SonyRumors

SonyRumors will soon become Sony Reconsidered

Chances are that by the time you read this, not only will the title of this post have gone through 10 different revisions but so will have what I’ve written here. And that’s just for me announcing some of the big changes that are going to take effect soon. In my own mind, I’ve likely gone through hundreds of versions and reasons for changing the site (or not), a identity that’s been established for now nearly a decade. But before I get into why SonyRumors is going to become Sony Reconsidered, let’s start from the beginning.

SRN history from 1877 to present

It’s crazy to think that it’s almost been a decade since SRN started. When it did in 2008, the site and my views about online journalism/blogging were fairly naive but as time progressed, so did everything with the site. It went from a basic WordPress site to one on its own servers and like all things, eventually better servers were needed, and those better servers needed more RAM, etc. Besides the underpinnings of SRN improving over the years, so has what the site can do and offer. Again from a simple WP blog theme to the now custom built site that you see today which is tied to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube and whatever other social platforms that have arisen during this time.

However the one thing that hasn’t changed is the core reason the site exists. Back in 2008, the goal and drive was simple – to create a site for Sony fans to get their news from. I’m sure some of you have guessed at this and others who know me in person know it to be a fact but I quite the close ties with Apple which is how this site came to be. Looking around back then, there were and continue to be numerous sites that cover Apple in a near obsessive manor but none for Sony. Expand out a bit and you’ll find individual sites that cover either PlayStation, phone, or camera business but there was no one true destination for everything Sony. Add to that mix my personal belief that Sony doesn’t always get a fair run from the press and the idea of creating a site that was all about Sony seemed ripe for the fruition.

Quickly jumping back to my naive stance, I also firmly believed that SRN was a place where I could put my thoughts out into the world and that perhaps someone from Sony would recognize, value, and act upon them. After all, I was bringing perspective from a company that approached product, marketing, and even outreach quite different than how Sony operated so surely there would be some value for them. In looking back, I tend to not be happy with what I’ve written 6 months ago so I can perhaps see why no one at Sony was eager to give me a call about taking over their operations.

From a single voice, I eventually tried my hand at growing SRN, to compete with the big boys like Engadget, The Verge, DualShockers, and what have you and for a while we did. There would be weekly PlayStation Store release updates, movie reviews, Blu-ray releases, editorial series, but none of them felt right to the core of what the site was to be. Also operating on a budget of hopes and dreams apparently doesn’t pay the bills which makes retention of staff a hard affair. As for myself, I could justify working on the site for hours upon hours after my normal job ended but it’s hard to have that same expectations for others and eventually I began to once again slim down the site to just me, with Allegra, now my wife, as the editor.

Long story short, SRN has always been and will continue to be a place for those who love Sony/PlayStation – that’s not going to change. What is going to change is pretty much everything else. If you’ve noticed a shift in the way I cover things in the past few months, it’s not you, it’s me. When I was attempting to compete with the big boys, I treated the site as an original destination for news, meaning that I’d take whatever announcement and try to say it all over again without repeating what had been written 10 times over. And for anybody who has covered the specs of a recently released speaker or changes to a TV lineup, you’ll know that you can only write something in so many ways. This alone slowed down what I’d cover but more importantly, didn’t differentiate what was on SRN compared to any different site. I just happened to write about it slightly different but what you ultimately got out of here was exactly the same as any other site, albeit a few hours or a day later, seeing how I don’t have a world wide team that’s only job is to cover Sony.

Enter the transition of the past 6 months where I’m less likely to cover to a specific announcement from scratch and more likely to point you to pieces written about Sony with highlights of it posted here alongside my own commentary. One thing that absolutely appalls me is most of the coverage around technology today which lacks any form of context. In my long time as a consultant where many times I’m coming into the picture to fix a mess, I’ve learned to have respect for the person that was there before me – and this extends to my coverage of Sony as well. This doesn’t mean giving them a pass but instead, to understand why they made the decision that they did. At times, I find the story around the products far more interesting than a given product itself. Sony wasn’t “stupid” when they launched PS4 Pro without a 4K Blu-ray drive, nor are they oblivious to the fact that we in the US also want a Fingerprint sensor on the Xperia.

In fact I’ll go as far as to say that for any company, be it Sony or Apple, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt before I park the bus over them because I guarantee you that they’re filled with talented women and men who obsess way more than you and me about their products. And so the story of what went into bringing the Xperia Ear to market and comparing it against the AirPods is far more interesting than a topic that just covers the unit in general terms. It’s also far more interesting to analyze the Xperia Ear in order to better understand where Sony might go with a product like it and attempt to tie it to other related news, both from Sony and the industry. Now this shouldn’t be taken as somehow I’ve been soft or will be soft on Sony; as regular readers know, I have no problem pointing out the many faults that lie within the company.

But even when pointing out the faults at Sony, I hope to do with more context, clarity, and constructive criticism which brings us to the name. SonyRumors was started as a place that wanted to report nonstop on Sony, including whatever news and rumors I could get my hands on. Today, I find that less interesting (though that doesn’t mean I’ll stop reporting on them) than looking at Sony and reporting the news around them with context – enter Sony Reconsidered.

