Sony Computer Entertainment America Announces New Business Initiatives At Annual Gaming Convention
Company Spotlights Hardware Innovation, Content, Community and Market Expansion Plans at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. announced today a series of initiatives focused on hardware innovation, content, community, and market expansion to enhance the consumer experience and designed to lead the industry down the right path toward entertainment convergence. The company will showcase its 2003 lineup and outline plans that will make the PlayStation®2 platform the entertainment center of the living room through use of sight, sound and voice, engage mainstream consumers to embrace online gaming, and expand its in-home entertainment products with the introduction of an all-in-one new portable entertainment platform at the 2003 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).
With an enviable installed base of more than 19 million PlayStation®2 computer entertainment systems in North America and a unique combination of entertainment, technology and consumer expertise, Sony Computer Entertainment America is set to change the way the industry thinks with advanced technologies that deliver compelling entertainment experiences. The introduction of forward-thinking hardware and software innovations holds true to the company's commitment of evolving PlayStation 2 as the focal point of the living room.
"With the battle for console supremacy decided, we are departing from the status quo in an effort to broaden the in-home entertainment market," said Kaz Hirai, president and chief operating officer, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. "At the same time, we shoulder the responsibility of the gaming industry and continue to challenge developers and publishers to further their creativity, always with the entertainment experience in mind."
Hardware Innovations Expand Consumers' Entertainment Experience
Sony Computer Entertainment America plans to introduce a first-of-its-kind product, EyeToy™, a USB camera that uses motion-tracking technology to project player images on-screen. With this technology, the capabilities of the PlayStation 2 entertainment experience are greatly enhanced by capturing the player's body movements and instantaneously transforming these images into on-screen interaction. EyeToy takes full advantage of the power of PlayStation 2 and encourages performance, interaction and laughter, so people of all ages can instantly become the star of their own game, no experience necessary. Scheduled to release in October for a suggested retail price of $39, EyeToy will include 12 exciting mini-games based on music, puzzles, sports, and other original genres.
The company also announced plans to launch a USB Headset (for PlayStation®2) that utilizes Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and voice recognition technologies for use with online and offline games for PlayStation 2. Sony Computer Entertainment America first party online titles that utilize USB Headset technology include: SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs, Syphon Filter®: The Omega Strain, NFL GameDay™ 2004, NBA ShootOut 2004, and NCAA® GameBreaker® 2004. Top third party developers have also committed to creating titles for PlayStation 2 that utilize voice technology via the headset, including top franchises from EA Sports and Sega Sports. The USB Headset for PlayStation 2 will be released in September for a suggested retail price of $29.99.
Enhanced Online Hardware and Community Innovation
Further enticing mainstream audiences to embrace online gaming, the introduction of the PlayStation 2 Online Pack includes everything consumers need. The PlayStation 2 Online Pack is a combination of the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) (for PlayStation®2), so consumers can quickly and conveniently enter the PlayStation 2 online community using their choice of analog or broadband Internet connectivity. The PlayStation 2 Online Pack will replace the existing hardware SKU and be available this summer for the same suggested retail price of $199, providing consumers with an enticing value proposition.
PlayStation 2 consumers have already embraced online gaming. As a stand- alone product, Sony Computer Entertainment America has sold more than 600,000 Network Adaptors since August 2002. Due to this overwhelming response, the company decided to remove the barrier to entry by bundling the Network Adaptor with the PlayStation 2 hardware at retail.
Having already amassed the largest games library with the broadest genre offering through its first and third party developers, Sony Computer Entertainment America is now cornering the market through an extended partnership with Electronic Arts. In a move that deals a significant blow to the competition, Electronic Arts is set to make nine of its best-selling EA Sports franchises PlayStation 2 online exclusive for the 2003 - 2004 season.
The company also announced plans for the simultaneous release of an internal hard disc drive (40GB) (for PlayStation®2) with Square Enix's massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), FINAL FANTASY®XI. This world-renowned franchise, to be published by Sony Computer Entertainment America in the North American market, will be released the first quarter of 2004. Fans of the franchise will be able to immerse themselves in the expansive, original storyline online as they embark on missions and build up their character's skills and attributes, either alone or with other members of the online community in a truly persistent world with cross-platform play between console and a personal computer.
