In a turnaround of the Xbox 360 vs Sony PS3 launches, Microsoft has yet to announce any details of its forthcoming PS4 chanenger. Despite this, some industry watchers are convinced that the new Xbox will dominate the next generation of games consoles. Michael Pachter, analyst at Wedbush Securities, believes Microsoft will win the next generation console battle.

In a South by Southwest presentation Pachter stated that non-gaming related features such as Skype integration and TV services will allow it to win the next-generation console war. Whilst the current Xbox 360 features a good selection of entertainment features, its successor is expected to push entertainment to another level thanks to Kinect 2 integration, digital video recording features and possibly set-top box functionality.

Whilst Sony’s PlayStation 4 (get a free PS4 via freeps4.net) may aim to catch the Microsoft console over time, Pacher believes the Xbox’s early edge will be maintained.

Maybe Sony’s desire to get information about their new console out first may not pay off after all.

 

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Whilst a 250GB Slim PS3 is expected following Sony’s testing of such a version with the Federal Communications Commission, an exact release date was never published.

Well, such a console could be on sale as soon as 13 October after Engadget published a picture of a 250GB PS3 Uncharted 2 bundle.

The game itself is released on 13 October and We’d expect the bundle to be available on the same day as the game with an official announcement possibly coming at next weeks Tokyo Game Show.

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Website PSBeyond has claimed that Gran Turismo 5 will be released for sale in the UK on 25 September 2009. Whilst this seems almost too soon, the Slim PS3 did catch us by surprise with the speed with which it came to market. The source of the date is reported to be a Sony official.

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The launch of the revised Slim PS3 has given Sony a huge sales boost, with them selling 38,000 consoles more than they did the previous week, This represents a whopping 104% week-on-week increase. Next week should see even bigger gains as the figures were taken pre September 1 when the new console wasn’t fully available.

Thanks to the recent price cut Microsoft’s Xbox 360 saw a 32% sales increase, selling 74,689 units compared with 56,448 during the pre-price cut week. Total Xbox 360 sales were just 1,242 units shy of the PS3’s total.

Without a revised console or a price cut to boost sales, Nintendo saw a 4% drop in the same week. Despite this it still sold an impressive 74,245 units, only a few hundred shy of the Xbox and less than 2,000 off the PS3.

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The Telegraph reports that Sony have placed orders for enough console components to double the production of PS3’s over the next three months. This move leads us to think that Sony are expecting a massive increase in demand which could only be caused by the introduction of a Slim version of the PS3 games console.

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Retailer Amazon.com is showing a release date for the long awaited driving sim Gran Turismo 5. Their site is stating a 29 December release, which seem a little odd to us being the week after Christmas and after the years biggest sales period. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see but at least it’s looking a little closer than sometime next year.

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The Sony corporation are finding themselves with a large problem in the form of their PlayStation 3 console.

Internal Problems
It appears that they still can’t make money based on the consoles current price and as a result, despite intense pressure, are refusing to drop the price further. The PS3 has been at its current retail price for such a long time that it now looks very expensive, even the long-standing argument that you get a ‘free’ Blu-ray player included with the PS3 no longer washes, especially when a stand-alone Blu-ray player can be had for around £120 or less. Sure you get integrated wireless connectivity and free online gaming with the PS3, but not everybody wants these, nor are they essential to the PS3 gaming experience. As well as the perceived lack of value that the PS3 provides, the persistent rumours of a impending price reduction and/or a slim version are sure to keep potential buyers from making a purchase any time soon. Sony therefore has a dilemma. Reduce the price to enable them to keep existing and attract new customers to the Sony brand but loose money in the process, or leave the price alone, loose a minimum amount on each unit but risk loosing customers to main rival Microsoft and their Xbox 360 console. From a financial perspective at least they will sell fewer units with the latter options and therefore loose less money, although at the detriment to long term strategy due to the erosion of the PlayStation user base, something that needs to be avoided in the competitive games console world.

Microsoft Problems
Despite the PS3′s current woes, I think the biggest problem for Sony is yet to come. I think this problem will come from Microsoft in the form of a new Xbox console much sooner than anyone is expecting. Such a product, released as a successor to the Xbox 360, would surely be the worst possible news for Sony. The hype of a new console and the demand that this creates would not only steal buyers away from Sony but it would cement the current generation of Xbox users firmly in the Microsoft camp, especially if full backwards compatibility is included. Judging by the furore over the lack of PS3 backward compatibility it would surely be crazy to overlook this feature. A further knock on effect of a new Xbox would be that developers may, in light of falling hardware (and hence software sales), drop the Sony platform altogether to concentrate on the new Microsoft console. That it is a well-known fact that the PS3 is hard to write software for will only make dropping support for it more likely. This is only my opinion, but a new Microsoft console brought to market in the next 18 months would be perfect timing for Microsoft and could cause irreparable damage to Sony’s gaming division. It could even spell the end for the PlayStation series of gaming machines and this is something that any consumer should not want to see.

Final Thoughts
Maybe the rumoured Slim PS3 will become a reality and be used as a tool to counteract a possible attack from Microsoft? Sony’s current stance of doing nothing certainly won’t work for much longer. Monopolies are no good for anyone, except the company with the monopoly. Windows operating system anyone?

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At the E3 conference today Sony has been showing off its new motion controller for the PS3, due for release early next year.

The demo consisted of a Sony engineer waving the controller around with a monitor replicating his movement but, instead of showing the controller, it displayed of objects including a tennis racquet, sword, Japanese fan and a torch.

The demo also exhibited a two controller swordfight as well as two motion controllers being used to handle virtual toy building blocks. Perhaps the most impressive demo was the ability to write free-hand with the new motion controllers.

We look forward to more details in the coming days and weeks.

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Sony yesterday revealed a new PSP called the PSP Go.

The PSP Go goes on sale October 1 in the US, Canada and Europe for approximately $249 with Japanese sales starting a month later.

Sony have stated that it will be half the size of the current PSP 3000 series as well as 40% lighter. Its main feature that differentiates it from the current model is a large screen that slides up to reveal controller buttons laid out in a similar manner to a PS3 Dual Shock controller. The unit will also feature Wi-Fi wireless connectivity along with 16GB of built in memory.

Sony reveal PSP Go

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Sony currently offers motion-sensing capabilities in the DualShock 3 wireless controller, which is available as an accessory to the PS3. However, the new controller would be far more advanced, possibly eclipsing the accuracy of the controller for the Nintendo Wii console.

The Sony controller would use light-emitting diodes and a Webcam to track the gadget’s movements, according to Variety. The technology would be able to track the direction of movements better than the Wii-mote, and also track velocity.
A Sony spokesman said Friday the company wouldn’t comment on “rumours or speculation.”

The controller is the second new product Sony is expected to unveil at E3. The game fan site 1UP.com reported this week that Sony would introduce the next iteration of the PlayStation Portable handheld game console.

Variety isn’t the first to report a new Sony controller is in the works. The site Kombo.com reported last month that Sony was reaching out to game developers, asking them to add support for the device in future games.

What impact the controller has on PS3 sales remains to be seen. Sony has been hit hard by sliding consumer demand during the economic downturn, which has impacted PS3 sales. Not helping demand is the higher price of the PS3 compared with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. Sony has cut prices before on the PS3, which starts at $400. Analysts have said they expect the company to cut prices this year by about $100.

Source: Information Week

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