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Can the PlayStation 4 lead Sony’s comeback?

by William Schwartz

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Make no mistakes about it, Sony has been having serious financial problems in recent years.  The company has been losing billions of dollars, and recently replaced their CEO hoping for a resurrection.  The most recent financials released by the company indicated that Kaz Hirai is beginning to turn the ship around, but there’s clearly no quick fix for this lingering financial problem.  It’s not traditional means that are going to save the company this time around, according to the CEO.

Hirai recently told the Associated Press that he thinks Sony has improved significantly under his leadership, and is looking for innovative new products to lead the charge.   What’s worked for the company in the past clearly isn’t working for them anymore.  They’ve been passed by the likes of Apple and Samsung in the consumer electronics front, Microsoft and the Xbox have eaten up market share in their gaming division, and televisions have been a money sink for the company for almost a decade.  The most recent financials also suggest that it isn’t the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita that are leading Sony’s return to profitability.  In actuality, these products are actually underperforming, and that’s certainly the case for the PlayStation Vita handheld.

Hirai is looking to the high-end market for future profits.  The Consumer Electronics Show that recently concluded in Las Vegas, showcased some of this new technology with Sony’s brand of 4K televisions that are due to hit the consumer market very soon.  These pricey pieces of tech aren’t likely to be a boon for the electronics maker any time soon, however.  Hirai believes that it could be nearly a decade before this new Ultra HD technology goes mainstream.  So what’s going to lead the charge for this electronics giant?

According to Hirai: “Sony needs to show that is showcasing its unique imagery technology, not doing something everyone else is doing,” the CEO said.  “It needs to create new sectors in the electronics market.  Otherwise, it’s stuck fighting over crumbs of the same pie.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether Hirai and Sony use this same methodology when launching their next gaming console.  The PlayStation 4 is rumored to be announced later this year, but many believe that to remain competitive with Microsoft, they’ll need to be less frivolous this time around.  In theory, including less technology in the new machine in order to keep costs low would be the most effective strategy in battling Microsoft.  Since most of the information about this next console is second-hand and rumor, it’s hard to get a gauge on just where Sony will be taking the PlayStation brand in the coming years, but it’s clear that Sony has an eye on innovation, and with a former PlayStation boss at the helm we could be in for some surprises

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