Sony’s network services have been on a bit of a roll. By now, we all know that PlayStation as a hardware is doing fine with over 40 million PS4’s sold to date – but the importance of Sony’s network services is perhaps even greater than the consoles they sell. That’s because long after Sony’s sells you a console, they still need to make money and network services are one such way. In fact, with PlayStation Vue, which recently surpassed 100,000 subscribers, the streaming TV app is actually available on more non-Sony devices.
As for PlayStation Plus, Sony is approaching 21 million paid subscribers. During Sony’s Investor Day Briefing, PlayStation executive Andrew House shared his thoughts on Microsoft’s Play Anywhere strategy which is similar to Apple’s policy which allows you to purchase an app once and have it available on iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch and even Sony’s own Cross-purchase initiative which would allow you to download a Vita version of a title if you purchase the equivalent game on PS3 or PS4. Sony also had Cross-play on a handful of titles.
This should be a no brainer and I’m not sure why somebody would want to do this on an expensive camera. Zoltan Arva-Toth writing for Photography Blog:
There is a fantastic quote (that I can’t find for the life of me) from Ken Kutaragi, the father of PlayStation during the PS3 era, in which he more or less stated that Sony would never charge for online play. Kutaragi believed that free online gameplay was a strategic differentiator between PS3 and Xbox 360, and perhaps even a ‘right’ for gamers. Incidentally under Kutaragi, the PlayStation brand arguably suffered.
Fast-forward to PS4 and PlayStation Plus not only became a core component of the console, but transitioned over to pay a structure as well. Funny enough, the PlayStation brand hasn’t been this popular in a decade.
A very interesting and telling graph depicting Sony’s Game & Network services rise and fall throughout the years. It’s worth noting that the above has not been adjusted for inflation. With PlayStation Vue now doing some decent business, having just surpassed 100K subscribers, and PlayStation VR around the bend, it’s no surprise that Sony is bullish on the division’s future.
Sony has always lacked the ability to create a marriage between its entertainment and electronic businesses. Despite ownership of media being one of the most important drivers of technology and Sony owning one of the largest movie and music studios, the tech giant has never been able to leverage its media assets to push any of its products in a meaningful way. Ironically Apple, which does not own a film or music label, has always been able to use media to drive forward its products like the iPod, Apple TV, and now Apple Music.
Just a few of Sony’s failed media services in the past five years include Music Unlimited, Movies Unlimited, and Qriocity but there are plenty more to be added to that list. Just think about how Sony backs the awful, terrible, and true garbage that is UltraViolet and Ultra, their new 4K streaming service that will likely lead nowhere. However, like PlayStation, which has bucked the trend of Sony products that at times lack greater worldwide appeal, PS Vue is another service that seems to be gaining meaningful traction by consumers.
Months after the devastating earthquakes that struck Japan, new reports are still coming to light on how the quakes have affected Sony. Besides the financial cost required to rebuild the factory, the inability for Sony to output sensors from its damaged facility has meant lost business to companies it supplies like Apple and Samsung. Client sales aside, Sony’s own internal divisions are also being affected by the quake.
It’s fairly obvious that unless something drastic takes place in the gaming landscape, PlayStation 4 will be the runaway winner as Nintendo for all intents and purposes is no longer able to compete on any meaningful scale and Xbox One is doing nearly half the numbers PS4 is posting.
Prior to E3, the rumor mill was abuzz with the potential announcement of PS4 4K. While the console didn’t make an appearance at the show, Sony did confirm its existence. Till now, we all assumed that the upgraded PS4 was to be created in part to push gaming forward with new capabilities and to combat future upgraded versions of Xbox like the Scorpio. However there is likely another angle to all of this.
When looking at the greater world economy, this isn’t all that surprising. A decade ago, Brazil was poised to be join the top 5 economies of the world but today, the country is near economic collapse. Making matters worse for business has been the less than stellar treatment of outside companies doing business there.
