Inc, whose top executives also
attended the glitzy launch event.
It did not disclose pricing or an exact launch date.
announcement comes amid industry speculation that Microsoft Corp is set
to unveil the successor to its Xbox 360 later this summer. The current
Xbox 360 beats the seven-year-old PlayStation 3's online network with
features such as voice commands on interactive gaming and better
connectivity to smartphones and tablets.
But all video game console makers are grappling with the onslaught of mobile devices into their turf.
Tablets and smartphones built by rivals such as Apple Inc
and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd already account for
around 10 percent of the $80 billion gaming market. Those mobile
devices, analysts predict, will within a few years be as powerful as the
current slew of game-only consoles.
"It looks good and
had a lot of great games but the industry is different now," Billy
Pidgeon, an analyst at Inside Network Research, said of the new
"It'll be a slow burn and not heavy uptake right away."
Migration to mobile
makers will also have to tackle flagging video game hardware and
software sales, which research firm NPD group says have dropped
consistently every month over the last year as users migrate to free
game content on mobile devices.
PlayStation 4 will have an app on
Android and Apple mobile devices that connects to console games and can
act as a second screen, Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer
Entertainment of America, said in an interview.
... really connects every device in the office and the smartphone and
the tablet out there in the world," Tretton said.
which has been in development for the last five years, will have 8 GB of
memory and will instantly stream game content from the console to
Sony's handheld PlayStation Vita through a feature called "Remote Play,"
the company said.
"What Sony is banking on is the ease of the use
of this system," Greg Miller, PlayStation executive editor at video
game site IGN.com, said.
After six years, Sony PlayStation sales
are just shy of Xbox's 67 million installed base and well behind the 100
million Wii consoles sold by Nintendo Co Ltd, according to analysts.
said it would be a big undertaking to manufacture and distribute the
console in Sony's four major markets by the end of the year, adding that
it would be a "phased rollout" that starts before the end of the year.
Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia predicted Sony would probably get a couple
of million units of the PlayStation 4 out by the 2013 holiday season and
7 million or 8 million out a year later.
Sony also announced a
strategic partnership with video game publisher Activision Blizzard to
take its Diablo III game to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3
Activision's upcoming sci-fi shooter game "Destiny" in
development by its Bungie Studio will also be available on PlayStation
© Thomson Reuters 2013