The first three generations of PlayStation sold more than 300 million units, pioneered a new style of serious gaming and produced hefty profits. PlayStation 4, introduced by Sony on Wednesday evening, is a bold bid to recapture those glory days of innovation and success.
first new PlayStation in seven years was touted by Sony as being like a
“supercharged PC.” It has a souped-up eight-core processor to juggle
more complex tasks simultaneously, enhanced graphics, the ability to
play games even as they are being downloaded, and a new controller
designed in tandem with a “stereo camera” that can sense the depth of
the environment in front of it.All of that should make for more
compelling play for the hard-core gamers at the heart of the PlayStation
market. The blood in Door Handle Cover suppliers“Killzone: Shadow Fall,” shown to an audience of 1,200 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, looked chillingly real.
The device, whose price was not immediately announced, will go on sale before the end of the year.
PlayStation 4, serious gaming is about to become much more social. A
player can broadcast his gameplay in real time, and his friend can peek
into his game and hop in to help. Also, they will now be able to upload
recordings of themselves playing and send them to their hardcore
friends, who will possibly want to watch when they are not playing
The new features, however, cannot hide the fact that
PlayStation 4 is still a console, a way of playing games on compact
discs that was cool when cellphones were the size of toasters and
browsers were people in libraries. It was a couple of lifetimes ago, or
so it seems.
Much of the excitement in gaming has shifted to the Web and mobile devices, which is cheap, easy and fast. Nintendo’s new Wii,composite resin
introduced in November, has been a disappointment. Microsoft’s Xbox,
the third major console, is racing to turn into a home entertainment
center as fast as it can.
“Today marks a moment of truth and a
bold step forward for PlayStation,” Andrew House, chief executive of
Sony Computer Entertainment, prepregtold
the crowd. He said the new device “represents a significant shift of
thinking of PlayStation as merely a box or console to thinking as a
leading authority on play.”Fine words, but the new PlayStation will have
an uphill battle. Sales of consoles from all makers peaked in 2008,
when about 55 million units were sold according to the research firm
I.D.C. By last year, that was down to 34 million.
For 2014, Lewis Ward, I.D.C.’s research manager for gaming, forecasts a recovery to about 44.5 million.
peak to peak, we’ll be down about 10 million,” he said. “There was
attrition to alternative gaming platforms like tablets, but the trough
was exacerbated by the 2008-2009 recession. It did not permit as many
people to buy who under normal economic conditions would have bought a
That was reflected in Sony’s carbon sheetmiserable
financial results. The company has lost money for the last four years,
hampered not only by slower console sales but also by a range of
unexciting electronic products, a strong yen and the 2011 tsunami in
Japan. Analysts have made dire comments about the one-time powerhouse’s
viability. But Sony seems to have bottomed out, helped by a yen that has
now weakened. Sony executives said earlier this month that they
expected a profit in 2013.
Sony’s new chief executive, Kazuo
Hirai, has a longtime personal connection to the PlayStation franchise
and is making it one of the core elements of a more tightly focused
company. Mr. Hirai became well-known for some of his more confident
statements about the PlayStation, particularly a 2006 swipe at
Microsoft: “The next generation doesn’t start until we say it does.”
has teamed up with Gaikai, the online gaming company it bought last
year, to store PlayStation content in the cloud. PlayStation 4 games can
be streamed to the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s portable gaming device,
among other features.
“The architecture is like a PC in many ways, but super-charged to carbon sheetsbring out its full potential as a gaming platform,” said Mark Cerny, Sony’s lead system architect.
L. McQuivey, a Forrester analyst, said that in order for the
PlayStation 4 to succeed, Sony needed to think beyond gaming. The
console will have to provide other types of digital content and
services, like video conferencing, third-party apps and a TV service to
create a deeper, long-term relationship with the customer.
comparison, Apple, the world’s leading consumer electronics maker, does
not just sell hardware. It also has an ecosystem of digital content
including apps, music, movies and e-books to make people coming back for
more Apple gear every year. Apple generally takes an enviable 30
percent cut of all media it sells. Microsoft, Google and Amazon are
making similar moves to create ecosystems.
“Then and only then
can Sony hope to learn enough about its users to overcome its own bias
toward preferring to design products in response to engineering
principles rather than customer needs,” Mr. McQuivey said.
Sony shares, which have risen by nearly a third this year, were little changed Wednesday before the event.