Sony Offers Free Video Games to PS4 Owners During Pandemic

Sony is giving free video games to PlayStation 4 owners stuck at home during the coronavirus Pandemic.

Through 8 p.m. PT May 5, PS4 owners can download Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (a 43.5GB file) and Journey (2.5GB) through the PlayStation Store.

To get the games, users simply have to log onto their Internet-connected PS4 consoles and navigate to the PlayStation Store in their menu. The game offer should come up as soon as the store loads.

Users don’t have to subscribe to PlayStation Plus to get the games, nor do they need to download the games prior to the deadline to add them to their collection — simply adding the games to their library will suffice.

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In Journey, players explore a mysterious world of sand and ancient ruins.

In the “Uncharted” series, players follow the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection includes the single-player campaigns for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

Users in Germany or China will receive Knack 2 instead of the “Uncharted” bundle.

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Hulu + Live TV Launches on PlayStation 4

Hulu + Live TV March 3 became available on PlayStation 4 consoles, the service announced.

PlayStation 4 users are be able to subscribe to Hulu + Live TV, gaining access to both live and on-demand programming from channels such as ESPN, Fox, NBC and ABC.

Current PlayStation 4 users who already have Hulu can switch to Hulu + Live TV through their account settings on Hulu.com. Viewers who are already subscribed to Hulu + Live TV will also now be able to access and watch live channels through the Hulu app on PlayStation 4.

Hulu + Live TV is currently supported by Apple TV (fourth generation), Amazon Fire TV devices, Amazon’s Echo Show, Roku devices, Xbox One, Xbox 360, iOS and Android mobile devices, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, select LG and Samsung TVs, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, Windows 10, Mac and PC browsers, and Chromecast.

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Veronica Rogers Appointed SVP of Business Opps at Sony Interactive Entertainment

Veronica Rogers will oversee global business operations as the new SVP of business operations for Sony Interactive Entertainment, the company responsible for the PlayStation brand and family of products.

She will report to president and CEO Jim Ryan and will lead Sony Interactive Entertainment’s go-to-market organization globally. Rogers will help drive business growth, lead strategic initiatives, and evolve the culture of business operations from its previously regionalized structure into a single global system.

“Veronica brings a wealth of experience leading global sales organizations, managing strategic partnerships, developing innovative business models, and building world class teams,” said Ryan in a statement. “She will play a crucial role in scaling the business and I’m thrilled she has brought her expertise to the PlayStation family.”

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Rogers will be responsible for global alignment in sales operations, both physical and digital, as well as lead PlayStation subscription services. She has nearly 20 years of experience leading business development, strategic planning, and sales operations at large global organizations including Microsoft and Dell Technologies.

“The PlayStation brand is one of the most beloved in the world and I am excited to join a company that has such a passionate community, legendary history, and an amazing leadership team,” said Rogers in a statement. “My experience leading global sales organizations will help excel the PlayStation business and deliver the best gaming experiences to fans across the world.”

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Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is responsible for the PlayStation brand and family of products and services. The 25-year-old PlayStation brand includes PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Store, PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Video, PlayStation Music, PlayStation Now, PlayStation Vue, and PlayStation software titles from SIE Worldwide Studios. The PlayStation 5 game system, which includes a UHD Blu-ray player, is scheduled to debut in the upcoming holiday season.

Report: Sony ‘PlayStation 5’ to Focus on Major Games, Tech, Including 8K Resolution

Sony Interactive Entertainment appears to be taking a page from Sony Pictures, focusing internal efforts on proven content and wow-factor graphics, among other features.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony’s unnamed fifth-generation video game console — reportedly set to launch in late 2020 — will cater to established game publishers featuring graphics-heavy features.

The strategy is not dissimilar to Sony Pictures focusing on proven franchises such as “Spider-Man,” “Ghostbusters” and “Jumanji.”

“Details when making games have become more important than ever,” Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Corp., reportedly said at a recent company briefing.

