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Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House speaks on stage at the announcement of the new Sony Playstation 4 at the Manhattan Centre in New York City. The new PS4 is set to be released in the Holiday season later this year.
NEW YORK: Sony unveiled a new generation PlayStation 4 system late on Wednesday and laid out its vision for the “future of gaming” in a world rich with mobile gadgets and play streamed from the Internet cloud.
At a press event in New York, computer entertainment unit chief Andrew House said PS4 “represents a significant shift from thinking of PlayStation as a box or console to thinking of the PlayStation 4 as a leading place for play.”
Absent from the Sony event was mention of what plans the company had regarding films, music, television shows and other digital content offered on the PS4.
In a move that was not lost on observers, there was no glimpse of a PlayStation 4 at the launch event. “It was odd that Sony did not show a physical device,” said Gartner consumer technologies research director Brian Blau.
“These days, people love beautiful devices, especially because of Apple.” Sony spoke ambiguously about the device, leaving much to the imagination during a two-hour presentation aimed primarily at gamemakers and players.
“They don’t want to give it all away, which is the nature of the industry,” Blau said. “Sony was really trying to get developers excited about what is going on.”
PS4 was designed to get to know players, ideally to the point of being able to predict which games people will buy and have them preloaded and ready to play.
It also allows to gameplay to be broadcast in real time, letting friends virtually peer over one another’s shoulders and gamemakers act as “directors” guiding players along.
Sony has also given a green light to building “the most powerful network for gaming in the world,” according to David Perry, chief of the Gaikai cloud gaming company that Sony purchased last year.
Gaikai specialises in letting people play videogames streamed from the Internet “cloud” instead of buying titles on disks popped into consoles or computers.
“By combining PlayStation 4, PlayStation Network and social platforms, our vision is to create the first social network with meaning dedicated to games,” Perry said during the event.
He spoke of letting people access and play videogames on the Internet using PS4, smartphones, tablets or PS Vita handheld devices. Sony needs to adapt to changing lifestyles while not alienating videogame lovers devoted to its hardware. A PlaySation App will let iPhones, iPads or Android-powered smartphones or tablets be used as “second screens” augmenting play taking place on televisions connected to PS4 consoles, according to Sony.
New-generation consoles are typically priced in the $400 to $500 range, and blockbuster game titles hit the market at $60 each.