Sony Corp.

Japanese Govt: Sony ‘Doesn’t Belong’ in Nikkei Index 400

Sony Bosses Shame PSN

Sony is about to lose prestige ahead of being ousted from government-backed stocks and the markets are expected to downgrade Sony. The ‘shame’ of this in the domestic culture is expected to play against Sony, furthering the problem.

Culture meets business in an unavoidable way from time to time and the home front can either dramatically support or deflate the fortunes of a popular corporation so strongly tied to the pride of a nation, like Sony Corp. is in Japan. In 2013, much was made of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s famous efforts to lift the nation’s exporting companies by tweaking fiscal policy, often called Abenomics. While some analysts are skeptical of this approach as a short-term magic trick, others note that at least the key economic indicators are clearly responding well.

Now, unfortunately, Sony is apparently about to suffer a fall from grace as it loses a coveted government-supported position which highlights companies with the best operating income, return on equity, and market value. From January 2015, the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 (JPNK400) is expected to dump Sony Corp. from its list of 400 companies with the solid financial grit and stable outlook worthy of investment.

How much will this affect Sony and what will the CEO do about it?

Read on to take a look.

PS4 and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Help Sony Swing a Profit

Sony_Logo_Cash

To say Sony has been having financial troubles this past decade would be putting it lightly. Thanks to stiff competition from Apple and Samsung and shift in consumer taste, Sony has been forced to layoff over 1,000 employees just this year after having laid off 10,000 employees the year prior. The company has also sold off VAIO, their PC division and even spun off Bravia in case their television business completely collapses. Things however aren’t all doom and gloom for the once electronic giant. PlayStation continues to be a loved brand and their latest installment, the PS4, continues to outpace the Xbox One.

Sony Pictures has always been a bright spot for Sony with franchises like Spider-Man, Men in Black, and now the Jump Street series which tend to bring with them big numbers. Thanks to SP and PlayStation, Sony was able to report a surprise Q1 2014 profit in what would have otherwise been another loss for the company.

Sony Settles 2011 PSN Data Breach Class Action Lawsuit for $15 Million

PSN Welcome Back - PSN Data Breach

Remember way back in 2011 when the PlayStation Network was compromised and in order to address the security threat, Sony took PSN down for over a month? Once Sony was able to get things back on track again, the company kicked off a ‘Welcome Back’ campaign that offered gamers free games, extended PS+ memberships, and free access to then-called Qriocity. With the PSN data breach, the real threat of identity theft loomed as thousands of gamer information was stolen from Sony servers. To help counter that, Sony partnered with Debix to provide one-year identity-theft protection, free of charge for PSN and Qriocity users.

Despite all this and a personal apology letter from then CEO, Sir Howard Stringer, Sony would eventually face a class action lawsuit by some that believed they were the victim of identity theft. The same people of course decided not to participate with identity-theft protection but the suit would move ahead. Now Sony has finally decided to settle the PSN data breach lawsuit and bring the whole thing to a close for $15 million, but there is more to the story.

‘Now TV’ Comes to PS4 via New App

PS4 Sky Now TV app

Sky, one of the largest broadcasters in the UK is officially bringing their ‘Now TV’ app to the PS4. Based on a subscription model like Netflix, Now TV allows PS4 owners to view content from Sky like TV shows, movies, and sporting events. Recently Sky struck an exclusive broadcast agreement with Paramount Pictures that brings with it titles like Anchorman 2 and Noah. 

Blu-ray 3D Support to Arrive with PS4 Firmware 1.75 Next Week?

PS4 Firmware 1.75 to Bring Blu-ray 3D SupportOne of the most baffling omissions from the PlayStation 4 has been the ability to support Blu-ray 3D playback. A functionality that the PS3 gained many years ago, and one that even most sub $100 Blu-ray players support has till now been a cause of hesitation for home theater buffs who have an extensive collection of Blu-ray 3D films. If they move onto the PS4, it means playback will no longer be possible so either would-be upgrade have to keep both PS3 and PS4 or hold off till Sony brought the functionality to the PS4. To make matters worse, Microsoft recently announced Blu-ray 3D support would be coming to the Xbox One, making Sony’s own console lacking in the media playback depart despite Sony being one of the biggest champions of Blu-ray and 3D.

Luckily, it seems like the PS4 Blu-ray 3D crises might end as early as next week thanks to PS4 firmware 1.75.

PlayStation Store Update (07-22-14)

Psn-UpdateWelcome to the PlayStation Store update for July 22, 2014. We have a great update this week packed full of new content and sales. PlayStation 4 users can now pre-order all 4 of the titles available in the PLAY 2014 program (see more details here) as well as purchase Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty which the new take on the classic Abe’s Oddysee.

PlayStation 3 users can now purchase Entwined (also available now for the PS Vita) and PlayStation Vita owners can now purchase Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland (also available for PS3). Beyond the PLAY 2014 program, there is also a Super Hero Sale going on with deep discounts on titles in the inFamous and Batman series.

Finally, as you are probably aware PlayStation Plus users now receive all of their free games at the beginning of the month and each week there will be new sales. This week PlayStation Plus users can take advantage of deeper discounts on the Super Hero Sale along with sales on several RPGs including the Persona series.

