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Sony is believed to be developing the PlayStation 4, based on comments at the company's earnings call.  (Source: AP Photo)

Sony has received permission to turn on the PlayStation Network in Japan.  (Source: Sony)
Company is trying not to let security issues bring it down

Sony Corp. (6758) was left struggling in the wake of falling victim to arguably one of the largest theft of customer data in world history.  The company first experienced a near complete loss of information from its two largest customer databases -- the PlayStation Network (PSN) database and the Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) database.  This week, five of its international sites for its various units fell prey to SQL injection attacks (affectionately nicknamed the "Little Bobby Tables" attack) [1] [2] [3].

I. PSN Asia Returns

After restarting PSN in the U.S. Tuesday and rolling out identity theft protection, as promised, to U.S. customers, Sony is now preparing to take another significant step in its recovery effort, restarting the PSN in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.  The services will turn back on sometime this Saturday.

The restart in Japan is especially significant symbolically, as Sony was embarrassed when its home nation's government refused to allow its primary console gaming service to restart.  The company apparently did enough to placate government regulators, who were concerned that Sony wasn't doing enough to protect customer privacy.

Makiko Noda, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman said her company has turned to "more advanced" security technologies including network activity and vulnerability monitoring software.  She says the company plans to fully restore its downed networks by the end of May.

Sony is confident it will pay only $2 USD per lost record from its various web properties.  That's less than 1 percent of the average payout of $318 USD per lost record (including class action lawsuit settlements) that was the average in 2010.  And in recent years the cost of data lost has tended to increase by a factor of 1.5 each year.  Clearly Sony is hoping for some sort of miracle to save it financially from loss of business internationally and class action lawsuits from disgruntled former customers.

II. PS4 Development Starts

Perhaps hoping to redirect public conversation in a more positive direction, Sony CFO Masaru Kato dropped a hint in his company's earnings call that a successor to the PlayStation 3 is in the works.

He comments:

For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life, but this is a platform business, so for the future platform – when we’ll be introducing what product I cannot discuss that – but our development work is already under way, so the costs are incurred there.

Sony emphasized in filings that the development costs and financial losses for the tsunami overshadowed losses from the data breaches -- although the possibility remains strong that Sony is seriously underestimating those costs.

Analysts believed that the successor -- broadly referred to as the "PlayStation 4" -- wouldn't come out for a couple years.  But with Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (7974) reportedly preparing to announce the successor to its best-selling Wii console, code-named "Project Cafe", at E3 next month, Sony may find itself forced to bump up its production schedules.

Sony currently sits solidly in third place in the console race, behind market leader Nintendo and second place Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), makers of the Xbox 360.

Lost amid the recent hacking chaos has been an equal serious slowing in sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 console and PlayStation Portable handheld.  While sales totals for these consoles' lifetimes are no flop (no Sega Saturn or Sega Dreamcast, that is), the slow in recent months have been troublesome.

It took Sony eight months to sell 8 million units of its motion-sensing accessory PlayStation Move.  By contrast, Microsoft reached this mark in only two months with the Kinect.

Little is known about the next generation PlayStation.  But it will likely incorporate motion-sensing technology deeply.  And hopefully its networks will be better secured.



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Bring it...
By TheRequiem on 5/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bring it...
By StevoLincolnite on 5/27/2011 1:15:55 PM , Rating: 3
Consoles with 4k resolutions? Doubtful any time soon.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 don't actually have many games that are rendered at 1080P, heck even some games are rendered at sub 720P levels. (They use up-scaling however, but it's still not as good as being rendered in 1080P.)

Not to mention that not many consumer TV's really support that resolution... And the current focus seems to be on 3D Televisions sets and not higher resolutions.

If you *really* (And I must stress *really*) wish to game at say... 7680x3200 or higher resolutions with AA and AF with the best possible image quality... Look no farther than a Windows PC and 6x 30" screen, Eyefinity set-up. :P


RE: Bring it...
By Flunk on 5/27/2011 1:47:00 PM , Rating: 3
I'm fairly certain he was being sarcastic.


RE: Bring it...
By retrospooty on 5/27/2011 2:09:17 PM , Rating: 3
I highly dowbt it will do anything over 1080p , simply beacsue that is where TV's are stuck at. However, 1080p with 4xAA and far far FAR higher resolution textures than the current Ps3 and Xbox offers will look awesome.


RE: Bring it...
By quiksilvr on 5/27/2011 3:57:35 PM , Rating: 1
I'm pretty sure 4K support will be coming. PS3 had 1080p support well before 1080p became mainstream and look at it now.


