Shu Yoshida: The man who puts Sony back on top

JapanTOKYO, Feb 23 — “How many people came for video games?” asks a keynote presenter at Sony Corp.’s PlayStation bash in Las Vegas last December. The crowd roars. “And how many came to give Shu Yoshida a hug?” The roar gets even louder.  The man in question is an unlikely celebrity. Short and bespectacled, the 50-year-old Shuhei Yoshida is president of Sony’s worldwide game studios. What he’s done to draw such affection is champion some of the biggest hits in the business and prove people will pay US$70 (RM255) for top-notch titles even in a world with thousands of free smartphone games.

Sony China To Cut Employees In Local Offices

ChinaSony (China) Ltd., which sells TVs and digital products, will implement a large-scale layoff across China that mainly targets regular employees in local offices. According to reports in Chinese local media, Sony has over 40 subsidiaries and offices in 13 regions in China, including Beijing, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Xi’an.

Sony’s new mid-range smartphone promises more power to more people

JapanAlthough the Mobile World Congress doesn’t officially get underway until March 2, Sony has decided to unveil its first new smartphone of 2015, the affordable Xperia E4, several weeks early.  It’s all very well dazzling potential customers with specs relating to processor speeds, RAM and internal storage, but for the majority of consumers, the most important criteria when choosing a smartphone are battery life, screen size and camera quality.

HTC and other vendors to launch non-Android Wear smart devices

apac 2Although Sony Mobile Communications, LG Electronics, Motorola Mobility and Asustek Computer have launched Android Wear-based smartwatches, Samsung Electronics, HTC and some China-based makers are likely to release comparable models running on their own platforms initially, according to industry sources.

Sony Mobile to use more MediaTek smartphone solutions, say sources

JapanSony Mobile Communications will increase its purchases of handset solutions from MediaTek for production of entry-level and mid-range smartphones in 2015, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain. Sony Mobile is also expected to maintain cooperation with a number of Taiwan-based handset ODMs, including Foxconn/FIH Mobile, Compal Electronics and Arima Communications.

Singtel to start Netflix competitor in Asia with Sony Pictures, Warner Bros

SingaporeSingapore’s leading telco Singtel has announced today that it will launch an online streaming video service in Asia. It’s a joint-venture with Sony Pictures and Warner Bros, and will bring Hollywood movies, television series, as well as local programming to audiences in Indonesia, India, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Spotify to replace Sony streaming music service

JapanSTOCKHOLM: Swedish music streamer Spotify will provide the soundtrack for Sony devices, the companies said on Wednesday (Jan 28), spelling the end to the streaming music service from the Japanese tech giant that invented the Walkman. The deal – which makes the Swedish startup the exclusive provider for Playstation Music and Sony’s smartphones and tablets – sees the companies link up in 41 markets.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai open to selling mobile, TV businesses: Sources

LAS VEGAS: Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai has weathered a crisis over a cyberattack on its Hollywood studio and its controversial comedy “The Interview”, but his toughest moment may be just arriving as he prepares a new business revival plan. After failing to turn around the storied creator of the Walkman since taking the helm in April 2012, Hirai and his deputies are now open to options including sales and joint ventures for its money-losing TV and mobile phone operations, company officials familiar with the leadership’s thinking say.

Region-free console gaming is not going to happen in China. Period.

Last week, news broke that unlike Microsoft’s Xbox One, the Playstation 4 and PS Vita would not be region-locked when they were released in China this week. I was away on paternity leave, but with one eye on the baby and one eye on the news, I was surprised to see that a lot of gaming media outlets ran the story. My gut response was that there was no way it could be true.

Sony Pictures CEO Claims Hack Will Be Covered By Insurance

Sony Pictures chief executive Michael Lynton has spoke on the cyberattack, seven weeks after it started, claiming there won’t be any financial loss. The statement comes as a surprise, considering Sony Pictures had to replace most of its computers, buy new security teams and software, and potentially fight court battles against ex-employees. However, Lynton claims insurance will help cover the major costs for the Sony Pictures attack, which could ramp up to over $100 million in costs.

