Vudu Service Launches on PlayStation 5

Vudu, the transactional video-on-demand service owned by Fandango, is available on Sony Interactive Entertainment’s next-generation PlayStation 5 game console at launch Nov. 12, the company announced.

Vudu, which was already available on the PS4, offers more than 150,000 movies and TV shows, including thousands of titles in 4K.

“As longtime fans know, PlayStation consoles are not just for playing games; they’re one of the most widely-used media hubs and a popular way to stream entertainment content at home,” read a Fandango press release. “With Vudu on PS5, fans can watch more movies and TV shows from the comfort of their home with no subscription required.”

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“Vudu is focused on delivering fans the latest new-elease and premium event titles, as well as our comprehensive catalog of movies and TV shows, and we’re thrilled to offer all of that content on PS5 at launch,” says Kevin Shepela, EVP, chief commercial officer, Fandango. “It’s a great time for fans to find their favorites to stream on their consoles, as we head toward the holidays and our Thanksgiving week sales.”

New movies coming to Vudu this month include Come Away (Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo), The New Mutants (Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy), The Personal History of David Copperfield (Dev Patel), Dreamland (Margot Robbie), along with thousands of films and TV shows on sale during Thanksgiving week and that are not yet available on subscription services.

Analyst: New Game Consoles to Boost Unit Shipments 6% in 2020

What a difference a year makes. With Microsoft and Sony poised to launch next-generation video game platforms, new data from ABI Research suggests 40 million combined units of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S will ship by the end of the year. That tally is 6% higher than combined unit shipments in 2019, when gamers held off buying hardware and software — sending the gaming industry into a months-long funk.

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In addition to the new consoles and relevant content, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in video game use in the home, driving sales of software, hardware and accessories throughout much of the year. With millions of consumers forced to stay at home in the first few months, game downloads and the number of active gaming users significantly increased. The demand for game consoles also increased in the first quarter of 2020, but supply chain disruption resulted in lower unit shipments. As operations resumed nearly back to normal in the second quarter, game console makers reported higher unit shipments in the second quarter.

“In addition to increasing demand in gaming, long-awaited next-generation consoles are targeting launch in November 2020, which will further drive the game console market,” analyst Khin Sandi Lynn said in a statement. “Although governments are reopening economies, still-imposed travel restrictions can impact logistics. Game console makers need to prepare for efficient production, content creation, and distribution plans to avoid supply chain shortages, especially during the holiday season when sales will peak.”

The Xbox Series X launches Nov. 10, and the PS5 bows two days later on Nov. 12.

Sony PlayStation 5 Bowing Nov. 12 Priced at $500; Digital Edition at $400

Sony Interactive Entertainment Sept. 16 disclosed the launch date and pricing for its next-edition PlayStation 5 video game console. The PS5 launches Nov. 12 priced at $500 for a unit capable of playing 4K UHD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray Disc content. A digital-only PS5 without disc capacity will sell for $400. Sony disclosed the details in a special webcast.

The pricing and release date comes after rival Microsoft said it would release the new-edition Xbox Series X and Series S on Nov. 10 priced at $500 and $300, respectively.

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The PS5 will feature 4K-compatible games playable on a 4K UHD TV, play so-called “ray tracing,” that offers true-to-life shadows and reflections on certain Sony games; support for 120fps and 120Hz games; HDR resolution; and future-proofed for 8K resolution.

Sony Cuts PlayStation 5 Console Production, Citing Chip Issues

Ahead of a Sept. 16 pricing unveil for the next-generation PlayStation 5 video game console, Sony Interactive Entertainment has reportedly cut production for the year by four million units to 11 million, citing software chip issues.

As first reported by Bloomberg, which cited sources familiar with the situation, production for the new console was being hampered by a 50% reduction in available custom-designed system-on-chips (SOC) that help drive the unit. Coupled with manufacturing delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, production of 11 million PS5 units would still surpass previous first-year PS production runs.

“If Sony can really ship 11 million for this fiscal year, we do not think the shortfall will be critical,” Kazunori Ito, analyst with Morningstar Investment Management Asia, told CNBC.

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The news, which saw Sony Corp. shares dip slightly, comes as PS battles Microsoft’s Xbox with new gaming systems in time for the 2020 winter holidays. Microsoft earlier this month announced that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles would launch Nov. 10, priced at $499 and $299, respectively. In a first, the software giant will market financing options for the consoles, beginning at $24.99 monthly.

After a near two-year slump as gamers awaited the arrival of new consoles and/or migrated to online gaming, the video game market has exploded during the pandemic. Driven by house-bound gamers and consumers, monthly industry sales ballooned more than 70% in April, according to The NPD Group — with accessory sales hitting an all-time high in August.

