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  • Subject area(s): Engineering
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  • Published on: 7th September 2019
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  • Number of pages: 2

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Sony was originally founded in 1947 as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation in Tokyo, Japan by Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. The company name was changed to Sony, a combination of the Latin word Sonus and the 1950’s term sonny boy, in 1958, although they had already been using the name for branding purposes for three years. [1]

Located in Foster City, California, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) was established in May 1994 as Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and was headed by Steve Race. Soon afterwards, Martin Homlish, a Sony Electronics veteran, took over the position due to Race’s unexpected resignation in August of 1995. One month later, SCEA introduced the PlayStation to the United States. It took four long years to develop, but it permanently changed the gaming industry. In the first weekend, over 100,000 units were sold. In six months, one million PlayStations had been sold.

When Sony began its worldwide restructuring in 1997, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. was reestablished as a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI).  In November of 2000, the PlayStation 2 was introduced, outperforming its predecessor and further altering the future of the industry. Chairman of SCE, Shigeo Maruyama, was replaced by Tamotsu Iba as Chairman in July, 2002; while Jack Tretton and Phil Harrison were also promoted to Senior Vice President of SCE.

In November, 2006 President of SCE Ken Kutaragi was appointed as Chairman of SCE while Kazuo Hirai, President of SCEA was promoted to President of SCE. As technology progressed, further improvements were made to the PlayStation system. A newer generation of the console, the PlayStation 3 (PS3), was introduced on November 17, 2006. This product was revolutionary to the gaming world. The PS3 used a combination of cell and RTX processors, a Blu-ray player, and a pre-installed hard disk drive in order to provide users with an immersive and all-encompassing experience.[2] Also released in November of 2006 was access to the PlayStation Network (PSN). Through PSN, customers could access an online store with a large library of games, movies, and music; play online games with a community of more than 90 million registered users; and access a multitude of streaming services. PSN also offers PlayStation Plus, a subscription service that provides users with a library of free games and weekly discounts and exclusives.[2]  The PSN changed the PS3 from a simple gaming console to a home entertainment system capable of meeting the needs of a larger customer base.

In April, 2007 Ken Kutaragi resigned from his position and passed on his duties as Chairman of SCE and Group CEO to President of SCE, Kazuo Hirai. In 2010, SCE was restructured to bring its mobile electronics and personal computers divisions together. As the original SCE was then dissolved, the North American branch of Sony Computer Entertainment was affected by the restructure and remained as SCEA. Sony Computer Entertainment CEO and Sony Corporation EVP, Kaz Hirai, was leading the department. Andrew House became the president and group CEO of SCEI in September 2011 and Jack Tretton became President and CEO of SCEA.

Following the success of the PS3, SCEA released their fourth major console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4), on November 15, 2013. Unlike the PS3 with its reliance on cell processors, the PS4 system utilizes a powerful custom chip and state of the art graphics processor to ease game creation and improve the content available on the platform.[3] With the release of the PS4 also came a focus on creating a fully interactive and interconnected online community. Building upon the PlayStation Network available with the PS3, the PS4 offers many innovative new functions, such as the SHARE button, which allows players to broadcast their gameplay in real-time using online streaming services such as Ustream and Twitch.tv, and the ability to play a game while it is being downloaded. The PlayStation 4 also adds new functionality to Sony’s handheld console, the PlayStation Vita. Through these functions, players can interact with each other in new ways by actively commenting on each other’s activities and joining online gameplay seamlessly.

Responsible for keeping the PlayStation brand growing and thriving in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, (SCEA) continued to redefine interactive consumer entertainment. Other ground-breaking products and services produced by SCEA include PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Mobile.

In the spring of 2005, Sony’s first handheld console, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), was released in the U.S. market. By utilizing a new proprietary optical storage medium known as Universal Media Disc (UMD), the PSP can store both games and movies.[4] Two years later, SECA released the first major hardware revision of the PlayStation Portable, the PSP-2000. In 2008, a second hardware revision called the PSP-3000 reached the U.S. The 3000 series included several features that were not present in its predecessors, such as a built-in microphone and upgraded screen, as well as the ability to output PSP games in interlaced mode. The biggest redesign of the PSP is the PSP Go, which was first released in 2009. The PSP Go is currently being produced and sold concurrently with the PSP-3000.[5] After purchase, customers can not only “play games but also can watch movies and TV series, load up music and photos, stay connected with friends, play online and update the system with new downloads from the PlayStation Store using the PSP system’s built-in Wi-Fi.”[6]

Codenamed “Next Generation Portable” (NGP), the PlayStation Vita (PSV) was launched in the U.S. Market in 2012.[7] It features a 5 inch OLED touch screen and dual analog sticks along with more than 900 games available for download. Sony believes that the PSV will bring the greatness of PlayStation to its customer’s digital lifestyle. With features like remote play and cross-platform purchases, the gaming experience continues even when the TV is not available; this “makes the PS Vita system the perfect companion device to the PS4 system.” The PlayStation Vita can control the PS4 through the Remote Play application or act as a second screen for gameplay purposes. Beside these features, customers can also “search funny videos, check friend's status (through various social media), watch favorite TV show and movies, and stream music” on the PSV system.[8]

The PlayStation Mobile, which formerly was PlayStation Suite, opened in the United States in 2012.[9] It is a software framework that provides certified devices, such as Android-based devices as well as the PlayStation Vita, with downloadable PlayStation content. Working with several top hardware manufacturers, including Sony/Sony Mobile Communications, HTC, ASUTek, Wikipad, Fujitsu, and Sharp, Sony Computer Entertainment strives to “provide assurance to its customers that the mobile device they use is optimal for playing PlayStation Mobile games.” These games were developed specifically for the PlayStation Mobile Platform by established game companies, small indie teams, and even one-man shops. All games are “cross-buy” and consumers can download a game on up to three PlayStation certified devices with a one-time purchase fee. Availability of games varies from region to region.[10] Currently, about 70 games are available on U.S. PlayStation Mobile platform.

In April of this year, Sony restructured SCEA and SCEI into one new, U.S. based company named Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), which is currently based in San Mateo, California.

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