Now Sony Mobile is finally leaving the country though they’re not the only ones to exit. Angelica Mari writes for ZDnet:
Another mobile manufacturer that decided to downsize operations in Brazil recently is Xiaomi – the Chinese company ended its local manufacturing deal with Foxconn just a year after launching operations in the country.
Sony tends to be a less than boastful company and that’s been clear under Kaz Hirai’s leadership. During his time at CEO, Kaz has taken a hands on approach with turning around the company’s television division which for years was bleeding cash – and a lot of it.
In the past few years, not only has the division recovered, but it’s finally turned profitable as well. But the recovery has come at a cost, which has been far lower sales volume. That’s because one of the key strategies to turn around the division has been an increase focus on profitability which has seen Sony transition to more premium TVs which higher profit margins. On the other hand, a lot of companies like Samsung and Vizio sell a wide variety of TVs with a majority of their volume coming from low-end sets that are either sold at razor thin margins or at a loss.
This has been a game that Sony has wisely decided not to pursue any longer, much like Apple who chooses to sell premium devices as opposed to chasing marketshare for the sake of it. But with a division that’s now stabilized, it’s looking like Sony wants to increase its marketshare with some more affordable sets.
Just last week, I posted a video which compared the Xperia X against the Galaxy S7, its competition from Samsung. But how does the Xperia X compare against its predecessor, the Xperia Z5? I’d previously posted a similar piece, albeit a written one, but today’s comparison comes in the form of a video by Nicole Scott, a self proclaimed Sony fanboy. In the video, Nicole:
takes a look at Sony’s new midrange smartphone, the Xperia X, [and] she put it up against last years flagship the Sony Xperia Z5. if you’re wondering what is missing in the Xperia X vs the Xperia Z5, Nicole takes a look at what they’ve added an what they’ve improved upon.
While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have now been shipping for a few months and will enjoy a near 6-month lead time when PS VR launches this October, the reality is that they won’t be much of a challenge to Sony. After all, who wants to purchase a $1,500+ rig on top of an $800 headset, just to get into VR in the heydays? For it’s part, PlayStation VR headset will cost $399 and will require PS4, a $349 console. Best yet, Sony has already sold over 40 million PS4 consoles, giving PS VR a large pool to tap into and because of that, they’re projected to own the VR market by year’s end.
I’m seriously at times amazed at the people who are in charge of Sony Mobile. One of the most peculiar announcements when the Xperia X family was unveiled was that Sony would not be offering the Performance model in the UK and Germany. This always struck me as an odd choice, seeing how Germany and the former EU member UK (too soon?) are one of the richest countries in the region. Why would you not offer your best and most expensive device there?
Luckily Sony eventually shifted course and announced the release of the Xperia X Performance in the UK, albeit in limited availability. Now they’ve done the same for Germany.
With the Xperia X now out in many countries, a lot of you will likely be comparing it against the Galaxy S7. Even though a better comparison is likely between the X Performance and S7, the reality is that a lot of countries might not be getting the Performance edition, and if they are, it will be at a later date. For those curious about how the two phones compare, the following video does a good job at comparing the pros and cons of each device.
I’ve always been firmly in the camp that the decision to delay a game is a good thing. After all, as a developer, you only get once chance to impress audiences for the first time. Sure, all games, no matter how bad or good they are, come with patches, but if you’ve released a game with problems, people are going to know. Case in point, Uncharted 4 was delayed twice but nobody is talking about that now. Instead, the conversation is always around how amazing it turned out and that ‘Naughty Dog did it again.’
Speaking with GameSpot, game director Mathijs de Jonge on why they decided to delay Horizon: Zero Dawn till February 2017:
While a majority of us, including yours truly, consider Sony an electronics and entertainment company (lumping music, pictures, and PlayStation under that), the truth is that they’re a lot more. In fact, most mature companies like Sony and Apple have stakes in a lot of businesses that the general public might not be aware of. As an example, Apple more recently invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. Sony for its part has always had a diverse portfolio which has ranged from being an ISP in Japan with Yahoo as a partner, to offering financial services and loans. Now, one of those investments is paying off in strides.