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Posts with tag Sony

Sony considers selling manufacturing facilities to Toshiba

The second time in less than a month, Sony is supposedly considering selling its chip manufacturing plants to rival electronics company Toshiba. According to a report by Reuters, "Sony was in negotiations with Toshiba to sell its manufacturing facilities in Nagasaki, also in western Japan, for advanced microchips including the Cell microprocessor." The Cell processor is a vital part of the PS3 architecture and is one of the costliest and most powerful aspects of the system.

Although both companies have declined to comment, the Business Daily Nikkei has estimated the sale value of the production facilities at 100 billion yen ($856 million).

[Via Next Generation]

Toshiba to use Cell-based chip in PCs

When Sony, Toshiba and IBM began development on the Cell processor, they had bigger plans for it than just running PS3s, and it looks like Toshiba has been hard at work to put it to more use.

Daily Tech reports that Toshiba plans to take the Cell processor out of the PS3 and extend it for use as a graphics chip in its notebook PCs. Toshiba has coined the new technology SpursEngine and should unveil its first laptop using the graphics chip at the CEATEC JAPAN 2007 conference in early October.

However, the truly interesting piece is DailyTech's speculation that Toshiba may have even more plans for the SpursEngine beyond just PCs. It could look to eventually implement the technology in other consumer electronics, including its line of HD DVD players. Now how dastardly, would that be?

[via FiringSquad]

TGS07: Home delayed until Spring 2008

PlayStation 3's social MMO Home has been delayed until Spring 2008, according to Kaz Hirai during the Tokyo Game Show press conference. A previous progress report from an anonymous beta tester gave the indication that development was behind schedule, so we're not too surprised. However, we would love to know if any updates have been implemented in the last month, if anyone in the notoriously secretive beta would like to speak up.

GameStop honchos ponder PS3 potential

While a lot of gamers question the ability of many GameStop employees, fact of the matter is they're really our only option (especially if you play RPG's ... good luck finding a Suikoden title at Target or Best Buy) and generally, they're nice people working there. The bigwigs of GameStop had a discussion recently about the next-gen now-gen consoles, and their prospects for the upcoming holiday season. Vice President Bob McKenzie said this regarding the PS3's second Christmas: "It's really the higher end. It's the core consumer that wants the latest and the greatest."

Sounds about right. Does he feel the PS3 has lived up to its promises and displayed its potential? Not quite. "I think they've done some moves recently, with the mark-down on the sixty-gig that will help to show that they are reacting. That they see the opportunity, and they know that they need to continue to stimulate that. The eighty-gig is coming out now, and having a game packed in, they see that they have a little catching up to do." Hopefully, Sony will steal the show at TGS and prove they've got not only a solid game lineup this holiday season, but have been actively listening to consumers and will do everything in their power to get their system into more homes. We'll see!

TGS07: Virtually at Sony's pre-TGS cocktail

Where else would Sony host their pre-TGS cocktail party but at their Corporate Headquarters in Shinagawa? Sony opened their doors to the non-Japanese media today for the first time and we got to see what their lavishly over the top interior designers have done with the place. The room was full of journalists, Sony executives (from both sides of the pond - SCEI were surprisingly absent) and more food and drink than you could shake a stick at. Trust us, we tried.

Check out the gallery below to see the huge screens that showed off Sony's multiple first party trailers as well as the smaller screens which allowed us another wee glimpse into those upcoming 2007 games (for the upteenth time). There were people there too, apparently.

Gallery: TGS07 Sony Cocktail Party

*Update* Sega's Scott Steinberg joins with Sony's Marketing Division

Sony contacted us and clarified that Scott Steinberg is not Karraker's replacement, but instead heading up SCEA's hardware, software, and channel marketing division. So that means Karraker's position as "Senior Director of Corporate Communications" is still open -- any takers?

*Original Post*
If you've been a fan of Sega's for a while, you'll have heard the name of Scott Steinberg. He was the former Marketing VP of Sega in its heyday and will now replace Dave Karraker as head of Sony PR. He'll report to Peter Dille and be responsible for all PlayStation hardware, software, and channel marketing as of October 1st. Steinberg, in addition to Sega, has worked for multiple different companies including Roxio/Napster, Liquid Audio, Eidos Interactive and Crystal Dynamics. He worked with Sega during the Genesis days, evaluating development and licensed properties.

Peter Dille released his thoughts on the new hire, saying "We are thrilled to have Scott join our team as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the PlayStation marketing staff and the management group here at SCEA. Scott has an ideal blend of experience in digital entertainment and content delivery as well as a proven track record for strategic innovation and implementation within this industry. He will be a critical component for the success of our marketing efforts across the PlayStation brand moving forward." We'd also like to welcome Scott on board. Welcome, Scott! Do us fanboys proud!

