Sony Corporation and Epic Games Inc. announced that Sony has agreed to make a strategic investment of $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic though a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.
The investment allows Sony and Epic to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.
Venture Beat reported that the relationship between Epic and Sony was strengthened when Epic first showed the Unreal Engine 5 graphics running on a PlayStation 5. Previous to Sony’s investment, Epic raised $1.58 billion in three previous rounds of funding. In 2012, Epic received a $330 million investment from Tencent for a 40% ownership stake.
Epic Games is the developer and publisher of Fortnite, a game that is incredibly popular. This popularity was enhanced by Ninja (Tyler Blevins) who started streaming Fortnite on Twitch, then moved to Mixer, and then moved to YouTube. Fortnite, according to Hollywood Reporter, has 350 million registered users.
So, what is Epic getting from the Sony investment? Business Insider reported that Sony’s $250 million investment puts Epic’s current valuation at just under $18 billion.
What is Sony getting from this investment? Hollywood Reporter suggests that Sony will benefit from Epic’s Unreal real-time gaming engine, which is growing in use in Hollywood animation, VFX and production communities. Unreal was used in Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian. So, the collaboration between Sony and Epic could benefit Sony Pictures.
It’s a big weekend for gamers as E3 goes online because of Covid-19 with Sony launching the PS5, the Gaming Show 2020 and the latest games from EA and Ubisoft.
Sony revealed the PS5 last night, and while the jury’s still out on the design, the games line-up looks pretty solid with a ton of games trailers – GTA V, GT7, Ratchet & Clank, Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Sony’s The Future of Gaming Show video is here and it starts with the upcoming games roster. For the hardware, jump forwards to about 69 minutes to see the new PS5 consoles which will be coming in two variants; the standard PlayStation 5 that will take 4K Blu-Ray disks and a slimmer diskless Digital Edition. It looks like a powerful console but the white design so reminds me of stormtrooper armour. It’s a noticeable departure from the largely black box of the PS2 through PS4. At this stage, availability is “holiday 2020” and there’s no news on price.
Also part of E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) online event, the PC Gaming Show will give everyone a chance to see the latest gaming news with over 50 games trailers over a promised two hours. It kicks off at 2pm EDT on a variety of social media platforms. I’ll be keeping an eye on the PC Gamer YouTube channel to see what’s coming to PCs over the next few months.
EA will be demoing their latest and greatest on 18 June and Ubisoft will be showing off their wares later in July. If you’re a gamer, there’s plenty to keep you busy over the next few days.
Sony PlayStation Classic Returns Dec 2018!
Taking a page out of the Nintendo playbook Sony is bringing back it’s original PlayStation Classic almost 25 years as it was introduced. Using modern electronics it will be a mini-me version 45% smaller than the original console. The device is going on pre-sale and will be available for $99.99. Fans can pre-order from Gamestop, Walmart, and Best Buy.
It will come pre-loaded with 20 games that defined the Sony brand from those classic days Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. Sony says Visit PlayStation.com for more details on regional availability, and they will announce on the Blog the full lineup of titles coming to PlayStation Classic
The accessory lineup looks great. It will be interesting to see if this is a popular Christmas item. If nothing else it’s a cool item to collect!
The promise of smart, connected devices is that they give us functionality beyond what a “basic box” can offer. Consumers have been adding internet-based entertainment options to TV sets for years, usually thru external devices like Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV. In recent years, television manufacturers began adding native apps that run inside their TV sets. These apps allow users to access different services right there on their TVs. But these types of native apps aren’t usually updated as often as their set-top box counterparts.
Media-streaming technology is constantly changing, so it’s very important for these types of apps to stay current. In an unfortunate turn for some Sony Bravia TV owners, the company announced it will no longer update its native YouTube app:
It has been confirmed that the “New YouTube on TV” app on 2012 Sony BRAVIA TVs will experience symptoms of “Black Screen and Freezing”, or an “Error Message will be displayed and the video will stop playing”.
