Sony Computer Entertainment

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Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Interactive entertainment
Computer and video games
Founded November 16, 1993 (1993-11-16)
Headquarters Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Products Games consoles
PlayStation
PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Portable
PlayStation Vita
Employees 8,000[1]
Parent Sony Corporation
Subsidiaries SCE America
SCE Europe
SCE Japan
SCE Worldwide Studios
Gaikai
Sony Online Entertainment
Website www.scei.co.jp/index_e.html

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI) (Japanese: 株式会社ソニー・コンピュータエンタテインメント) is a Japanese multinational video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony. The company was established on November 16, 1993 in Tokyo, Japan, prior to the launch of the original PlayStation video game system.

Sony Computer Entertainment handles the research and development, production, and sales of both hardware and software for the PlayStation line of handheld and home console video game systems. It is also a developer and publisher of video game titles and is composed of several subsidiaries covering the company's largest markets: North America, Europe and Asia. SCE's largest workforce is in the United States and has 8,000 employees in more than 50 countries.[1] The company as of November 2014 has sold more than 425 million consoles.

History[edit]

1993–2004: Establishment, PlayStation release, North American expansion[edit]

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. (SCEI) was jointly established by Sony and its subsidiary Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 1993 to handle the company's ventures into the video game hardware market.[2] The original PlayStation (PSone) console was released on December 3, 1994, in Japan.[3]

The company's North American operations, Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA), were originally established in May 1995 as a division of Sony Electronic Publishing.[4] Located in Foster City, California, the North American office was originally headed by Steve Race.

In the months prior to the release of the PSone console in Western markets, the operations were restructured: All videogame marketing from Sony Imagesoft was folded into SCEA in July 1995, with most affected employees transferred from Santa Monica, California, to Foster City.[5] On August 7, 1995, Race unexpectedly resigned and was named CEO of Spectrum HoloByte three days later.[5] He was replaced by Sony Electronics veteran Martin Homlish.[5] The PS console was released in the United States on September 9, 1995.[3]

As part of a worldwide restructuring at the beginning of 1997, SCEA (currently Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC) was re-established as a wholly owned subsidiary of SCEI.[6]

The launch of the second PS console, the PlayStation 2 was released in Japan on March 4, 2000,[7] and the U.S. on October 26, 2000.[8]

On July 1, 2002, Chairman of SCEI, Shigeo Maruyama, was replaced by Tamotsu Iba as Chairman. Jack Tretton and Phil Harrison were also promoted to Senior Vice Presidents of SCE.[9]

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) was SCEI's first foray into the small handheld console market. Its development was first announced during SCE's E3 conference in 2003, and it was officially unveiled during their E3 conference on May 11, 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in Europe and Australia on September 1, 2005.

2005–2011: SCE Worldwide Studios, Acquisitions, Restructure[edit]

On September 14, 2005, SCEI formed Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SCE WWS),[10] a single internal entity to oversee all wholly owned development studios within SCEI. It became responsible for the creative and strategic direction of development and production of all computer entertainment software by all SCEI-owned studios—all software is produced exclusively for the PS family of consoles. Shuhei Yoshida was named as President of SCE WWS on May 16, 2008,[11] replacing Kazuo Hirai, who was serving interim after Harrison left the company in early 2008.[12]

On December 8, 2005, video game developer Guerrilla Games, developers of the Killzone series, was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS.[13] On January 24, 2006 video game developer Zipper Interactive, developers of the Socom series, was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS.[14]

In March 2006, Sony announced the online network for its forthcoming PlayStation 3 (PS3) system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo, Japan,[15] tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform" and eventually called just PlayStation Network (PSN). Sony also stated that the service would always be connected,[16] free,[17] and include multiplayer support.[18]

The launch date for the PS3 was announced by Hirai at the pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo conference held at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, U.S., on May 8, 2006. The PS3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2013, and the U.S. date was November 17, 2006.[19] The PSN was also launched in November 2006.[20]

On November 30, 2006 President of SCEI, Ken Kutaragi, was appointed as Chairman of SCEI, while Hirai, then President of SCEA, was promoted to President of SCEI.[21] On April 26, 2007, Ken Kutaragi resigned from his position as Chairman of SCEI and Group CEO, passing on his duties to the recently appointed President of SCE, Hirai.[22]

On September 20, 2007, video game developers Evolution Studios and BigBig Studios, developers of the MotorStorm series, were acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS.[23]

On April 15, 2009, David Reeves, President and CEO of SCE Europe, announced his forthcoming resignation from his post. He had joined the company in 1995 and was appointed as Chairman of SCEE in 2003, and then President in 2005.[24] His role of President and CEO of SCEE would be taken over by Andrew House, who joined Sony Corporation in 1990.[25] The PSP Go was released on October 1, 2009, for North America and Europe, and on November 1, 2009, for Japan.