Consumer price ceiling may be causing PS3 sales slump

According to Tech Analyst Tim Bajarin (with Creative Strategies), people set a price ceiling of $399 for new electronic items and anything above that ceiling will not only get infested with rats (damned crawlspaces), but won't be able to sell in volume. They cite the iPhone as a suffrant of this concept as well as the PlayStation 3. No, suffrant isn't a word, but it should be. It's a new way of saying "one afflicted by suffering" or something. This price ceiling isn't end-all, that is, televisions and computers are exempt from the ceiling because those are "worth" the extra cash.

What we thought was interesting was the coupling of the $399 price ceiling and the rumored price drop of the PS3 to that sweet $399 mark. If that's what it takes to sell volumes, there might be more behind this analysis than meets the eye. Still, most people reading this site are exceptions to the rule -- we nabbed the PS3 before this price ceiling, but then again, we don't exactly constitute "volume" sales. Do you guys think PlayStation 3 sales will skyrocket if the price hits $399?

[via Joystiq]

Cell and GPU work better together than either alone

The subject line is based on a series of facts, with hard numbers, released by a report by Sony themselves regarding the PS3's deferred shading and rendering. This is a detailed, confusing report, so if you're not a really techno-savvy lord with other techno-geeks buying you groceries or rubbing your hands to ease the twitch-reaction from all the mousing and keyboarding, it might go over your head. But for those with a keen interest in algorithms and the PS3's abilities, this is a delight to read and proves, ostensibly, the PS3 can generate processing power and graphical ability beyond a doubt above non-hybrid structures.

To help understand the numbers, graphs, charts, and whatnot in the report, we're going to use the abstract summary at the beginning of the report to show how the PS3 is proving its muscle through facts, not fanboyism. They summed the report up with this: "The SPEs use the Cell/B.E. DMA list capability to gather irregular fine-grained fragments of texture data generated by the GPU. They return resultant shadow textures the same way. The
shading computation ran at up to 85 Hz at HDTV 720p resolution on 5 SPEs and generated 30.72 gigaops of
performance. This is comparable to the performance of the algorithm running on a state of the art high end GPU. These results indicate that the Cell/B.E. can effectively enhance the throughput of a GPU in this hybrid system by alleviating the pixel shading bottleneck."

It seems there is a reason behind devs choosing to stick with the 720p resolution if that's the case. You can download the report and check it out for yourself here if you'd like and draw your own conclusion, but we think this tells us the PS3 made the right decision in creating a hybrid solution with the Cell and GPU. Leave us your take!

PS3 labeled "best media center" by EISA

Seems Sony can jam another feather in its cap and cluck about another award today. The winners were announced for this year's EISA awards (European Imaging and Sounds Association) and the PlayStation 3 walked off with the award for best multimedia device. From the official announcement on the EISA site, "Sony's PS3 is a wonderful example of a powerful media centre, thanks to its inclusion of an audio-video-photo player as well as a web browser to navigate, download, play and chat on the Internet. In addition there's a 60GB hard disk for content storage, plus Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and four USB interfaces allowing connection of external hard-disk storage and USB accessories such as keyboards."

They continue to gush about the importance of Blu-ray and how, above all else, the system is a "worthy heir to the grand PlayStation heritage." We're glad that, for once, the PS3 isn't rated an over-priced piece of hardware or a product that has already failed. We'd like to think that the opinion of the EISA is the least biased and a lot more convincing than one Japanese author, or a single journalist. We're happy for you, Sony, just don't forget that you've got to make the PS3 a gaming console above all that other useful stuff!

Square Enix to Sony: get it together, man!

Yoichi Wada, the President of Square Enix, stated publicly that Sony has to find and stick with a more solid marketing strategy for the PS3. Remember those "Play B3yond" commercials? Don't worry -- not a lot of us do, since they were practically nonexistent after launch. Anyway, Wada told reporters "Sony first unveiled the PS3 as a mighty home electronics product. Then, after some badgering from game companies, it shifted the position of the console closer to a game machine."

It is odd, but Wada has a point: Sony does need to get it together when it comes to marketing their product. It's more expensive than other game machines (compared to the Elite, not by much), but it can do so much more. As a game machine, it's struggling to get its namesake: games. Until November, when at least a dozen great titles will be released or will have been released. Do you think Sony will unleash a bevy of PS3 marketing ploys for this holiday season, or will they try to keep those costs at a minimum and do something else? Either way, Square Enix seems anxious about the system, especially with something like FFXIII on its way.

[also via Joystiq]

How are analysts handling Karraker's departure?

