Sony Powers Up PlayStation and Virtual Reality at E3

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E3, the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, is underway in Los Angeles, with one brand already making noise with major announcements: Sony. 

Its presentation, featuring the anticipatory tagline “Greatness Awaits,” was both a games extravaganza and consistent attack on Microsoft’s Xbox One. Sony Computer Entertainment president and group CEO Andrew House went out of his way to point out that playing on the PS4 means getting “the highest visual quality” and that games “look better” on the Sony system, according to TIME

Beyond a slew of new and updated games for the PS4, Sony had a few hardware items to show off including PlayStation TV, which is now available in Japan and is coming this fall to North America and Europe.

Essentially a rebranding of Vita TV, the $99 PlayStation TV will “let you play Vita games as well as original PlayStation classics, let you stream games from your PS4 to a second TV and offer access to PlayStation Now, Sony’s PS3 games-streaming service, which Sony says will be available in open beta on the PS4 in the US and Canada beginning July 31.”[more]

Sony also announced that it will debut its own original programming for TV this December with Powers, a graphic novel-turned-live-action-TV-series that Sony will air on all PlayStation networks, and for free for PlayStation Plus subscribers. The announcement follows rumors that Microsoft’s Xbox Live will debut its own programming as well.

The most intriguing bit of hardware, though, was the introduction of the Project Morpheus virtual-reality headset. As TechRadar notes, Sony kind of “breezed by” Morpheus in the presentation, but it was announced that two new demos of the product were available to be tested on the show floor, following an appearance on The Tonight Show where Jimmy Fallon and friends tested out the device.

This new virtual reality product will pit Sony directly against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, which purchased the VR outfit Oculus Rift earlier this year for $2 billion.

Sony hopes its latest string of announcements can help change its most recent financial course. In May the company announced that it forecasted its sixth loss in seven years. The TVs and computers that once made Sony such a player aren’t as in-demand anymore, so it is trying to shift its reliance on those products to new sectors, especially gaming. 

But Sony isn’t the only game-maker trying to hold its place in the ever-changing industry. Nintendo’s digital presentation at E3 included one major gaming announcement: the introduction of Nintendo’s Amiibo interactive figures, which look and function much like Disney’s Infinity and Skylanders platforms.

Debuting this upcoming holiday season, Amiibo figures will initially work in tandem with the brand’s Wii U gaming system for Super Smash Bros. and other upcoming games, but said it is developing an Amiibo peripheral for the Nintendo 3DS as well. 

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