CES 2014: Sony unveils new cloud-based gaming service

CES 2014: Sony unveils new cloud-based gaming service

Credit: Getty Images

CES 2014: Sony unveils new cloud-based gaming service

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by ALISTAIR BARR / USA TODAY

NWCN.com

Posted on January 7, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 11:55 AM

LAS VEGAS - Sony executives announced a series of new, cloud-based services and entertainment technology on Tuesday as they seek to improve the fortunes of the struggling consumer electronics giant.

Sony unveiled a new cloud-based gaming service called PlayStation Now and said it is working on a TV service that combines live programming with video on demand.

The company also announced that sold 4.2 million PlayStation 4 gaming consoles, through Dec. 28. The new gaming console went on sale in the US in mid November and 2.1 million units were snapped up in the first two weeks.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai also showed off a device called the Ultra Short Throw Projector, which projects 4K ultra high definition video on a large scale onto walls. This will be available for sale in summer 2014, he said.

Sony needs new hits after it reported recent quarterly losses fueled by an unprofitable movie business and slashed its earnings outlook. Activist investor Dan Loeb has called for the entertainment business to be spun off from the rest of Sony's operations.

Hirai avoided any talk of restructuring, preferring to focus on Sony's push to create new products and services with the emotional and commercial impact of past blockbusters like the Walkman and the CD. One area of focus is on entertainment and removing traditional barriers to how people access video games and other content.

"We are evolving the business of how people access the entertainment they want," Hirai said during a speech at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas. "The tethers restrict people will soon dissolve," he added, heralding "a new era of freedom of choice for movies, TV, music and games."

The PlayStation Now streaming service will give instant access to games from previous generations of Sony game consoles, such as the PlayStation 2 and 3, according to Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment.At CES, Sony is showing off this new capability by letting attendees play top PlayStation 3 games on a Sony Bravia TV.

More importantly, the service will let gamers play their favorite PlayStation games on other devices, such as tablet computers, House explained. Gamers will also be able to rent specific games, or sign up for a subscription plan that lets them try out lots of different games, he added.

A closed beta test of PlayStation Now will start at the end of January and House expects a full roll out of the service later in 2014.

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