Quick Thoughts – RPGs Rise and Wearables Decline

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What an odd way to be bringing 2016 to a close – though, the way things have gone this year, perhaps it’s no surprise. During the last generation of consoles, we were led to believe that AAA RPGs were dead and that consumers had all but moved away from them – of course, you should tell that to Final Fantasy XV and The Last Guardian. Perhaps consumers wanted RPGs all along but with one caveat – quality ones. As for wearables, they were to be the savior, and if not that, then the next frontier for electronics makers to conquer. Everybody had to have a wearable and now, tech makers can’t exit the business fast enough.

Quick Thoughts – 11/3

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This was supposed to be a mighty week for the site – hot off of a wonderful and first time experience at PSX, I had stories to write, games to cover, and perspective to give but then it happened. The dreaded con-cold hit and, since Monday morning, I’ve been down for the count. It’s amazing that a ‘cold’ gets written off so easily but when I’m down with one, even though I’m at home with access to every tool I’d normally use to run the site, I don’t have the slightest bit of energy or headspace to do it. So if content on the site seemed a bit light this week, you now know why. By yesterday, I was finally feeling mostly better and as fate would have it, our lovely host decided to take a nosedive for nearly 24hrs, rendering the site useless.

No more of that I say but I won’t spill the beans quite yet – just know that some big changes are afoot for SRN. As always if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up for our weekly newsletter and with that shameless plug aside, let’s get to some thoughts on the industry.

Cyber Monday: deals on Sony 4K TVs

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If you’ve got any money left to spend after Black Friday and are looking to score a good price on a 4K TV, Amazon has a few good deals on Sony 4K TVs and all are 2016 models with HDR.

Quick Thoughts – 11/12

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In just a short bit, this week’s newsletter will be heading out to subscribers so if you haven’t already, go ahead and sign up for it. PlayStation Vue fans or those interested in where PlayStation is headed with their services will find some interesting commentary here but really, the bulk of this piece is about politics. Not politics in the direct sense of what I believe is the way to move forward, but politics and technology. How often do we as citizens of any country make a decision without knowing the full impact of it? Or even worse, especially for millennials, how often do we not vote because we don’t think the election cycles impact them? So let me get right into it.

Quick Thoughts – 11/5

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This has been a fairly slow week for writing on my end. Part of it has been a lack of mega exciting news but the other part has frankly been due to the grueling election that wrapped up here on Tuesday night. No matter what side you were on, it can’t be argued that it wasn’t soul crushing by the end and has left me fairly exhausted. For those unfamiliar with this segment, each weekend, I send out an email blast which you can subscribe to by clicking here that gives you the top news stories of the week, some photos, and quick thoughts on Sony and the general industry.

I post that week’s quick thoughts, which I find creatively freeing, the following week, so if you care about what I have to say (which I think you do since you’re reading this!), be sure to subscribe and get my thoughts first. As for this week’s newsletter, it should be making it to inboxes in just a few short hours.

Quick Thoughts – 10/29

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Those of you’ve who’ve subscribed to the weekly newsletter already know this (and if you haven’t, please do by clicking here), that I end each letter with some quick thoughts. More often than not, they pertain to Sony but aren’t necessarily limited to them as I’ve allowed this to have a wider scope. Even so, if I’m talking about it, it likely pertains to or affects Sony in some shape or form. In order to not let the writing be stuck in just emails, a week after the email is sent out, I’ll begin to publish them here as well.

Sony Xperia Ear Commands

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For those regularly tuning in, you’ll know that I’ve had a bit of an infatuation with the Sony Xperia Ear. Just a few pieces I’ve written on it include:

I think you’ll find each piece worthy of your time as they paint my concerns with the product and Sony in general. Now I fundamentally believe that this is a product category that Sony needs to be in. AI-driven devices will shape the next decade, make no mistake about it, but is it the Xperia Ear? I’m not sure it is. Besides a high price tag and lackluster marketing videos (so what’s new, a lot of you would say), the Xperia Ear appears to be severely limiting.

Sign Up For the SRN Weekly Newsletter

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Hey guys! Allegra here, your friendly neighborhood Managing Editor.

You may have noticed that, for the last six months, there has been an email subscription option on the left hand side of the site. I’m so glad to see that many of you have already joined us – but if you haven’t yet, it’s not too late! Just click here to sign up.

If you have already joined and are wondering why you haven’t received anything from us yet, well, we have yet to put this list to use. We have been quietly preparing for this eventual expansion – the first of many changes to come. Our first email newsletter will make its way to your inbox tomorrow, October 8th, at noon PST. You’ll get a taste for the week just past, an email full of the most interesting Sony news. And so it will continue every Saturday at noon.

This weekly newsletter will ensure that the important stuff reaches you in a space that is uniquely yours (your inbox). It’s the first move of many towards honing SRN – our message, our platform, and yes, the often-discussed and soonish-to-be-revealed SRN Podcast.

