Business / Tech

Sony plans to launch PlayStation 5 for next year's holiday season

Bloomberg, JIJI, Kyodo

Sony Corp.’s highly anticipated next-generation PlayStation will go on sale in time for the holiday season next year.

The PlayStation 5 will come with a high-speed solid-state drive, Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics cards from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., 8K resolution video and a unit for processing 3D audio, the company said in a release Tuesday.

The new gaming console will sport a controller equipped with improved physical feedback technology to convey a variety of sensations, and can also adjust the resistance of triggers to mimic the sensation of drawing a bow or revving an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.

“One of our goals with the next generation is to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games, and we had the opportunity with our new controller to re-imagine how the sense of touch can add to that immersion,” said Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC.

“You truly feel a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field,” Ryan said.

“You can even get a sense for a variety of textures when running through fields of grass or plodding through mud.”

Sony had sold more than 100 million units of the PlayStation 4 as of June and aims to move almost 12 million more by March 2020. It’s on track to become the company’s best-selling console after the PS2, of which Sony sold more than 155 million units. But the next iteration of the device may also be the last, as faster internet speeds are making it possible to play games on remote servers without a local device.

Google LLC, Apple Inc. and others have launched game subscription services that compete with Sony’s PlayStation Now cloud-based video game service.

In the 25 years since the original PlayStation debuted, games have grown in importance for Sony as its once-famed Walkman, Xperia and Bravia brands have waned.

To ensure the business survives the transition to cloud gaming, Sony has partnered with Microsoft Corp. This month, it cut the price of its PlayStation Now video game service in half, to $9.99 a month, reflecting increasing competition in online offerings. Apple introduced its Arcade service in September at a monthly price of $4.99, and Google has a $9.99-a-month Stadia product.

Sony saw its gaming business generate 27 percent of the group’s overall sales and 35 percent of operating profit in fiscal 2018 at ¥2.31 trillion ($21 billion) and ¥311 billion, respectively.

The electronics and entertainment giant logged a record net profit of ¥916.27 billion for the year ended in March on strong demand for its game software, subscription-based gaming services and music streaming services.

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