Nintendo, whose Switch gaming device has dominated the market in the absence of new Xbox and PS units, saw operating profit skyrocket 400% for the fiscal quarter from April to June 2020.

Sony Unveils Two PS5 Console Options, Games, No Pricing

Sony Interactive Entertainment’s much-hyped June 11 presentation offered a virtual open house for the pending PlayStation 5 video game console, including two console options for the new-generation system launching in time for the winter holidays.

Versions of the PS5 will include a model featuring a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc drive, and a digital edition without a disc drive. While there are some slight differences in the look of each model, for the overall design, Sony said it is delivering a console it says is “unlike” any previous generation of PlayStation. The new consoles include a wireless headset, a camera (with dual 1080p lenses), a media remote, and a charging dock for the DualSense controller. Sony did not reveal pricing or technical details for the new models.

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On the software side, Grand Theft Auto V will be rolling out an expanded and enhanced edition due in 2021. The title will feature a range of technical improvements, visual upgrades and performance enhancements to take advantage of the console’s new hardware, making the game more beautiful and more responsive than ever.

Plus, a new standalone version of Grand Theft Auto Online will be also available, free for three months on PS5. PlayStation Studios unveiled nine titles, including Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales — the next chapter in the partnership between PS Studios and Marvel Games. Insomniac disclosed Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, a galaxy-hopping new PS5 adventure in the fan-favorite Insomniac series.

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Guerilla is launching Horizon Forbidden West for PS5, a new adventure set in a distant land ravaged by massive storms. And Polyphony Digital unveiled Gran Turismo 7 featuring a “real driving” simulator. There’s also Demon’s Souls, a PS5 remake from Bluepoint Games and Japan Studio.

“When creating a new console, it’s essential to invite bright, talented independent [game] developers into the process early,” Sid Shuman, senior director, SIE content communications, said in a statement.

Indie PS5 titles include Bugsnax from Young Horses, a whimsical, narrative-driven adventure from the creators of Octodad.

Goodbye Volcano High from Ko_op is a cinematic narrative game taking place in the final days of civilization. Jett: The Far Shore from Superbrothers + Pine Scented is an interstellar trip to an oceanic planet in a narrative-driven action adventure, featuring a mix of storytelling and world exploration.

Kena: Bridge of the Spirits from Ember Lab is a story-driven action adventure game combining exploration and discovery with fast-paced combat.

Little Devil Inside from Neostream Interactive is set in a Victorian-like era offering missions to gain evidence and findings for a mysterious professor.

Oddworld: Soulstorm from Oddworld Inhabitants is a visual and cinematic lead for the celebrated series, featuring new gameplay mechanics and devices.

Other titles include: The Pathless from Giant Squid (Annapurna), Stray from BlueTwelve Studio/Annapurna, Solar Ash from Heart Machine/Annapurna.

Third-party developers offered new PS5 titles, include Ghostwire: Tokyo from Tango Gameworks/Bethesda Softworks; Godfall from Counterplay Games; Project Athia from Luminous Productions/Square Enix; Hitman 3 from IO Interactive; NBA 2K21 from 2K Sports; Deathloop from Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks; Resident Evil Village and Pragmata — both from Capcom.

“We’re incredibly excited about the next chapter, and we’ll have more details to share about PS5 and the broader PlayStation ecosystem as we close in on launch this holiday,” Shuman said.

Sony New-Generation Video Game Platform PS5 Unveiling Set for June 11

Sony Corp. June 9 announced it has rescheduled the public unveiling of the PlayStation 5 gaming platform for June 11 at 1 p.m. PT on Twitch or YouTube. The event was originally slated for June 4, but delayed due to the social unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

“We needed to step aside so key voices could be heard during this historic and important time,” Sony said in a blog post.

The pre-taped event to be streamed in 1080p at 30 frames per second will showcase new games for PS5, among other features. The console is set to release in retail channels for the winter holidays.

Sony Delays PS5 Media Reveal Due to Civil Unrest

Sony Network Entertainment June 1 announced it is delaying the planned June 4 PlayStation 5 media event. No future date has been disclosed.

“While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel that right now is the best time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” SNE wrote in a post on its Twitter feed (@PlayStation).

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The media event had planned to showcase new games for the PS5, which is launching in time for the winter holidays. Sony CEO Jim Ryan recently said global shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic had not altered distribution or pricing for the pending bow of PS5.

“It’s obviously introducing a level of complexity any business would prefer not to have to deal with,” Ryan said. “But we’re feeling really good about the supply chain, we’re going to launch this year and we’ll be global.”

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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 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.