On April 1, 2010, SCEI was restructured to bring together Sony's mobile electronics and personal computers divisions. The main Japanese division of SCEI was temporarily renamed "SNE Platform Inc." (SNEP) on April 1, 2010, and was split into two divisions that focused on different aspects: "Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.", consisting of a 1,300 employees who focused on the console business, and the network service business consisting of 60 to 70 employees. The network service business of SCEI was absorbed into Sony Corp's Network Products & Service Group (NPSG), which had already been headed by Hirai since April 2009. The original SCEI was then dissolved after the restructure.[26][27][28]

The North American and European branches of SCEI were affected by the restructure, and remained as SCEA and SCEE. Hirai, by that time SCEI CEO and Sony Corporation EVP, led both departments.[29]

On March 2, 2010, video game developer Media Molecule, developers of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) game LittleBigPlanet, was acquired by SCEI as part of its SCE WWS.[30] On August 23, 2010, the headquarters of the company moved from Minami-Aoyama to the Sony City (Sony Corporation's headquarters) in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo.[31]

On April 20, 2011, SCEI was the victim of an attack on its PlayStation Network system, which also affected its online division, Sony Online Entertainment. On August 1, 2011, video game developer Sucker Punch Productions, developers of the Sly Cooper and Infamous series, was also acquired.[32]

2012–present: Closures, PlayStation 4, China expansion[edit]

On January 2012, BigBig Studios was closed and Cambridge Studio—renamed Guerrilla Cambridge—becoming a sister studio of Guerrilla Games.[33][34] On March 2012, Zipper Interactive, developers of the Socom series, Mag and Unit 13, was closed.[35] On June 25, 2012, Hirai retired as chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment; however, he remains on the board of directors.[36]

On July 2, 2012, Sony Computer Entertainment acquired Gaikai, a cloud-based gaming service.[37] On August 2012, Sony Liverpool developer of the Wipeout and Formula One series was closed.[38]

A press release was published on August 20, 2013, announcing the release date of the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console. On that date, SCEI introduced the CUH-1000A series system, and announced the launch date as November 15, 2013, for North American markets and November 29, 2013, for European, Australian, New Zealand Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Peru markets.[39]

Following a January 2014 announcement by the Chinese government that the country's 14-year game console ban would be lifted, the PS4 is scheduled to be the first Sony video game console to be officially and legally released in China since the PlayStation 2—the ban was enacted in 2000 to protect the mental health of young people.[40][41]

On March 6, 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO, Tretton, announced he was resigning from his position at the end of the month, citing a mutual agreement between himself and SCEA for the cessation of his contract. Tretton had worked at SCEA since 1995, and was a founding member of the company's executive team. He was involved in the launch of all PlayStation platforms in North America, including the PSone, PS 2, PS Portable, PS 3, PS Network, PS Vita, and PS 4. Tretton was replaced by Shawn Layden, who was the vice-president and chief operating officer (COO) of Sony Network Entertainment International, effective April 1, 2014.[42]

Sony’s deal with the Chinese government was finalised in May 2014. Hirai said afterward:

The Chinese market, just given the size of it, is obviously potentially a very large market for video game products ... I think that we will be able to replicate the kind of success we have had with PS4 in other parts of the world in [China].[43]

As imported consoles are still not permitted by Chinese law, Sony has partnered with Chinese media corporation Oriental Pearl Group, which has established two joint ventures in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ): one for hardware, and the other for software and services.[44] By September 2014, the PS4 had sold over 13 million units globally, making it the PlayStation model with the fastest sales rate in the history of the console.[45]

The beta version of Sony's first-ever cloud-based television service, PlayStation Vue (PSVue), was aired in the U.S. in November 2014. It was only offered on an invite-only basis for PS3 and PS4 users, prior to its official launch in early 2015. Sony signed deals with major networks, including CBS, Discovery, Fox and Viacom, so that users can view live streaming video, as well as catch up and on-demand content, from more than 75 channels, such as Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. Although pricing and release dates for other regions was not publicized, Sony confirmed that PSVue will eventually be available on iPad, followed by other Sony and non-Sony devices.[46]

