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Sony wins opening battle in console war

Michael Thurston (via AFP/ SMH) | June 12, 2013
Sony's new-generation PlayStation 4 console has scored an opening skirmish triumph over Microsoft's Xbox One at the E3 game conference in Los Angeles.

"This is a completely new platform and, in many ways, represents a completely new PlayStation," said Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House.

"We are more than ever capitalising on the vast network of Sony divisions."

The PS4 will launch with beefed up offerings at Sony online movie and music services as the console moves to expand into a complete home entertainment centre while remaining true to hardcore gamers.

Sony will use the technology of recently acquired cloud gaming company Gaikai to launch a service next year that lets people use PS3 or PS4 consoles to play blockbuster games in the cloud in real time.

More than 140 games are in development for the PS4, with at least 100 of the titles due out in the year following the consoles release, according to Sony Computer Entertainment US president Jack Tretton.

He promised that Sony had no plans to stop people from being able to play used games, and that PS4 consoles did not need to be connected to the internet if people preferred to go it solo.

"When a player buys a PS4 disk they have the right to use that game; trade it in; lend it to a friend, or keep it forever," Tretton said.

Microsoft has sold some 77 million Xbox 360 consoles since they hit the market in late 2005. Console rival Sony has sold about the same number of PlayStation 3 consoles, which was introduced a year later.

Meanwhile, Nintendo sold nearly 100 million Wii consoles, which became hits due to innovative motion-sensing controls after their debut in 2006. But demand for Nintendo's recently released Wii U consoles has been disappointing.

While next-generation consoles will dominate E3, digital play has changed considerably from when their predecessors arrived.

Smartphones and tablets have powered a boom in games available for free, with money made from ads or in-game purchases.

"Both media events talked about the changing business models but there wasn't big news," said Blau, who predicted console and mobile games would increasingly intersect as play adapts to new gadgets and lifestyles.

 

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