Sony Launches PlayStation 4
New features for streaming games, social media, cloud-based networks and other improvements will heat up competition with Microsoft
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/20/2013 10:02:00 PM
Sony did not release pricing or availability except to say that it would be available for the 2013 holidays.
Much of the lengthy presentation focused on how the new features would significantly improve the quality of game play in terms of graphics, personalization, social media, group game play and cloud-based access to games and content.
The company also stressed that the console was designed to make it easier for developers to create new games and the launch event featured extensive promos for new games.
The cloud-based network for game-play could offer new ways for the delivery and discovery of additional entertainment content. During the launch event, Sony was vague on what additional content it planned to add, noting only that additional details would be unveiled later this year.
The launch is important for Sony, which has made gaming a central part of its strategy to revitalize the company's struggling consumer electronics business. But it also comes at a key juncture for the overall gaming industry and for broadcasters and programmers.
For TV players, game consoles have become a very popular way to distribute video into the home. Consoles are by far the most popular way to hook up a TV to the internet and Microsoft developed its Xbox Live streaming platform to offer a wide array of content.
Sony has also been expanding the content available on its consoles and in January launched the Sony Entertainment online store in North America. Like other major consumer electronics manufacturers it has also been working to make it easier to access content across all of its devices.
The launch is also crucial for the gaming console industry. Microsoft is expected to launch a new version of its Xbox console at some point this year.
Game console companies have been impacted by the growing importance of tablets and smart phones, which have become increasingly popular platforms. New consoles that could boost sales would be welcome news for the industry that has seen sluggish console and game sales.
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