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Sony unveils PS4 gaming console

KYODO

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday took the wraps off the PlayStation 4, marking the first overhaul of its home gaming machine since the 2006 release of the PlayStation 3.

The new PlayStation, which is scheduled to go on sale late this year, features enhanced network functions, including tablet computer compatibility. Details on how much it will cost or where it will be marketed were not revealed.

“While we once changed the gaming landscape, now the consumer is changing us,” said Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House at an event in New York. “From mobility to multiformat play, to greater community engagement, as well as platforms designed to enable access to entertainment, social media and more, the demands for a new platform were clear.”

With the console, the gaming unit of Sony Corp. aims to take on Nintendo Co.’s Wii U and the expected launch this year of a new console by Microsoft Corp., as the struggling Japanese electronics maker aims to play catch-up in the game business, one of Sony’s core operations.

The new PlayStation will not only compete with video consoles but also smartphones, which have been spreading rapidly. “Ease of access regardless of location and device has been an absolute priority,” said House, referring to various ways the PS4 will interact with other devices.

The company’s new mobile strategy includes eventually making all PS4 games remotely playable on the company’s handheld PlayStation Vita and expanding the availability of PlayStation content for smartphones and tablets.

Though older-generation PlayStation games will not be compatible with the new system, offering the entire library of older PlayStation games through cloud-based streaming technology is a long-term goal.

Even the iconic controller got a mobile-inspired redesign. The PS4 is equipped with a touchpad, though the controller’s shape remains very similar to that of the PlayStation 3.