RE: Bring it...
By BansheeX on 5/28/2011 3:03:47 AM , Rating: 5
You're... out of your freaking mind. Essentially every 3d game released for major consoles today is 720p or lower. Televisions that do higher than 1080p don't exist and we JUST switched to that after 50 years of 480i. Film at 1080p looks real if not for the 24fps framerate. That tells you that resolution is not the limitation right now, it's polygons and physics. All raising resolution past 1080 would do is slaughter the framerate for extremely meager visual returns.


RE: Bring it...
By DanNeely on 5/27/2011 2:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
Even that's not really possible. 5760x1200 is a struggle for current triple GPU configurations (driver problems for both ATI and nVidia have resulted in quad GPU not being a productive option even for those with money to burn).


RE: Bring it...
By seraphim1982 on 5/27/2011 2:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Actually check some of the benches on HARDOCP.
The ati solution really kicks some ass at that resolution WITH AA, but anyways even with a triple or quad solution, it would be too price restrictive.


RE: Bring it...
By MrTeal on 5/27/2011 2:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Even if it wasn't price limited, it would be thermally limited. 3xGTX580 is way too much heat to fit in anything console shaped.


RE: Bring it...
By TheRequiem on 5/27/2011 2:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I think you're all wrong. At the very minimum, we are at least two years out until the next-gen and I wasn't be too sarcastic, look at Sony's PS3, it was way ahead of i's time, albeit with a high price tag. However, 4k TV's will be launched next year and are already available, in case you haven't been following manufcaturer trends recently, the new thing is high DPI or PPI. Whichever you'd like to call it, I am fairly certain the high PPI TV screens and tablet screen that were recently shown off have tangibility to them and will be a definate reality and soon.

It's an evolution of tech that will be backwards compatible with 1080p in order to increase sales and keep innovation and momentum going in TV sales, this is ahgue duh, 3D won't keeps sales going forever. You also have receivers coming out that can already upscale to 4k, not to mention that every single cinema film is filmed in at least 4k these days. 4k TV's are a reality and they'll be here soon in large portions. Sony and Microsoft have to think ahead on their next-gen tech, if 4k TV's start pouring out in 2 - 5 years (and I guarantee every manufacturer will introduce them next year at CES, watch.) You can guarantee they'll support 4k. They will have to if they want to sell their consoles for a long life term again. Even though it might be price restrictive in the beginning, it falls as manufacturing becomes cheaper and they release smaller units. This happens almost every cycle now. The next consoles are rumoured to be extremely powerful, multi-cores, next-gen graphics not even available yet, gb's of ram, etc. Think about it, it's not a hard concept.


RE: Bring it...
By TheRequiem on 5/27/2011 2:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
My damn browser back-pedaled on me after I corrected my spelling errors (I type fast), sorry, ignore the error's...


RE: Bring it...
By DanNeely on 5/27/2011 3:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
For most TV's anything above 1080p is a waste because the screens aren't big enough for how far the average user sits for the DPI to be low enough to make pixelation visible. An iPhone4 at 1 foot and a 60" 1080p panel at 8 feet have pixels of the about same angular size (they look just as big due to perspective).


RE: Bring it...
By TheRequiem on 5/27/2011 3:18:07 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, however, who doesn't want higher resolution? They know its just another marketing ploy to get us to buy tvs again. I personally just prefer they mass market amoled screens already.


RE: Bring it...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2011 3:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
look at Sony's PS3, it was way ahead of i's time


How so??


RE: Bring it...
By TheRequiem on 5/27/2011 4:30:54 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if you look at the time it was announced, blu-ray was not really an accepted format yet and for awhile it was the cheapest blu ray player you could buy in the year it came out. It was actually probably the single largest reason blu-ray became mainstream. If ps4 comes with 4k, it too, will most likely become mainstream and would be something they would likely do since they make tv's and will likely follow suite with lg and samsung when they launch their high ppi sets in the coming next few years. They're able to push "innovation"" and technology together, it makes sense since because then multiple divisions are pushed at the same time to make the most dollars.


RE: Bring it...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2011 5:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sony created Blu-Ray though. I don't see how having the same company push a format on their own device makes it "ahead of it's time". If that's the case, the 360 was ahead of it's time too for supporting HD DVD, it wasn't an accepted format either.

quote:
it was the cheapest blu ray player you could buy in the year it came out.


Only because of Sony's market manipulation. If you want to make a set top Blu-Ray player, you have to pay Sony tons of licensing fees and other hidden fees. Sony, obviously, doesn't have to pay those fees themselves to make a PS3.

I don't know man. I still don't see the PS3 as being revolutionary or ahead of it's time. In many areas it's a step backwards. Their online suite still pales in comparison to Xbox Live, almost 10 years after it's debut.


