Sony held their International CES 2013 press conference early Monday evening , the night before the official start of CES. As anticipated in Gaming Illustrated’s earlier CES preview article, the presentation did not offer much news directly related to gaming, but the presentation did have a good deal of content that will likely affect gaming in a more indirect fashion.
President and CEO of Sony, Kazuo Hirai, emphasized that one of Sony’s current focuses lies in cross-product connectivity across all media platforms. The cross-save function of the Vita and PS3 is just one part of this initiative. Consumers should expect to see wider adoption of advanced Near Field Communication (NFC) wireless between Sony products provides. The largest arm of this push for increased interconnectivity comes in Sony’s One Touch system, which allows users to transfer media from one gadget to another seamlessly. One example given by Phil Molyneux, President and COO of Sony Electronics Inc. was of listening to music from a phone and transferring the music to one of Sony’s new portable, Bluetooth-enabled speakers with One Touch. Should someone call at this time, the owner will have an option to answer the call and end the music, turning the phone call into a conference call through the speaker. Once the call is done, the music will resume on its own.
The multimedia extravaganza really starts hitting home with the introduction of the Personal Content Station. Using ITB cloud technology and coming with one terabyte of storage space, the Personal Content Station is planned to act as a household-wide media device to the entire family, allowing them to keep their media in one place that is easy to find while also making sharing easier. The concept seems interesting, but not enough details are available to make any concrete deductions about the quality of the idea at this time.
As expected, Sony wants to push the 4k HD televisions into the consumer market and is taking numerous steps along various fronts to do so. While prices are not yet available, the two new Bravia televisions introduced—55” and 65”—are explicitly described as being designed for the consumer market. The 56” prototype OLED television—the largest in the world—has no set price yet, but the description alone makes it sound out of the reach of the typical consumer.
Sony also has plans for the Total Home Entertainment System, a hefty project that will have a blu-ray player, 3D compatibility, wi-fi, internet connectivity, and an unprecedented variety of viewing options from Hulu and Netflix to Youtube. This project is described as having a voice search feature, in which the user can merely speak the name of the desired program, and the Total Home Entertainment System will seek it out across the treacherous wastes of the internet. To give the system something to watch, Sony will not only bring recent films filmed in 4k to consumers, but will also be remastering classic films such as Lawrence of Arabia. Of course, the usefulness of all these 4k peripherals is dependent upon the success of the 4k television, which is hard to predict without price data. Time will have to tell.
Relation to Gaming
The marketing angle on 4k televisions will likely affect the PS4 as well. If 4k catches on, the PS4 could quite easily end up being the first console designed exclusively for 4k content. Considering that Sony has a history of insisting on the most advanced technology in their consoles, even at the expense of profits, this course of events seems likely. The resolution upscaling feature of Sony’s 4k television brings up some interesting possibilities for possible backwards compatibility in the PS4 because it will allow players to get a new graphical experience out of the same game they already played. The upscaling should push current resolution media up to almost 4k-quality visuals.
As for the rest of the show, it did also include some brief discussions of cell phones and laptops, but Sony’s clear desires to market 4k televisions to average consumers and to increase cross-platform functionality were the heart of the presentation. This dual focus will almost certainly have an effect upon gamers as the industry fully transitions into a new console cycle.