Sony's PlayStation 4 brings second-screen app for iOS, Android

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Sony Corporation took the wraps off its long-awaited PlayStation 4 gaming console Wednesday, bowing to the mounting threat posed by mobile gaming by promising a second-screen app optimized for devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.

Sony will roll out PlayStation 4 later this year; the exact release date and pricing details are unknown. The electronics giant also supplied few details of the forthcoming PlayStation App, but said it will enable gamers to access their smartphone or tablet to view maps during an adventure game or remotely watch friends engaging in battle. 

PlayStation 4 also integrates streaming technology enabling PlayStation Vita handheld owners to remotely play PS4 games on the go. "We see PS Vita as the ultimate companion device for PS4 and it's our long-term vision to make most PS4 games playable on PS Vita, so you can bring your favorite games from the big-screen TV to your PS Vita over Wi-Fi," Sony said. In mid-2012, Sony acquired cloud-based gaming service Gaikai for a reported $380 million, and insiders say Sony has made significant investments to incorporate Gaikai's technology into the PlayStation platform.

PlayStation 4 additionally boasts Dualshock 4, a new controller including a touchpad as well as camera enabling users to capture gameplay images and videos and share them to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Consumers may also broadcast gameplay in real time via the Ustream platform. 

"Playstation 4 ... really connects every device in the office and the smartphone and the tablet out there in the world," Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, told Reuters.

An estimated 211.5 million American consumers play videogames across all platforms, according to NPD Group data published last year. Console manufacturers like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) once dominated the gaming landscape, but the emergence of mobile devices and hundreds of thousands of bargain-priced games has dramatically transformed the economics of the segment: Mobile gamers now account for 22 percent of the total U.S. gaming market, up 9 percentage points year-over-year, and represent the largest demographic segment within the national gaming audience. At the same time, sales of new titles, consoles and videogame accessories at U.S. retail stores have contracted every month for more than a year, NPD adds.

"[PlayStation 4] looks good and has a lot of great games but the industry is different now," Billy Pidgeon, an analyst at Inside Network Research, told Reuters. "It'll be a slow burn and not heavy uptake right away."

For more:
- read this PlayStation Blog entry
- read this Reuters article

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