Sony Delays PS4 Launch in China

Sony is already a little late to the Chinese video game console party, considering Microsoft has been selling the Xbox One in the region for more than two months, albeit to mixed success. It looks like the PS4 will be delayed even further, following an intervention by the Chinese government, asking for adjustments to the gaming console. “The government asked us for final adjustments, which will take some time, so we decided to delay the launch date,” Sony spokeswoman Kaede Bun said.

‘Sloppy’ Sony hackers exposed own IP addresses

FBI Director James Comey said on Wednesday that hackers behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures provided key clues to their identity by sometimes posting material from IP addresses used exclusively by the North Korean government. The hackers, who called themselves ‘Guardians of Peace’ sometimes “got sloppy” and failed to use proxy servers that would hide their identity, Comey said at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York.,sloppy-sony-hackers-exposed-own-ip-addresses.aspx

Sony’s PS4 Passes 18.5 Million Sales

Sony has announced another milestone for its PlayStation 4 console, following 4.1 million sales throughout the holiday season, or 18.5 million sales in total. The announcement came at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas, where CEO Kaz Hirai offered the first sales update since late September 2014. Holiday season for Sony starts on November 23-24 and ends on January 3-4, depending on the region. 4.1 million sales in that time is very impressive, considering Microsoft’s recent surge in Xbox One sales, following price reductions.

Tencent Becomes Exclusive Agent For Sony Music In Mainland China

Chinese Internet company Tencent and Sony Music Entertainment jointly announced a strategic cooperation agreement under which Tencent will exclusively manage Sony Music’s online music service in mainland China. No financial details of the agreement were released. Basing on the agreement, Tencent will recommend Sony Music’s artists on its QQ music streaming media website and other platforms.

White House approves sanctions against North Korea for Sony hack

U.S. President Barack Obama has authorized new economic sanctions against North Korea, in part for the country’s alleged hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment in November, the White House said. Even though some security researchers have questioned whether North Korea was behind the Sony hack, the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday announced sanctions against 10 North Koreans and three organizations in the country.

Sony tries to appease PlayStation users after Christmas outage

If you got a PlayStation 4 for Christmas but network outages spoiled your fun, Sony wants to make it up to you. Sony Computer Entertainment America will offer 10 percent off PlayStation Store purchases including games, TV shows and movies as a gesture of thanks for users’ patience following an outage of several days caused by denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

PlayStation Network back online after four-day outage

Sony worked to gradually bring its PlayStation Network back online on Sunday US time, after a fourth straight day of outages suspected to have been caused by hackers. The hacker activist group known as Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for disrupting both the PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live on Christmas Day. Service was restored to Xbox Live on Friday. “We are currently experiencing widespread network issues that are being addressed,” Sony said in a statement on PlayStation’s maintenance website.,playstation-network-back-online-after-four-day-outage.aspx

Hackers target Tor as PlayStation disruption continues

Hackers who apparently attacked Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) and Microsoft’s Xbox Live on Christmas Day have taken aim at anonymous network Tor. Lizard Squad, which claimed responsibility for the outage , on Friday tweeted, “To clarify, we are no longer attacking PSN or Xbox. We are testing our new Tor 0day.” While at least one site that maps the Tor network showed numerous routers with the name “LizardNSA,” the extent of any attack was unclear.

PlayStation Now Coming To Samsung Smart TVs

Sony is pushing to get PlayStation Now on as many devices as possible, partnering up with South Korean rival Samsung to push the game streaming service onto smart TVs. Users will be able to stream over 200 PS3 games on select Samsung smart TVs, similar to other supported devices. The only item Samsung smart TV owners need is a Dualshock 4 – the new PS4 controller – in order to play the titles. Sony has already made the service available on its own Bravia TVs, this is the first time a third party has been able to access to the game streaming service.

Sony ready to launch large-size tablet in 1H 2015

In addition to Samsung Electronics and Apple, Sony is also expected to launch a large-size tablet in the first half of 2015 and the device will enter mass production shortly, according to sources from the related supply chain. Sony’s above 12-inch tablet is expected to target mainly the high-end segment and its price may exceed US$1,000, the sources said. Although Sony has withdrawn from the PC market, it remains aggressive about the tablet product line, the sources noted.