RE: Bring it...
By FITCamaro on 5/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: Bring it...
By jonmcc33 on 5/27/2011 6:12:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Yes the Cell processor was different. But it wasn't vastly more powerful than anything else.


Actually, if coded properly for it, the Cell is much more capable than the Xenon. The problem is the game developers that merely port a game for multiple consoles. But games made specifically for the PS3 look quite amazing for the tech inside.

quote:
It would have been stomped by the Intel/AMD CPUs of the time in anything but media encoding/decoding tasks.


You are comparing x86 processors to PowerPC processors? Really?

quote:
The GPU was/is less powerful than the 360s GPU.


Moot point as you cannot adjust detail settings in console games anyway.


RE: Bring it...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2011 6:47:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Moot point as you cannot adjust detail settings in console games anyway.


How does that make it a moot point? I'm really failing to understand how the lack of adjustable settings means the power of a GPU to render high quality graphics smoothly doesn't matter.

I have seen the framerate on the PS3 tank in certain situations. Maybe with a better GPU that wouldn't happen.


RE: Bring it...
By cmdrdredd on 5/28/2011 8:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There was nothing "ahead of its time" about the PS3. Blu-ray was out. Granted not highly adopted. But that was the point of the PS3 having Blu-ray. To push it. The rest of the hardware was unremarkable compared to the competition. Yes the Cell processor was different. But it wasn't vastly more powerful than anything else. It would have been stomped by the Intel/AMD CPUs of the time in anything but media encoding/decoding tasks. The GPU was/is less powerful than the 360s GPU. A standard built-in hard drive was nothing new. Built in wireless was nice but nothing revolutionary.


Sure maybe for a PC what the PS3 had built in wasn't special. However, for a console it came with a lot that no other console did previously. To deny that is to become retarded, but then I remembered it's you and you are retarded.


RE: Bring it...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/28/2011 6:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
Except the argument isn't what "previous" consoles brought. Beating last generations hardware doesn't make yours "ahead of it's time" now does it?


RE: Bring it...
By FaceMaster on 5/27/2011 4:31:54 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Holographic Video


You mean holographic DVDs? Maybe you just mean 3D. Oh wait, that's below.

quote:
Better 3D


I agree with you here. But I think it's more a problem of 3D monitor adoption rates than anything else. (Plus the limited power of this gen's consoles when HD meets 3D)

quote:
Extreme HD (4k)


I'd be happy with just proper HD, instead of 720p.

quote:
Unreal 4 tech demo


EHHHH why is everybody going on about this? It's the Unreal Engine 3 with some new features, and in all honesty I don't see what's so special about it any way, it seems like the blurry contrasty-coloured mess that the Unreal 3 has been doing so well for so long already.


and why not
By Uncle on 5/27/2011 1:11:00 PM , Rating: 2
"Company is trying not to let security issues bring it down" And why not. If they have a security issue they should be brought down. I still haven't read anywhere about any guarantees that it won't happen again. So maybe sony shouldn't be asking for any info from their consumers that could be stolen especially CC#.etc etc.




RE: and why not
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2011 1:15:31 PM , Rating: 4
Nobody can "guarantee" they won't be hacked. Any system can theoretically be exploited. Making that guarantee would be the dumbest move they could possibly make. Because then THEY would be on the chopping block for making claims they couldn't back up.


RE: and why not
By Uncle on 5/27/2011 1:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Making that guarantee would be the dumbest move they could possibly make." So what your saying is that if a customer hands over their personal info CC#etc etc."would be the dumbest move they could possibly make."


RE: and why not
By MrWho on 5/27/2011 2:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly.


RE: and why not
By Reclaimer77 on 5/27/2011 2:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? NOBODY makes guarantees like that. Not even financial institutions who do nothing but handle your credit card info. It's impossible to "guarantee" you won't be hacked or compromised in today's age. Stop making me repeat myself and LISTEN.


Wait a second....
By 4745454b on 5/27/2011 11:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But with Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (7974) reportedly preparing to announce the successor to its best-selling Wii console, code-named "Project Cafe", at E3 next month, Sony may find itself forced to bump up its production schedules.


So because Nintendo is finally bringing the Wii up to similar standards as the PS3 and 360, that's going to push Sony to release the PS4 sooner? I don't buy that at all. I'm pretty sure Sony and MS are looking at each other to decide when to do something, Nintendo only comes in as an afterthought. (and by that I mean what they can "steal" and add to their consoles next.) If Wii2/cafe launched tomorrow or next month, I doubt anything would change for the PS4/720 (or whatever its called).




