Tag Archives: Sony

Sony Suspends PlayStation Sales in Russia



Sony has joined a growing number of gaming companies that have made the decision to stop selling their games and consoles in Russia. Those companies include Epic Games and Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and CD PROJEKT Red. I suspect that more gaming companies will join them and suspend their sales in Russia.

On March 9, 2021, @PlayStation tweeted: an image full of text and the PlayStation logo. It said:

“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine. We have suspended all software and hardware shipments, the launch of Gran Turismo 7, and operations of the PlayStation Store in Russia.

“To support humanitarian aid, Sony Group Corporation announced a US$2 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international NGO, Save the Children, to support the victims of this tragedy.”

Previously, Eurogamer reported that Sony had quietly pulled PlayStation’s new blockbuster racing game Gran Turismo 7 from sale in Russia. Today, Sony officially announced they have suspended not only Gran Turismo 7, but also all software and hardware shipments in Russia. The tweet from @PlayStation makes it official.

The Washington Post reported that the announcement by Sony proceeded its scheduled State of Play broadcast, which contained few new reveals.

According to The Washington Post, Sony hedged in its initial show announcement not to expect any updates about its next-gen virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR2, or games for that hardware; instead, the 20-minute broadcast stuck to PlayStation titles slotted for the 2022 and 2023 release calendars, most of which had been previously shown.

CNBC reported: Sony’s decision is one of the industry’s most significant moves yet. The company has the biggest presence in Russia of any console maker, according to industry insiders.

According to CNBC, “PlayStation has the largest installed base, so if a company on the console side has a particularly hard choice from a financial angle, it’s Sony,” Lewis Ward, head of gaming at research firm IDC, recently told CNBC.


Game Companies are Halting Sales in Russia and Belarus



Several gaming companies have halted sales of their games in Russia and Belarus. Those decisions could be in response to tweets posted by Ukranian Vice Prime Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Federov, who requested that gaming companies to leave the Russian market, and to block the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and games in esports.

Microsoft posted information titled “Microsoft suspends new sales in Russia” on the Microsoft On the Issues blog. President & Vice Chair, Brad Smith, wrote (in part): “We are announcing today that we will suspend all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia. In addition, we are coordinating closely and working in lockstep with the governments of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and we are stopping many aspects of our business in Russia in compliance with governmental sanctions decisions.”

Electronic Arts (EA) posted (in part) “We have made the decision to stop sales of our games and content, including virtual currency bundles, in Russia and Belarus while this conflict continues. As a result, our games and content will no longer be available for purchase in our Russian region storefront on Origin or the EA app, including through in-game stores. We are also working with platform partners to remove our titles from their stores and stop the sale of new in-game content in the region.”

Electronic Sports FIFA tweeted (in part) “…In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian National Team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile, and FIFA Online. We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games…”

The Verge reported that, according to a Google-translated version of the message, Nintendo stated: “Due to the fact that the payment service used in Nintendo eShop has suspended the processing pf payments in rubles, Nintendo eShop in Russia is temporally placed into maintenance mode.”

CD PROJEKT Red tweeted: (in part) “In light of the Russian military invasion of our neighboring country of Ukraine, until further notice, the CD PROJEKT Group has made the decision to halt all sales of our games to Russia and Belarus. Today, we begin working with our partners to suspend digital sales and cease physical stock deliveries of CD PROJEKT Group products, as well as all games distributed on the GOG platform, to the territories of Russia and Belarus”…

Eurogamer reported that Sony “quietly pulls PlayStation’s new blockbuster game Gran Turismo 7 from sale in Russia.” According to Eurogamer, Sony has not formally announced that game’s removal. GT7’s Russia store page now displays the text “Release date pending confirmation”.


Ukrainian Government Asks Game Companies to Cut Off Russia



The Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted: from his verified account calling on Xbox and PlayStation to leave the Russian market. The tweet includes a screenshot of an official looking longer statement.

Mykhalio Federov tweeted: “You are definitely aware of what is happening in Ukraine right now. Russia declare war not for Ukraine but for all civilized world. If you support human values, you should live the Russian market.”

Here is a piece of the statement, which was directed to all gaming companies and esports platforms:

…I am sure that you will not only hear, but also do everything possible to protect Ukraine, Europe, and finally, the entire democratic world from bloody authoritarian aggression – and I appeal to temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts, temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarius.

We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression…

In another tweet, Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted: “@riotgames @EA @Ubisoft Gameloft @wargaming_net Right now russian troops are bombing Ukranian cities and killing Ukrainians. Please help us stop this. Close your offices in russia! There’s no place for aggressor on the global technological map!”

I find this interesting for several reasons. First of all, it isn’t common for government officials to call on gaming companies to close their offices in Russia via a couple of tweets. That said, I suppose that a person with the title “Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation in Ukraine” would be quite adept at using Twitter in this way.

Secondly, there is something to be said about the wrath of angry gamers! Unfortunately, some gamers, who decide they do not like something that was added to – or removed from – a video game, take to Twitter to complain about it to the game developers. Sometimes, they tweet rage directly at the company that makes that particular game.

One vivid example of this happened in-person at BlizzCon in 2018, after a group of Diablo players learned that Diablo Immortal would only be on phones or tablets, not on PC. They booed the people on the stage who announced it, mostly because that group of gamers only played on PC and were expecting the announcement of a highly anticipated Diablo game on PC.

If all of the gaming companies chose to follow through on Mykhalio Federov’s request, by closing their offices in Russia, preventing Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers from esports, and cancel their conferences, – there will definitely be some immediate pushback.