With first party and third party titles, PlayStation 2 will amass an impressive library of up to 50 online titles by the end of 2003.
Unparalleled First Party Content on PlayStation 2
Even as the company sets the bar for new forms of computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment America remains steadfast to its core business philosophy of delivering the best content to consumers via the PlayStation 2 platform, which breeds million-unit software sellers. A bevy of first party exclusive titles will launch later this year that are poised to become worldwide big hits, including the fourth installment of the authentic racing game Gran Turismo™, the most successful franchise in the company's history, selling a cumulative 32 million units worldwide on PlayStation and PlayStation 2. New fully enhanced features for Gran Turismo™ 4 focus on more cars, courses, race modes and the added bonus of online gameplay.
Additional widely anticipated first party titles include: -- NFL GameDay™2004 (VoIP) -- Due this August, the latest in this popular NFL football franchise delivers exciting and authentic football action, combining true NFL intensity with all-new graphics, deep online mode and enhanced "motion blending" technology, allowing for seamless animation transitions. -- NBA ShootOut 2004 (VoIP) -- Due this October, the latest in this hoops series features enhanced Career Mode enabling gamers to create a player and earn a spot on an NBA team, NBA ShootOut 2004 now also enables users to take their skills online, leveraging the new USB Headset to rally teammates and compete against anyone around the country, or use the offline voice recognition capabilities to execute specific plays. -- Jak II™ -- Created and developed by Naughty Dog, Inc., Jak II is the follow-up to the "Greatest Hits" PlayStation 2 debut title, Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Destined to be one of the hottest titles of the year and kicking off the holiday season with a September launch, Jak II will stun players with its innovative character designs and animations, superior technology and spectacular graphics. -- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando™ -- Due out in November, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando is the second installment to the successful PlayStation 2 franchise, Ratchet & Clank™. The game will feature brand-new, experience-based character growth and weapons upgrade systems, maxi-games, beautiful diverse environments, all-new character designs, magnificent graphics, a compelling storyline, and a unique arsenal of more of the coolest weapons and hi-tech gadgets ever imagined. -- SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs (VoIP) -- Due November, this sequel to the number one online console game enables up to 16 players to take the role of elite SEAL forces to collaborate with international and allied forces to protect America, featuring new gameplay, chat functionality, mission types, weapons and more. -- Rise to Honor™ -- Inspired by the excitement and cinematic styling of the Hong Kong action movie genre, Rise to Honor is a fast-paced action game developed in collaboration with worldwide film star Jet Li. Rise to Honor will immerse players into an action packed storyline centered on family, deceit and honor in a chain of dangerous events extending from Hong Kong to San Francisco. -- Syphon Filter®: The Omega Strain (VoIP) -- Set to debut in 2004, the newest installment of the Syphon Filter franchise adds four-player cooperative peer-to-peer online play, character customization and richly detailed, intense international environments. Market Expansion
Enhancing its strong platform strategies, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. announced today plans to expand its in-home entertainment to outside the home with a new, all-in-one portable entertainment platform, "PSP™." Scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2004, the company's goal is to extend the reach of PlayStation to a broader audience, allowing consumers to enjoy gaming and other entertainment content anytime, anywhere. Specific details on release plans and pricing will be disclosed at a later date.
The introduction of "PSP" highlights the company's long-awaited foray into the portable entertainment market. With unmatched advantages of the Sony Group, such as global brand awareness, superior technologies in the most advanced semiconductor processes, "PSP" further broadens entertainment experiences into the portable arena.
Sony Computer Entertainment will offer PC-based development tools starting from fall 2003 for the preparation of a new range of computer entertainment content. A new license scheme for "PSP" software development will be announced in summer 2003. Pursuing the founding principles of the PlayStation business, the company will expand its efforts to support content developers to create new forms of computer entertainment.
About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era.
Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
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