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Expectations are high for PlayStation, whose PS4 console continues to generate significant sales, including projected 17+ million units in 2019 — five years after launching.

The PlayStation brand, including hardware, software and subscriptions, generated more than $21 billion in revenue — and $3 billion operating profit — in Sony’s most-recent fiscal year.

By comparison, Sony Pictures generated about $9.2 billion in revenue, which trailed televisions and speakers ($10.1 billion) and topped smartphones at $4.6 billion.

The new PlayStation comes as the gaming industry grapples with changing technology and distribution to consumers — notably cloud-based online gaming.

Google plans to launch its Stadia platform in November while Apple readies Apple Arcade — both services circumventing traditional game consoles such as PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

According to WSJ, Sony contends online gaming doesn’t allow hardcore gamers the ability to engage in graphics-heavy content, audio and 8K resolution, among other features, due to spotty broadband connections and other tech challenges.

“[This] clearly demonstrates why it makes sense to have a next-generation console,” Yoshida said.

Report: Sony PS5 Details Revealed

During a recent Sony investor relations meeting,  a PDF emerged with details on the “next generation” of PlayStation, including Blu-ray capability, according to a report in Dealerscope.

In addition to the new CPU and GPU, support for 8K graphics, 3D audio, SSD storage, ray tracing, disc support, and backwards compatibility with PlayStation 4 details already known, according to Dealerscope, the Sony PDF states, “We will leverage backwards compatibility to transition our community to next gen faster and more seamlessly than ever before.”

The move to next-gen previously required buying all new game titles, but Sony seems to be making the upgrade easier this time, according to the report. The Sony PDF also stated the PS4 “will remain the engine of engagement and profitability for the next three years.”

Sony listed Blu-ray, download and streaming options under the capabilities of the next gen in the “long term.” For the “medium term” Sony is looking to boost its PlayStation Now service.

Sony in the meeting also showed how much more quickly the PS5 was able to load and navigate cities in the Spider-Man game.

Video Game Console Ownership Drives SVOD, Pay-TV Subs

Video game consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation have long been catalysts for over-the-top video adoption. Now the proof is in writing.

IHS Markit Oct. 3 disclosed that 89.6% of video game console owners have access to at least one OTT video subscription service, compared with 51% of consumers surveyed without a game console.

Among households with games consoles, 88.6% had one or more pay-TV services, compared to 57% of all survey respondents.

There were 49 million games consoles shipped worldwide in 2017, with North America receiving the largest share (18.4 million units). At the end of 2017, the global number of connected consoles reached 164 million, of which 83% were seventh or eighth-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.

The latest finding from the IHS Markit “Connected Devices and Media Consumption” service revealed that 35.6% of households owned a games console. The survey examined device ownership, use and access of subscription and free video services and decision drivers.

While gaming remains the core function, Microsoft and Sony have leveraged their existing online stores to provide digital rental and retail options in their … consoles,” Daniel Sutton, senior analyst, connected devices and media consumption, IHS Markit, wrote in the report.

Sutton said game consoles availing their platforms to third-party apps has allowed major and niche online video services to access television-centered devices, which make viewing on the main screen convenient and enable media content streaming functionality similar to what’s offered by dedicated media streaming devices, like Apple TV and Amazon FireStick.

The high penetration of SVOD/pay-TV services among game console owners is hardly surprising, according to IHS Markit. Games consoles remain premium-priced devices, meaning these households have already shown a propensity toward media spending.

Console ownership and SVOD subscription varies by country:

In the U.S., the largest market in terms of games console sales and connected consoles, more than one-third (38.2%) of respondents indicated they had access to one or more games consoles. Nearly 98% of console-owning households subscribed to at least one pay-TV or SVOD service.

The majority of Brazil’s console-owning demo subscribes to multiple video services, including traditional pay-TV and OTT video services. About 80% of console owners in Brazil had a household subscription to Netflix, which is 13% higher than the national average. More than 5% of console owners who subscribed to Netflix said that their console was their preferred way to access the service.