Sony Splits Contacts App on Android; Updates to 16.1.B.3.2

Sony Android Contacts 16.1.B.3.2

If you’ve been rocking Android 4.4.4 on your Xperia Z1, Xperia Z1 Compact which the US is finally getting, or the Z1 Ultra then this news is for you. In a trend that current affects the mentioned phones which will likely expand to all current Xperia smartphones, Sony is separating the Contacts app from all firmware updates and instead is planning on treating as a standalone app. Sony already does this with their media apps like Walkman which was just updated to build 8.4.A.1.4. With that move, the Contacts update 16.1.B.3.2 went live as well.

After the jump, we discuss why this is an important step for Sony and what Contacts 16.1.B.3.2 brings with it.

Sony Walkman 8.4.A.1.4 App Update Now Live

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If you’ve been enjoying the Sony Walkman app on your Android phone then listen up. Sony is rolling out the Walkman 8.4.A.1.4 update which brings with it some good UI tweaks and the inevitable “bug fixes” that tend to come with all software and firmware updates. Those looking to get their hands on the latest Walkman app update need Android 4.2 or higher on their smartphone and can download the small in size Walkman 8.4.A.1.4 update over the air (OTA).

After the jump, let’s talk details and device compatibility for the new Walkman app.

Official: New Sony Xperia C3 is Made for Selfies (Update)

Xperia C3 Gina Sony Tweet

Are you a selfie fan? Do you like to get the best snaps you can with friends but are frustrated by the lower quality of the front camera? Well get ready for the Xperia C3, Sony’s answer to this problem. The Xperia C3 has been officially revealed and it sports a front-facing flash to help you achieve the best lighting no matter the time of day or weather.

Official specs:

  • Snapdragon 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Quad-core
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5.5″ HD (1280×720)
  • 5 MP Front-facing camera (720p)
  • Soft flash for front camera
  • 8 MP camera with auto focus
  • 4G LTE
  • 7.6mm thin
  • Android 4.4 (KitKat)
  • 2500 mAh

Read on to find out more.

Sony Pictures Television Acquires CSC Media Group in UK TV Market

Sony Pictures TelevisionSony Pictures Television has recently announced plans to expand further into the UK market with its acquisition of CSC Media Group, adding a further 16 television channels to it’s UK portfolio.

Currently Sony owns TV channels in the UK including Sony Movie Channel, Movies 4 Men, and Movie Mix. These channels are ad-supported and are will now be complemented with the addition of popular channels including True Entertainment, Pop and Chart ShowTV.

 The acquisition of CSC further demonstrates our commitment to the UK market and our intent to continue to grow our tremendously successful global portfolio of networks, 

Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for Sony Pictures Television

Read on for more details.

‘Breaking Bad’ Now Available on Netflix 4K

Breaking_Bad_Pixel_4KWhile there is no shortage of Breaking Bad fans out there, the number shrinks down when the news applies to Breaking Bad fans who also own a 4K television. If you do fall into that elite group then this news should excite you though in general, this is good news for 4K fans as well. As of now, you can watch Breaking Bad in drool-worthy 4K. All you need now is smell-o-vision to have the most authentic meth lab experience without actually going to jail. The news was brought to light by Netflix’s Joris Evers:

Unfortunately, there are some caveats that go along with the news.

FIFA Bans Players Using Beats Headphones at World Cup; Sony Remains Official Sponsor

Amazonia Stadium Brazil FIFA World Cup 2014 front

Football may celebrated as the ‘international sport of the world’, bringing people together from every corner of the world in a way that few cultural events truly do, but it’s easy to forget that behind the glamour and fun, it’s big business too. For example, this is estimated to be the most expensive World Cup ever, costing Brazil more than the previous two Cups combined at roughly $14-16bn. It also represents the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, with more than 1 billion unique viewers expected to watch online, by smartphone, TV and in public places. Just imagine what those figures mean to companies in communications, PR, marketing, also for merchandise producers and a whole lot more. Like Sony, for example.

FIFA has just announced that it’s banning players from wearing Beats branded headphones from all stadia involved in the World Cup.

Read on to find out why.

Sony Partners with Hydro-Québec for Energy R&D Venture

Renewable Energy Wind Farm Sony Hydro Quebec

Sony Corp. has just teamed up with Hydro-Québec to create a joint venture called Esstalion Technologies, Inc. that is designed to utilise Sony’s expertise in battery technology as well as Hydro-Québec’s knowledge of electric power systems to further research in large-scale energy storage solutions. This covers including integrating renewable energy into power grids, by addressing natual imabalances created by irregular natural energy supply. Disaster recovery is also expected to benefit from further exploration of this area and other areas.

 …the subject of the joint venture company’s research and development (of) energy storage systems for power grids that use lithium-ion battery technologies… 

This piece of news is a rare look into what’s going on in Sony’s Devices segment. It can be about as mysterious as Wayne Enterprises’ R&D department at the best of times.

Read on to find out more about Esstalion and the Devices segment.