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Sony to distribute games for PS4 via cloud

U.S. trials start this month; full launch slated for the summer

Kyodo

Sony Corp. will start distributing games for the PlayStation 4 via cloud computing technology this year, President Kazuo Hirai said Tuesday, revealing the electronics company’s focus on the entertainment business.

In his speech on the opening day of the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hirai said the streaming game service will begin late this month in the United States on a trial basis and be launched full scale this summer.

Sony will initially distribute games for its PlayStation 3 console as well the PS4, which was launched in North America, Europe, Latin America and other countries last year. The service will be offered at a fixed rate, the company said.

Users of the streaming game service will be able to play games on devices that are connected to the Internet without downloading them. For example, someone playing a game using a PS4 in the living room can continue playing the game in the bedroom with their PS3, Sony said.

In the future, Sony plans to expand the service beyond PlayStation platforms and Sony devices like Bravia televisions, allowing users to play PlayStation games on electronics devices provided by other companies.

The game service utilizes the cloud computing technology of Gaikai Inc., which Sony bought in 2012. The company is considering offering the service in Japan, but the timing is undecided.

Sony said it had sold 4.2 million PS4s as of Dec. 28. The console will debut in Japan Feb. 22.

The annual electronics show, in which more than 3,200 companies from Japan, South Korea and the United States are participating, runs through Friday and is expected to draw around 150,000 visitors.

4K TVs shown in Vegas

Las Vegas JIJI

This year’s International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, kicked off Tuesday in Las Vegas for a four-day run, with Japanese companies showcasing 4K ultra-high-resolution television sets.

By focusing on 4K models, the companies are aiming to boost their TV businesses since Japan’s TV market appears to be getting out of its long slump. The market is close to hitting bottom due mainly to brisk demand for high-priced large TVs, a Toshiba Corp. official said.

Toshiba plans to fully replace its 58-inch or larger TVs with 4K models by the end of fiscal 2014.

Sony Corp. will increase the number of its 4K TV models to nine this year from five.

At the Las Vegas show, the world’s biggest consumer electronics show, Sony President Kazuo Hirai unveiled a projector capable of producing 147-inch 4K images. Sony plans to launch the projector in the United States by this summer.

Sony wants to continue offering products that can touch the heart of consumers, he said.

South Korean rivals Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. revealed bendable flat-panel television sets.

Also on display are wristband-type mobile devices and other products with wearable technology, which are touted as next-generation information terminals that will someday succeed smartphones.