RE: Wait a second....
By cmdrdredd on 5/28/2011 8:40:17 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
So because Nintendo is finally bringing the Wii up to similar standards as the PS3 and 360, that's going to push Sony to release the PS4 sooner? I don't buy that at all. I'm pretty sure Sony and MS are looking at each other to decide when to do something, Nintendo only comes in as an afterthought. (and by that I mean what they can "steal" and add to their consoles next.) If Wii2/cafe launched tomorrow or next month, I doubt anything would change for the PS4/720 (or whatever its called).


Bingo! The Wii is generations behind the PS3 and 360 in terms of capability. The next Nintendo console won't even bring itself even to the PS3 or 360 in that way. Nintendo says it's going to be HD, but doesn't give any details. Hopefully we will know more, but with the 360's prominent XboxLive and the PS3's Media capabilities there's almost no room for a "look, I have netflix too" console. Besides, a great many developers are a bit skeptical of Nintendo because of it's past history dealing with third party developers. They are neglected while Sony and Microsoft have embraced the third party devs and given them a lot of assistance.


RE: Wait a second....
By RussianSensation on 5/29/2011 11:57:54 PM , Rating: 3
It's impossible for the Wii2 to be slower than Xbox360 or PS3. Xbox360's GPU is slightly more powerful than the RSX in PS3 but it still only has 48 SPs.

The Wii2 is rumoured to have an R700 based GPU.

The slowest discrete R700 series is the HD4350 with 80 SPs.

It's far more reasonable that the Wii will have something as powerful as the HD4650/4670 with 320 SPs. So it will most certainly mop the floor with PS3 or Xbox360. Of course none of this matters since Sony and Microsoft will have their own consoles out shortly thereafter.


RE: Wait a second....
By Slaimus on 6/2/2011 6:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the 360 GPU has 48 VILW5 units, so it is actually 240 "shaders" if you count it that way.


By jabber on 5/30/2011 7:06:48 PM , Rating: 2
...then the tech that goes into it will be mainly whats mid-range tech now. Thats becuase they have to plan ahead to launch time 2013/14 and by that time that tech will cost $10 a box rather than the current $85.

There will be a few custom bits here and there but I bet the tech for all the current next gen consoles has already been chosen or is in plan.

Say probably a custom/tweaked AMD 5770 GPU for the 360 etc.

The GPUs will only have to be specced up to 1080p so the money will go into the effects which I reckon will be more software based this time round.




By jabber on 5/30/2011 7:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
When I say 360 I mean the 360's replacement.


By dananski on 6/1/2011 10:58:14 AM , Rating: 2
That would be absolutely typical. I bought a 7900GT just before the PS3 came out (7800-based RSX) and now I have a 5770 for my PC before the next generation even gets close. I don't know if it'll be worth getting a new console if they can't keep up with the PC technology.


True Entertainment!
By TheDoc9 on 5/27/2011 2:17:04 PM , Rating: 3
Reading the almost daily news reports of Sony's data breaches is like watching a classic 90's sci-fi B movie, I love it!




misleading at best
By cmdrdredd on 5/28/2011 8:36:38 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Sony currently sits solidly in third place in the console race, behind market leader Nintendo and second place Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), makers of the Xbox 360.


This is misleading. This takes into account systems that sit on the shelf collecting dust from 4 years ago. That's not truly how the market is working now. Software sales...last week the top 4 games were on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. The PS3 also outsold the Wii Worldwide last week. In Japan the top 7 games are not on the Wii, most are on handheld systems. The PS3 sales are double the Wii sales in Japan too. This despite Sony losing money and admitting fault for losing people's info to hackers. Last week, the best selling console was the PS3, followed by the Wii and the 360. Systems that go unused don't matter any. Those gamers are obviously not buying games if you look at the sales.




By BugblatterIII on 5/27/2011 3:28:44 PM , Rating: 2
You mean they went a day without being hacked? Did they even manage that?




Console specs
By Arrhythmia on 5/29/2011 2:38:19 PM , Rating: 2
The main thing consoles could do with at this point in time would be more RAM (by a magnitude of 6-8X) and greater tessellation capabilities. Core count, I'm not so sure...devs still have issues with threading to this day.




Odd Playstation 4 was in development 2 years ago.
By LeeKay on 5/27/11, Rating: -1
By Mithan on 5/27/2011 12:53:17 PM , Rating: 3
Developers dont have PS4 units on hand so stop spreading BS.


By makots on 5/27/2011 4:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
They need a revamped GPU with DirectX 11 or better support. The developers are probably getting tired of using the old DirectX 9 based engines out there. It is time for the next wave of game graphics.


"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton














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