A very big deal for the company's future gaming business. It's Sony's first major console since coming out with the not-so-popular PlayStation 3 in 2006 - practically an eternity in this world. In a few months, Microsoft is expected to introduce the next Xbox iteration in what could be a new round of console wars. Of course, the console business isn't what it once was, what with the popularity of online games that can be played with smart phones and tablets. Consoles are also becoming a popular conduit for streaming movies and TV shows, though even here there are cheaper ways of accessing content. With so many alternatives, the updated PlayStation, however it's received by the gaming cognescenti, faces a tough competitive road. Consumers will have to be convinced that it's worth spending several hundred dollars (Sony hasn't yet released price information). From Bloomberg:
The PlayStation, once a profit center for Sony consumer electronics, lost its lead in the last generation of consoles, while remaining an important launchpad for Tokyo-based Sony's new technologies and services, including DVD and Blu-ray players and its online video and music stores. Sony's PlayStation 3 fell to third place. Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360 vied for dominance in the living room, while Sony lost money on the PlayStation 3 for its first four years. PlayStation, through three console iterations, has sold about 332 million units, said Dan Race, a spokesman. One goal with the new PlayStation is to tie Sony's hardware together to let consumers pick up games or movies on one device that they've started on another. Perry introduced features that let customers to switch back and forth.
From the WSJ:
Sony said it integrated a new technology called streaming or cloud gaming, which will allow customers to stream games from servers over the Web. It added a new controller designed with an integrated touchpad, as well as a new button dedicated to sharing game info. "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 also said it has added technology to allow gamers to upload gameplay footage to the Internet, as well as watch others. Sony said it will allow gamers to connect together using existing social networks. The system includes specialized mobile applications to let gamers share comments and watch one another as they play.
*Update: Turns out that Sony didn't even show the console during its rollout tonight in NY. Nor did the company indicate price or release date. Not great, given all the hype surrounding the announcement.