The symptoms being experienced are not a failure of the TV, but are as a result of specification changes made by YouTube that exceed the capability of the TV’s hardware.
As a result, Sony have decided to remove the YouTube icon for the 2012 Bravia TVs on 30th September 2016.
The YouTube application will no longer be available for the 2012 Bravia TVs after 30th September 2016.
If you’ve been enjoying YouTube on a 2012 Bravia TV, you’ll need to look for another way to get those videos.
Sony New Zealand teamed up with trainers at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium for a unique project called “The Octographer”. They taught an octopus named Rambo to how to use a Sony Cyber Shot TX30 camera. The camera was placed in a special rig that would hold it in place and allow Rambo to push down on a red shutter to take a photo. It only took her three tries to learn how to do it!
Rambo is now the world’s first octopus photographer. Some of the photos she took of people who stood in front of a backdrop can be viewed on the Sony New Zealand Facebook page. The Sony Cyber Shot TX30 is resistant to water, dust, shock, and low temperatures.
Sony gave everyone a “first look” at their new lineup of innovative products during CES. The new products include their thinnest TV, a streaming Blu-Ray Disc player, and many options for audio.
The X900C Ultra-Thin 4K Ultra HD TV combines the beauty of 4K clarity and brilliant color with an ultra-thin floating style that shows all picture with no bezel. It has brilliant expanded color with TRILUMINOS display. The HD is upscaled to an impressive 4K Ultra HD. This TV lets you skip the menu and access the top video services very quickly. Other features include Android TV with Google Cast, voice search, and Play store apps. You can stream PS3 games directly to your TV.
The BDP5500 3D Streaming Blu-Ray Disc Player lets you enjoy over 300 streaming entertainment services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and PlayStation Now (which lets you stream PlayStation 3 games). It has full HD 1080p Blu-ray disc playback with 2D to 3D conversion. Enjoy high picture quality with TRILUMINOS technology.
Sony is redefining the bar with their ST9 Premium HD Sound Bar with wireless remote. It has 9 individual speakers and 7 discrete amplifies that work in concert to create a powerful 7.1 surround sound experience. It is easy to set up with 3 HDMI in/1 out and ARC support. Expand your listening with powerful multi-room capability.
Sony’s NT3 Slim Hi-Res audio sound bar with wireless subwoofer is a multitalented performer. With this one, Sony has introduced a sound bar that delivers stunning performances for both concerts and films. With 450W of power, flexible connectivity, and a beautiful design, you’ve got to hear it to believe it.
Harmonize your home with Sony’s Sony’s X99 premium Bluetooth wireless speaker It has 154 watts, 8 digital amps, and 7 speakers. It has been engineered to deliver pure high-resolution audio bliss. Plus, the speaker can stream your favorite music with Google Cast.
There’s a reason why you had difficulties accessing Sony’s online PlayStation store and Microsoft’s Xbox Live network during Christmas. Each has been experiencing disruptions from a DDoS attack that began on Christmas Eve, continued through Christmas Day, and is still ongoing.
The group that has claimed responsibility for the disruptions is the same one that has a history of destroying other people’s fun by making it impossible for them to access online games. This is especially problematic during Christmas as people who received new games try to get online to play them. Some have noted that Sony’s decision to let people download the controversial movie The Interview through Xbox Video could be adding to the problem.
The PlayStation Knowledge Center has mentioned the issue. At the time I am writing this, the PSN Status is “Offline”. Further information says: “We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulty logging into the PSN. We will update this article with any changes that occur in regards to this issue. Thank you for your patience.”
Similarly, Microsoft has posted some information about the outage on their Xbox Live Support page. At the time I am writing this, the Xbox Live Core Services is “Limited”. Further information says: “Xbox members, are you experiencing issues when attempting to sign in? We’re aware of this issue, and we’re working to find a fix ASAP! We appreciate your patience in the meantime, and we encourage you to retry signing in when you get a chance. We’ll update you as soon as we know more”.