Sony PlayStation Store will Discontinue Movie and TV Purchases



The ability to purchase movies and TV shows on PlayStation is coming to an end, according to a post made on the PlayStation Blog. This change will not happen immediately, but you may want to prioritize the TV show or movie you had been considering buying and watching on your PlayStation.

The post on the PlayStation Blog was written by Head of Video Business, SIE, Vanessa Lee:

At SIE, we strive to provide the best entertainment experience for PlayStation fans, and that means evolving our offerings as customer needs change. We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles. With this shift in customer behavior, we have decided to no longer offer movie and TV purchases and rentals through PlayStation Store as of August 31, 2021.

When this change goes into effect, users can still access movies and TV content they have purchased through PlayStation Store for on-demand playback on their PS4, PS5 and mobile devices. We thank our fans for their continued support, and we look forward to further enhancing the entertainment experience on PlayStation.

Variety reported that Sony first launched video rentals and sales in the PlayStation Store in July of 2008, having inked distribution pacts with major studios. According to Variety, Sony is shutting down its digital video store after double-digit growth in the sector in 2020 amid the pandemic. Variety stated that Sony said it is exiting the transactional VOD (video-on-demand) business because it sees more PlayStation users adopting free and subscription streaming-services.

To me, that makes sense. It will be hard for Sony to compete with Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, The Criterion Channel, IMDB TV and more. In my opinion, Sony will do well to stick to video games – especially ones that are exclusive to PS4 or PS5. Diablo II Resurrected will be playable on both of those consoles, and has plenty of fans of the series anxiously awaiting its release.


Sony Launches Digital Presence for CES 2021



Sony, heading into its 50th year as an exhibitor at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), announced details of its digital participation in the upcoming 2021 online event. The company will showcase its innovations as a Creative Entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology at this year’s digital-only event, January 11-14, 2021.

Sony encourages CES 2021 attendees to join the live press conference and presentations on the official CES platform, and all are also invited to engage with the free, publicly available content on Sony’s own digital platform “Sony Square”. Members of the media can access and download additional CES-related resources and materials from Sony on the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) website or on Sony Square at the following sessions:

January 11th, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. PST Accessible on the CES site and Sony Square live
Sony Digital Press Event featuring Chairman, President and CEO of Sony Corporation Kenichiro Yoshida and top executives from Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment, Global insights from Sony.

January 12th, 10:4 – 11:15 a.m. PSTAccessible on the CES site live, and also on demand on Sony Square shortly

“Sony Electronics of North America Announcements” Spotlight Session – This is a “Can’t Miss” event that will break down all major news and updates you need to know, shared directly by Sony Electronics executives. North American senior executives presenting will include: Mike Fasulo, President and COO; Neal Manowitz, Deputy President, Imaging Products Solutions of America; Dunja La Rosa, Head of Sales, Home Entertainment and Sound; Mark Hanson, Vice President, Technology and Business Innovation, Sony Semiconductor Solutions of America; moderated by Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility. Look for highlights on television, audio, artificial intelligence, sensors, 5G, mobility, accessibility and social justice.

January 13th, 9:15 – 9:45 a.m. PSTAccessible on the CES site live, and also on demand on Sony Square shortly

Sony Spotlight Session “When CSR Aligns with Consumer Values” – Session will unpack the confluence between a business’ ROI and CSR, while exploring how cognitive diversity drives better societal and customer outcomes, with insights from the following industry leaders:
– NPD Group CEO Karyn Schoenbart (@karynschoenbart)
– Co-Founder of SeaLegacy and President of Only One, and Alpha Female Cristina Mittermeier (@cmittermeier)
– Sony Music Group EVP of Philanthropy and Social Impact Towalame Austin (@TTowalame)
– Sony Electronics Inc. President and COO Mike Fasulo (@MikeFasulo)
– Sony Electronics Inc. Head of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Cheryl Goodman (@Ckgoodman)


PlayStation Announced PS5 will Launch in November



Sony announced that PlayStation 5 will launch in November. The price starts at $399 for the PS5 Digital Edition and $499 for PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-Ray Disc Drive. This puts PlayStation 5 at a slightly higher price than Microsoft’s Xbox Series S, which is priced at $299.

Starting on November 12, PS5 will be available in seven key markets: the U.S., Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The global rollout will continue on November 19 with launches throughout the rest of the world, including Europe, Middle East, South America, Asia and South Africa.

Preorders will be available starting today at select retailers. Sony recommends you check with your local retailer.

Sony is offering two types of consoles so players can choose if they want a digital-only experience, or a disc-based version. Both offer the same breathtaking next-gen gaming experiences.

Both models come with the same custom processor, with integrated CPU and GPU for high-fidelity visuals, including 4K graphics and ray-tracing support, as well as the same ultra-high-speed SSD with integrated I/O for lighting fast loading. PS5’s 3D audio and the DualSense Wireless Controller will also provide the same heightened sense of immersion on all PS5s.

Kotaku reported that Sony clarified that the trailer claiming that Demon Souls would be coming to PC and “other consoles” was a mistake. It will only be available on PS5. Other PS5 exclusive games include Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Moralas, and Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War.

As always, there will be a group of players who only play video games on PC who will be angry that they need to buy a PS5 for some games – or miss out on them. Those who enjoy playing video games on PC, consoles, and phones/tablets, are likely to be more receptive to Sony’s decision to make some games exclusive to PS5.


Sony Announced $250 Million Investment in Epic Games



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.