So, are you in? You can sign up for the SRN newsletter by clicking here.

PlayStation Just Went from a Product to a Company

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Since its Japanese launch on December 3, 1994, PlayStation, the now 21-year-old gaming division of Sony, has all been about making one thing: gaming consoles. Released on average every 5 years, Sony’s pattern with PlayStation by now is fairly predictable – release a console and follow through with a slim variant halfway through its life cycle. For Sony, the slim model has typically allowed them to give their aged console a smaller profile with improved internals for better efficiency such as power consumption and heat output.

Along with those external and internal shifts, Sony typically introduces the slim models at a lower price point as well, which allows the console to see a greater adoption with consumers. If we condense all this to a simplified 5-year timeline, on year 1, a new console is released and on year 3, we get the slim variant. Then for the next two years, Sony enters into heavy R&D mode as they work on creating a followup console – rinse and repeat for 4 generations and we get to where we are today.

Beyond the slim models though, and excluding Sony’s endeavors into mobile with PSP and PS Vita, PlayStation has always been a single product. This is in direct contrast to say iPhone which can span multiple models in a given year with robust accessories and services on top of it. Think of it this way, Apple’s services business, which includes App Store purchases, Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud, accounted for $6 billion in revenue in just the last quarter, let alone the monster money that they make from hardware like iPhone and accessories.

When you’re a single product, trying to achieve that type of success is not really possible and the future remains fairly consistent – release new hardware, improve internally, release new hardware, improve internally, etc. To that end, up until PS4 and really this past year, PlayStation was purely a product, but after the introduction of PS4 Pro in context with their actions of the past year, it’s becoming quite apparent that PlayStation is no longer a single product and instead, a well-envisioned company that reported a $3.21 billion in revenue during their most recent quarter.

Why PS4 Pro is a Brilliant Name

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One of the most overlooked aspects of any product is its name. In a bubble, what does a name like Walkman, iPad or Netflix mean? Not a lot, especially when the given product and service was initially launched, yet over the years, each mentioned name has become synonymous with the product and even category that they represent. For Sony, this was no different in late 1994 when the original PlayStation launched. Sure the two words connected help convey what the product would be but today, PlayStation has become an iconic brand that not only means something to consumers, but can almost help define a person.

Is Sony Hindering Xperia’s Photo Capabilities On Purpose?

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On Labor Day, I ran a little poll on Twitter to see what many of you thought of cameras found on Xperia phones. My question was simple – how do you find the camera on your Xperia phone to be? In hindsight, I should have been a bit more clear and perhaps asked ‘how do you find the image quality on your Xperia phone to be?’ but I think the majority who voted got the gist. As for the options readers could choose from:

  • Good
  • Bad
  • Competition is better

Since then, the results have been mixed at best. Only 50% found the image quality to be good while 17% found it to be bad and 32% thought competition offered something better. If you didn’t get a chance to voice your opinion, I’d love to know:


Update:

If you’d voted previously, please vote again as the poll mistakenly allowed you to vote for multiple options and skewed the results.

Sony Mobile Will Defocus on India, USA, China, and Brazil

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That sound you hear is the agonizing moan from millions of Xperia fans as they continue to wait for Sony Mobile to ‘get’ to North America and other small markets like China and India. I hear a few people live in each of those countries.

Why the Upgraded PS4 4K Is a Good Idea

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With the news from earlier this morning that had Sony confirm the existence of the yet-to-be-titled upgraded PS4, I wanted to do a deeper dive on the subject matter that’s had some gamers riled up. Instead of following a traditional article narrative, I will instead tackle a few key points revolving around the advent of PS4 4K. So sit back, get comfy, and let’s dig in on why a PS4 4K is actually a good idea.

Sony Unsure If There Will Be a ‘PS5′ is Much Ado About Nothing & the Future of PlayStation

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The number one question I get asked when I’m stopped in the streets is what I think about comments made that there might not be a PlayStation 5. But instead of getting into whether I actually get stopped in the streets to be asked questions about the future of PlayStation, let’s instead start off this topic as frank as possible. Will there be a successor to the PS4? Of course there will be. Sony isn’t leading with the PS4, only to abandon it in the near future. Heck, there is already a successor of sorts in the pipeline in the form of the PS4K/PS4 Neo. Refresh models aside, one of the major pillars of Sony now is PlayStation which continues to be a major revenue and profits driver for the company. It would be pretty silly to abandon that, right? It’s as if Apple is pondering if there will an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7s. Of course there will be until something eventually replaces it.

So who would have made such an outlandish comment? None other than PlayStation president Shuhei Yoshida at a private dinner with Lorne Lanning during DICE. Here is Eddie Makuch who spoke with Lanning and wrote about his meet for Gamespot:

Lanning:

 What does the PlayStation 5 look like? 

Shu:

 You mean if 

Lanning:

 Whoa. Are you willing to say that on stage? 

Shu:

 Yeah, it’s an if. 

What an outlandish statement to be made by PlayStation’s president right? Except that it’s actually not – but don’t worry, I’m not contradicting myself.