Sony Corp. unveiled the PlayStation 4 on Wednesday, its first video-game console in seven years, and said it will include free and episodic titles as Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai seeks to reignite sales.
Andrew House, chief executive officer of Sony’s PlayStation unit, announced the product at an event in New York. Sony didn’t immediately disclose prices or say when the machine will go on sale.
The PlayStation 4 makes its debut amid an industry shift toward mobile play on smartphones and tablets, raising the question of whether gamers will shell out several hundred dollars for a new console. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are adding features such as movies and music, and more portable controllers, to keep mainstream consumers attracted.
“We’ve gotten to the point of diminishing returns on the technology,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, before the announcement. “The inflection point for them is going to be software and whether it’s different enough to make you really want to go buy it.”
Nintendo, which released the Wii U last year, cut its sales forecast for the console in January as it struggles to compete with Apple and Samsung tablets. Microsoft plans to begin selling a new Xbox by the end of 2013 that includes more processing power and more home-entertainment features.
Mobile games and those downloaded to computers are taking a bigger portion of sales at the expense of traditional gear.
Revenue from those titles rose 16 percent last year to $5.9 billion, according to researcher NPD Group Inc. Sales of the $60 packaged titles for consoles fell 21 percent to $8.9 billion.