They're worried, honestly. Though some may say PR people are a dime a dozen in any industry, Karraker had a lot of history at Sony and his recent departure from the team is going to make it a difficult holiday for Sony, says analyst Michael Pachter. Karraker always made himself available for questions and comments, putting himself forward especially after the shaky PS3 launch and subsequent waves of negative press. Can someone fresh really fill the shoes of that man?

Michael Pachter isn't completely sure. "The other PR people at Sony are quite competent, but it would help to strengthen the team with someone as good as Dave to handle the schizophrenic press over the next 6 months." Just because we always refer to ourselves as "we" doesn't make us schizophrenic! Although we don't consider ourselves press, either. As to further boost Sony's fears, Pachter also claimed that the few PS3 exclusives and pricing disadvantage relative to other consoles will make this one difficult holiday for Sony. Things will shape up in Spring, he said, "with the release of Grand Theft Auto 4, Gran Turismo 5, and Metal Gear Solid 4." We bet so, too!

Sony financial IPO may subsidize PS3 cost

Sony will sell about $2.9 billion worth of shares in a new IPO for its insurance unit, Japan's biggest IPO this year. 34.5 percent of Sony Financial Holding Inc. will go on sale in the Tokyo Stock Exchange on October 11th. It's expected that the money generated from the IPO will raise funds for the consumer electronics and games divisions.

"Sony could use the funds for various options to strengthen its electronics and game businesses,'' said Mitsuhiro Osawa, a Tokyo-based analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. "A cut in the price of the PlayStation 3 is one option,'' said Osawa.

Analysts are predicting that another PS3 price cut may happen in the coming months. Certainly, the gain of nearly $3 billion in funds will certainly help subsidizing any losses that Sony would incur from such a move.


Sony ignoring E for All

The point of E for All was to provide gaming to the masses, replacing the mega E3 of yore. However, it doesn't look like E for All will come anywhere close to the comprehensiveness of a traditional E3 show. The biggest absence in the upcoming consumer show? Sony. Sony Computer Entertainment America corporate communications spokesperson Kimberly Otzman told FiringSquad: "At this point in time we don't have any plans to participate in the E for All Expo."

In addition to Sony, other noteworthy publishers opting out of the show include Sony Online Entertainment, NCSoft, Sega and Capcom. Although Nintendo is planning a presence at the program, it doesn't appear rival console manufacturer Microsoft has plans to attend either. With so many noteworthy publishers absent, will E for All really fulfill the E3 niche that gamers are so hungry for? Most likely not.

[Via Joystiq]

PS3 sales annihilate competition in Denmark

No, something is not rotten in this Denmark. In fact, for Sony, something is downright flowery in this Denmark. According to this Danish website, the PS3 is selling incredibly well: it's reportedly outselling the Wii in a 3.5:1 ratio and the 360 by a 6:1 ratio. Granted, the actual number of consoles isn't mentioned (but we should mention we love italics in this post), so it could be a case of spin. We don't like thinking that way, though, so we're going to consider this good news, as anyplace welcoming the PS3 into their home deserves a friendly pat on the back.

Will these results transfer over to worldwide sales in the coming year? There have already been estimates that the PS3 is going to outsell the 360 in the US, at least, estimates for July. We doubt the PS3 is going to overtake the Wii in sales for a little while longer, but that really depends on the media's continued support of the Wii. Perhaps, a few years from now, the millions of people with their PlayStation 3's will look on Denmark with starry eyes and say "It all began there."

[via PS3 Forums]

Korea and the PS3: destined for love, or marketing bust?

Korea is full of developers that desperately want to make a mark on the console world. While neither were fantastic, look at the impressive graphics that graced the ambitious, but ultimately shallow and annoying, Magna Carta for the PS2, or the broken remake of Astonishia Story for the PSP. Korean developers want to get involved in consoles, since people seem more and more interested in buying them. Korea gets the brunt of their attention from their PC endeavors, so we've got to ask: is Korea going to show a stronger market share with the PS3 and maintain the popularity of the PSP, or not?

Since Gamasutra posted a pretty lengthy look at the history of consoles in Korea, we're going to give the abridged conclusions here. By all means, check out the full article since it's really quite entertaining. As far as the PSP goes, it's still fairly popular, but mainly used for watching movies while on subways, etc. It's not much of the "short burst" gaming system, which is why the DS has gained a lot of ground there.

The PlayStation 3 has hit a wall in Korea, since most of the "hardcore" crowd have already put their money on the 360. All the negative pre-launch press didn't help, either. The system's still selling, but until the big titles hit, it's not going to have any remarkable sales numbers. The PS3 may, in time, ride on the success of the PS2 in Korea, but until that time, there's nothing fantastic going on. In short, Sony's got to step up to the plate and deliver some good marketing strategies in Korea or else even those Korean console developers will stop trying and that would be a shame, stamping out potential.

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