Sony seeks head start over Microsoft with new PlayStation

Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:57pm EST
 
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By Liana B. Baker and Malathi Nayak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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.

Sony's 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 PlayStation.   Continued...

 
Andrew House, president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, speaks during the unveiling of the PlayStation 4 launch event in New York, February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid