Tag Archives: sony

A week ago, the idea of a Valve-designed games console seemed to be little other than a science fiction “what if?” scenario for bored games journalists. Today, it seems like it’s actually happening, in some form. There’s been no official word, but equally nothing that amounts to a denial from the company itself – and more and more sources are crawling out of the woodwork to say, yes, this is happening.

But what’s happening? It’s pretty obvious that Valve isn’t about to start building consoles. The company isn’t in the hardware business and has no plans to be in the hardware business, which it has (politely, politely) implied to be a bit of a mug’s game. Right now, Valve laughs its way to the bank by being the dominant distribution platform (with a tasty 30% cut, or thereabouts) on hardware which is made by someone else – which must inspire green-eyed jealousy at Microsoft, Sony et al, since these companies have to sell expensive hardware at a loss in order to get that kind of cut off software.

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Back at CES in January, the double-act of Sir Howard Stringer and Kaz Hirai announced something called the Sony Entertainment Network – a network service that would be the hub of the company’s efforts to serve music, movies and other content to customers online. Those who watch the gaming end of Sony’s business knew what was happening here – this is the long-expected expansion of the PlayStation Network, or PSN, to become the foundation of Sony’s online service ambitions.

It’s been long-expected, because up until this point Sony has proved completely incapable of leveraging its enviable position as both a leading consumer electronics manufacturer and one of the world’s biggest media companies, and has instead been completely outmatched by Apple’s iTunes and latterly by Amazon at every turn. Much as PlayStation is about the only successful bit of Sony’s consumer electronics business right now, PSN is the company’s only remotely successful network service. Other services, like Sony Connect and Qriocity (which technically lives on, rebranded as SEN) have been embarrassing flops.

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