Dave Ranyard, Head of Sony’s VR Studio, Steps Down, Heads to Another VR Firm

Dave Ranyard

Dave Ranyard, head of Sony’s London Studio, is leaving the company after 17 years. While studio heads come and go, Ranyard and his background in VR are particularly in demand right now. During his time at Sony, Ranyard has been responsible for

 PlayStation VR demos, including The London Heist and Streetluge. 

Ranyard has also worked on past tiles like The GatewayWonderbook, Eyetoy, and Singstar, which have all helped shape what we now know as PlayStation VR in some small way. So where is he headed now? To another VR studio. Details after the jump.

Sony 4K Blu-ray Player Confirmed

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A lot of people were surprised that a Sony 4K Blu-ray player was not announced at CES 2016. Though an announcement would have been typical and almost expected from Sony, I’ve argued that it makes little sense for them to launch such a player with there are few 4K TVs on the market and even less 4K Blu-ray movies, if any. John Anderson, country head for Sony UK and Ireland:

Certainly back in October/November 2015 it wasn’t clear we were going to come out with one at all and it’s relatively new information that within FY2016 that we will see something. That’s new information. It’s being accelerated. Maybe that’s due to more information and confidence coming through from Sony Pictures?

 It was a question of priority and investment in all the things we have got to do, therefore they’re speeding it up.

More comments from Sony after the jump.

Sony SSD 240GB & 480GB (SLW-M) Announced

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I have to say I didn’t see this coming. Sony has just announced a pair of SSD drives – the SLW-M series, which offer 240GB (SLW-MG2) or 480GB (SLW-MG4) capacities.

The drives use SATA-6 Gbps interface and hence Sony can address the vast majority of desktop and laptop PCs with its first-gen SSDs. According to Sony, the SLW-M solid-state drives feature up to 560 MB/s sequential write speed and up to 530 MB/s sequential write speed. Each drives comes equipped with the Acronis True image 2015 and Sony SSD ToolBox software for managing and saving your data.

More details on the Sony SSD after the jump.

Fred, an Engineer at Sony Mobile, Wants You to Buy an Xperia Z5 – He’s Willing to Dance & Yell For It

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Sony Mobile wants you to buy an Xperia Z5 or Xperia Z5 Compact in the US. Sure it has no fingerprint sensor or carrier support but that’s ok and Fred is here to tell you why. I see what Sony is going for in their nearly two minute video, a low budget marketing piece with ‘cool guy’ Fred who is smart, but yells at random things like YouTubers do, but man, if this is what Sony’s marketing has in mind for the US, expect their nonexistent marketshare to further disappear.

The video is after the jump, but consider yourself warned.

2016 4K HDR Sony X850D Price Also Leaks

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Just a few days ago, I received leaked pricing for the flagship Sony 4K HDR TV X930D. The little birdies who I’ve spoken with tell me that the pricing has not yet been finalized internally so things can always shift by the time Sony officially announces them. Even if there is to be a fluctuation in price, it likely won’t be by much. The same rule now applies for the 4K HDR Sony X850D which comes in 55-, 65-, 75-, and mega 85-inch variants. You can read all about the mid-tier 2016 Sony 4K TVs here.

The Sony X850D price after the jump.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow Begins to Land on Sony Xperia Z5 (updated)

Sony Xperia Z5 - Android 6.0 Marshmallow

For the past month, Sony has been weirdly launching Android 5.1 Lollipop for a handful of devices which led many to believe that Android 6.0 Marshmallow is still some time away. While it might be for those handsets, it’s looking like the flagship Sony Xperia Z5 family is starting to get Android 6.0.

 The OTA firmware update is said to have started reaching Sony Xperia Z5 handsets in Turkey and will soon reach the Xperia Z5 Compact and the Xperia Z5 Premium models. The update was finalised for the three handsets almost three weeks ago, as per a Facebook post made by Sony Xperia Turkey fan page. 

Sony has yet to confirm the arrival of the new OS on their support page but it’s looking like we won’t have to wait much longer for Marshmallow. Few more details after the jump.

Update:

It looks like this news is fake unless anybody has more concrete evidence.

Poll: Will You Purchase the ‘Uncharted 4′ PS4 Bundle?

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Announced yesterday, the limited edition Uncharted 4 PS4 Bundle will be released at the end of April in North America and Europe. Will you be among those clamoring for one?  Let us know in our poll after the jump!

Flagship Sony 4K HDR TV X930D Price Leaks

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For its 2016 lineup, Sony decided to simplify and offer a TV that was both ultra-thin and worthy of the flagship title – think of it as a mixture of the 2015 X900C and X930C. Of course, in doing so, Sony had to drop their Magnetic Fluid Speakers which is a shame, but I also understand. For those interested, you can check out our preview of the X930D from CES 2016.

Now, we’ve got our hands on some leaked pricing for the 2016 flagship series. Word of caution as these prices are not yet final and subject to change. Still, they should give you an idea as what you can expect to pay. The Sony X930D price after the jump.

Sony “Pleased With the Strong Performance” of Game and Network Services, Thanks to PlayStation

PlayStation Game and Network Services
We all know by now that PlayStation is one of the key pillars of Sony going forward. Luckily for them, it’s a division that shows no signs of slowing down. Here is Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida talking about PlayStation which was once again a highlight of Sony during their Q3 FY15 earnings report.

This business has great momentum and it’s different from our branded products and devices business, because it is increasing its service-related revenue. The installed base of PS4 hardware is expanding faster than any of our previous consoles. Sales of the product during the holiday season were extremely strong, and network revenues for the third quarter increased approximately 50% year-on-year.

The PlayStation is steadily growing into a global network entertainment platform due to the power of the PlayStation 4 hardware console, and the ability of our team to bring content creators to the platform.

asymco_Apple_Revenue_Feb_2016

In addition to a strong install base, Sony must also learn to offer compelling services in order to further monetize each console sold. As a comparison, Apple’s services, which consist of things like Apple Pay, Apple Music, iCloud, and iTunes now bring in more revenue than the company’s legendary iPod ever did. This is crucial as there is an eventual and theoretical sales limit for each device from a hardware standpoint. However, once we dive into software and services, a company can break through that barrier and make further returns on each unit sold.

After talking further about why they’re bringing PlayStation to the US, Sony touched upon on their ever growing Network & Services business and its

 strong performance 

Those details after the jump.