Sony Seeks Head Start Over Microsoft with New PlayStation 4

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 .

The Japanese electronics giant said its PlayStation 4, announced at an invitation-only event in New York on Wednesday, is designed to take advantage of new technologies for customers to play games and responds to the burgeoning popularity of smartphones and tablets in gaming. Photo: Gadget Media/Flickr

As expected, Sony today unveiled the PlayStation 4, which executives said represents a shift from thinking of the PlayStation as a simply “a box or console” to simply the best place to play games.

The Japanese electronics giant said its PlayStation 4, announced at an invitation-only event in New York on Wednesday, is designed to take advantage of new technologies for customers to play games and responds to the burgeoning popularity of smartphones and tablets in gaming.

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.

The new console will be powered by an X86 CPU and an enhanced PC graphics processor, with 8GB of memory. The design will be seen as easy to develop software for and will please games makers who found the PlayStation 3’s unusual architecture difficult.

The predecessor console was introduced in 2007 and has sold 77m units worldwide to date.

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.

The company also said it developed a new social-networking service that allows customers to upload gameplay footage to the Internet, as well as watch others as they play, says the Wall Street Journal.

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.

“Playstation 4 … really connects every device in the office and the smartphone and the tablet out there in the world,” Tretton said.

“The consumer is changing us,” said Andrew House, head of Sony’s PlayStation division. “The living room is no longer the center of the PlayStation ecosystem; the gamer is.”

Sony did not show off the exterior design of the PlayStation 4, but did unveil the new Dual Shock 4 controller, which has a front touchpad and a motion sensor bar.

A few new features have been added to the controller, including a touchpad, share button, headphone jack, and a lightbar for simpler, more friendly identification of players.

A second peripheral, meanwhile, is a stereo camera that can sense the depth of objects in front of it.

The PlayStation 4’s connectivity will also be able to automatically suggest content to suit individuals, including pre-loading games that suit their tastes.

The console will also be able to power itself down into a low power state, preserving progress within games.

A secondary chip will be able to take care of background downloads, allowing you to start playing games before they have finished downloading, writes the Telegraph.

Sony brought a number of game developers onstage at its event to show off upcoming games for the PS4.

The first game to debut was Knack, a title being directed by Mark Cerny, who’s also the lead on the PS4’s hardware. Knack looks like a platform-action title in the vein of Ratchet & Clank or Jak & Daxter and will be an exclusive PS4 title, writes the CNet.

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