A new report from market research firm Gartner on Tuesday suggests global spending on the gaming ecosystem will exceed $74 billion this year, up 10.4% from 2010. Gartner also expects annual spending on video games to reach $112 billion by 2015. As the video game industry undergoes a transition that places a sharper focus on casual gaming, Gartner now includes the following in its definition of the “gaming ecosystem:” dedicated video game consoles; software for dedicated consoles; handheld dedicated video game consoles and software; PC gaming software; mobile game software, which includes games for smartphones, feature phones and tablets; and online casual gaming. Video game software sales alone will reach $44.7 billion in 2011 according to Gartner, and it will continue to represent the lion’s share of video game spending moving forward. “This large market size means that many consumers embrace gaming as a core piece of their entertainment budget and will continue to play as long as game publishers deliver compelling and fun games,” said Gartner research director Fabrizio Biscotti in a statement. Gartner’s full press release follows below. More →
Sony has officially dropped the suggested retail price of the PSP in Europe to €129.99 ($187.29). This follows the company’s February 25th announcement that it was slashing the price of its gaming system to $129.99 in the United States. Sony also said that — beginning on April 14th — PSP owners will be able to access an unlimited cloud-based music service called Music Unlimited. Powered by Qriocity, Music Unlimited will allow PSP owners to listen to customized music channels or sync up with tunes stored on their PlayStation 3, PC, or other Sony devices. “The price cut is aimed at increasing adoption of the player in Europe,” said Sony spokesperson Satoshi Fukuoka. The move may also be tied to the recent launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which we reviewed earlier this month. More →
Neither major announcement comes as much of a surprise, but Sony on Thursday unveiled its portable gaming strategy moving forward. Two key pieces of Sony’s mobile gaming future were finally made official: the company’s next-generation PSP, known for now as “NGP” or Next Generation Portable, and its cross-platform mobile gaming framework dubbed PlayStation Suite. The former features a 5-inch, 960 x 544-pixel OLED touchscreen display, two analog controllers, two touchpad control surfaces, two cameras, an electronic compass, GPS, Wi-Fi, integrated 3G connectivity and a quad-core processor. The handheld will launch this holiday season and it also features compatibility with the latter, Sony’s PlayStation Suite, which means a consistent experience across Sony’s upcoming new portable and compatible smartphones will be possible.
PlayStation Suite will consist of a mobile gaming platform and a store. Initially, the Suite will include an emulator that will allow first-generation PlayStation games to be played on Android devices, but an Android game store and new development platform are in the works. The offering will require Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later, and it will feature on-screen controls for devices that aren’t fortunate enough to include dedicated gaming controls like the upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, which was not announced at Thursday’s event. Hit the break for Sony’s full press releases pertaining to PlayStation Suite and the NGP.
Mirroring a Bloomberg report, which mirrored an MCV report, which mirrored earlier rumors, Reuters now reports that Sony plans to unveil its next-generation PlayStation Portable gaming device at an event on January 27th. The event, which will take place in Japan on Thursday, falls on the same day Nintendo is expected to report a 40% slide in its quarterly profits. Reuters reiterates that Sony’s new portable gaming device will feature a touchscreen display and integrated 3G connectivity. Reuters also notes that Sony’s PlayStation phone could be announced at the same event, though the electronics company mat opt to announce the smartphone next month ahead of Mobile World Congress. Earlier reports suggest that Sony’s gaming phone will launch as the Xperia Play, and will feature a PlayStation-branded gaming experienced built atop the Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform. More →
Sony is reportedly considering (yet again) the development of a new hybrid device that will combine the gaming features of its popular PlayStation portable gaming device with the functionality of a Sony Ericsson mobile phone. According to Nikkei Daily, the quintessential PlayStation phone will be developed by a new project team to be assembled in July. Rumors of a “PlayStation phone” have come and gone for more than two years now… Maybe Sony is so tired of hearing them that it will finally churn out a PS phone to shut everyone up.
With the E3 expo coming up in June, rumors of a refreshed PSP are surging once again. Now billed as yet another “iPhone killer”, chatter surrounding the possibility of a new PSP is reportedly firming up a bit with inside sources seemingly becoming more lose lipped lately. Current status of rumors: slider form factor, touchscreen, two analog thumbsticks in addition to standard controls, “far more similar to the iPhone than the current device” (whatever that means) and a release scheduled before Christmas 2009. No, it certainly won’t look like the sweet mock up above but the more rumors that get pumped into the mill lately, the more they’ve been lining up on common ground. Sony can definitely use the buzz a device like this would create, that’s for sure.
Gamers feast your eyes! We’re a few short days away from the official launch of the renovated PSP-3000 and the first unboxing images are upon us. We already know that the blazing new screen is tremendously better than the current model and now we know what the initial retail package has in store for us. The bundle shown above will ship complete with a 1 GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters and a copy of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. There is also an Entertainment bundle expected in November followed by the lone model which will be available sometime later this year with $30 shaved from the $199 bundle prices. Let’s all hope that the battery on this puppy is indeed no worse than the current model as Sony claims.
Hot off the press in China, a few pictures are currently working their way west that supposedly depict what will eventually be a new PlayStation Portable. There hasn’t been a huge amount of information about Sony’s upcoming third generation PSP, but these pics are actually pretty telling. Apart from the fact that the unit pictured is silver and pretty damn sexy, the top picture is of particular interest. To the left of the volume buttons is a restyled home button with the PlayStation logo on it. More interesting however, is what appears to be a built in microphone opening to the right of the volume buttons. Skype calls? Yes please. In-game audio chat? Sounds like a plan. The PSP 3000 case is also reportedly a bit thinner than the current model and includes some more restyled controls beyond the home key. According to the original source of the pics, Sony already has the new PSP in production and is shooting for a holiday release this year. Sony hasn’t commented yet and we’re pretty sure it won’t respond to leak-related inquiries. All the same, if we are looking at a holiday release then an official announcement should be coming up pretty soon.