In Germany, there were 7.6 million connected games consoles at the end of 2017. The PlayStation 4 was the most common device, with five million connected consoles. Nearly 24% of PlayStation 4 households in Germany also owned a PlayStation 3, and 14% owned an Xbox One.

Just 22% of Japanese console owners subscribe to online video service Netflix, while 14% subscribe to pay-TV. Almost 31% of PlayStation 4 owners in Japan indicated that access to content – either for themselves or other household members – was their primary driver when purchasing the device.

About 40% of U.K. survey respondents indicated that their household owned one or more games consoles. As was uniformly the case across the all markets surveyed, the PlayStation 4 was the most popular console. Netflix is the largest online video operator in the U.K. with 31% of respondents saying they had access to Netflix, rising to 48% when looking specifically at console owners.

Sega Out with ‘Valkyria Chronicles 4’

Sega on Sept. 25 announced the release of Valkyria Chronicles 4, 10 years after the launch of the original Valkyria Chronicles, the innovative turn-based strategy role-playing game (RPG).

The game lets players experience the other side of the Second European War and its most brutal campaign, Operation Northern Cross. Valkyria Chronicles 4 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 takes place in the same timeframe as the original Valkyria Chronicles, but focuses on a whole new cast of main characters: the eager young Commander Claude Wallace, engineer/heavy weapons extraordinaire Riley Miller, hotheaded Darcsen Raz, ace sniper Kai Schulen, and others.

The next-generation “BLiTZ” battle system boasts several new features, including an explosive new class called the Grenadier, numerous offensive/defensive battleship support options, chances for a unit to have a “Last Stand” action before death, and more..

CANVAS Aesthetics, the franchise’s signature hand-drawn visual style, has been overhauled for the newest generation. “Inspired by watercolor compositions, the CANVAS Graphics Engine blends visual elements of reality and imagination to create an expressive world filled with colorful emotions,” Sega says.

Also back is composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, with a new orchestral score for Valkyria Chronicles 4.

Sony Promotion Includes Limited Edition Blue PS4

Sony Interactive Entertainment is bringing back its Days of Play PlayStation promotion, offering deals June 8-18 at participating retailers across the United States and Canada, while supplies last.

The promotion includes a blue-with-gold-symbol Days of Play Limited Edition PS4 system for $299.99 ($379.99 Canadian) starting June 8. The console features a 1TB hard drive and comes with a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller.

Hardware and peripheral discounts throughout the 11 days include:

  • Jet Black PS4 Pro – $349.99 ($449.99 Canadian)
  • PlayStation VR bundles – starting at $199.99 ($249.99 Canadian)
  • DualShock 4 wireless controller (all colors) – $39.99 ($49.99 Canadian)
  • PlayStation Move motion controller (2 pack) – $79.99 ($99.99 Canadian)
  • PlayStation VR Aim controller (U.S. only) – $49.99

 

PS4 and PS VR title promotions include:

  • God of War: $49.99 ($59.99 Canadian)
  • Gran Turismo Sport: $19.99 ($29.99 Canadian)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: $19.99 ($29.99 Canadian)
  • MLB The Show 18: $39.99 ($49.99 Canadian)
  • Shadow of the Colossus: $19.99 ($29.99 Canadian)
  • Bravo Team (PS VR): $29.99 ($39.99 Canadian)
  • Farpoint (PS VR): $14.99 ($19.99 Canadian)
  • The Inpatient (PS VR): $14.99 ($19.99 Canadian)

 

The PlayStation Store will be offering promotions on games and network service memberships, including:

  • PlayStation Plus – $49.99 ($59.99 Canadian) for a 12-month PS Plus membership
  • PlayStation Vue (available in the U.S. only) – $10 per month off the Core plan standard price for the first two months ($44.99 per month thereafter)
  • PlayStation Store catalog titles