Japan media: Sony PS4 to go on sale this year

The electronics giant will release the new game console in time for the 2013 holiday season, according to local reports

Sony will launch its next-generation PlayStation game console this year in time for the holiday season, according to Japanese media reports.

The new console will use cloud-based gaming technology Sony obtained when it acquired Gaikai last summer, the Nikkei newspaper reported Thursday. Gaikai, located in California, runs services allowing gamers to play titles on their computers or game consoles that are hosted on remote servers.

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The new console will be called the "PlayStation 4" for now and will be on shelves by the end of the year, according to the Kyodo News agency. Sony will reveal the console at a press event due to take place later this month in New York City.

Sony will abandon the "Cell" processor it developed together with Toshiba and IBM for use in the current PlayStation 3, using a chip developed by a third party instead, the Nikkei said. Sony spent hundreds of millions developing the Cell, one reason its gaming division suffered through years of heavy losses after the launch of the console in 2006.

Last week, Sony's game division posted a cryptic video online along with the date Feb. 20. The video shows extreme close ups of the four symbols that appear on PlayStation controllers. The company also announced the press event, but a spokesman would only say it is "to talk about the future of the PlayStation business."

Sony's main rival in the home console business, Microsoft, is also thought be prepping for the release of a successor to its Xbox 360. Nintendo has struggled with the launch of its new Wii U console, which went on sale late year.

Home gaming consoles are increasingly being marketed as media centers for the home, with access to streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu. Sony has made its own network content business, branded the Sony Entertainment Network, a core focus as it goes through its current rebuilding phase.

In July of last year, Sony said it had agreed to acquire Gaikai for about US$380 million. The company said at the time it would use the purchase to deliver a "world-class cloud-streaming service" for its games and other content.

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