After Microsoft’s XBox One launch on the Chinese mainland in September, the details of Sony’s PS launch plans surfaced in the Chinese media in December, with January 11, 2015, announced as the date of release.[47][43] The 20th anniversary of the original PS console was celebrated on December 6, 2014, with the release of a limited-edition, anniversary-edition PS4.[3]

On December 11, 2014, Roger Sheng, research director at tech research firm Gartner, informed Reuters media in relation to SCEI's 2015 entrance into the Chinese market, "The Chinese censor will be Sony's biggest challenge". Sheng expects that China's censorship regime will limit the number of video game titles for Chinese PS4 users initially, as official approval is required for all software before it can be sold in China, and, reportedly, approvals can take a long time.[45]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Former SCEA headquarters in Foster City, California.

The President, and Group CEO of SCE is currently Andrew House, replacing Kaz Hirai, who himself had replaced longtime CEO Ken Kutaragi, also known as "The Father of the PlayStation".[48] Kutaragi officially retired from his executive position at SCE on June 19, 2007, and now holds the title of Honorary Chairman at the company.[49] Shawn Layden and Jim Ryan currently serve as President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, respectively. In June 2011, it was announced that Kaz Hirai was to become Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment and Andrew House to become President and Group CEO as of September 1, 2011.[50]

Headquarters[edit]

SCE currently has three main headquarters around the world: Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. & Sony Computer Entertainment Japan Asia) which control operations in Asia; San Mateo, California, US (Sony Computer Entertainment America) which controls operations in North America; and London, United Kingdom (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) which controls operations in Europe and Oceania. SCE also has smaller offices and distribution centers in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, US; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; and Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

Game approval[edit]

SCE evaluates and approves games for its consoles. The process is more strict than for the Nintendo Seal of Quality, and developers submit game concepts to Sony early in the design process. Each SCE unit has its own evaluation process; SCEE, for example, approved Billy the Wizard for its consumers but SCEA did not. The company sometimes imposes additional restrictions, such as when it prohibited PlayStation 1 and 2 games from being ported to the PSP without 30% of content being new to the Sony console.[51]

Hardware[edit]

Main article: PlayStation
PlayStation brand logo

PlayStation[edit]

SCEI produces the PlayStation line of video game hardware that consists of consoles and handhelds. Sony's first wide home console release, the PlayStation (codenamed "PSX" during development, currently "PSone"), was initially designed to be a CD-ROM drive add-on for Nintendo's Super Nintendo Entertainment System (a.k.a. "Super Famicom" in Japan) video game console, in response to the Sega Mega-CD. When the prospect of releasing the system as an add-on dissolved, Sony redesigned the machine into a standalone unit.

The PlayStation was released in Japan on December 3, 1994 and later in North America on September 9, 1995.[3] By the end of the PS console's 12-year production cycle, Sony registered sales of 102 million units.[52]

PlayStation 2[edit]

SCE's second home console, the PlayStation 2 (PS2) was released in Japan on March 4, 2000, and later in North America and Europe in October and November 2000, respectively. The PS2 is powered by a proprietary central processing unit, the Emotion Engine, and was the first video game console to have DVD playback functionality included out of the box.

The PS2 consisted of a DVD drive and retailed in the U.S. for US$299.[53] SCEI received heavy criticism after the launch of the PS2 due to the games released as part of the launch, difficulties that it presented for video game designers, and users who struggled to port Sega Dreamcast games to the system.[7] However, despite these complaints, the PlayStation 2 received widespread support from third party developers throughout its lifespan on the market.

On December 28, 2012, Sony confirmed that it would cease production of the PS2 through a gradual process that started in Japan—the continuing popularity of the console in markets like Brazil and India meant that PS2 products would still be shipped, while games for the console were released in March 2013. Up until the beginning of December 2012, the PS2 was the best-selling home video game console in history, with a total of 153.68 million machines sold—it was eventually surpassed by the Nintendo DS console.[7][52]

Writing for the ExtremeTech website at the end of 2012, James Plafke described the PS2 as revolutionary and proclaimed that the console "turn[ed] the gaming industry on its head":

Aside from being the “first” next-gen console, as well as providing many, many people with their first DVD player, the PlayStation 2 launched in something of a Golden Age of the non-PC gaming industry. Gaming tech was becoming extremely sophisticated ... Sony seemingly knew the exact route toward popularity, turning the console with the least powerful hardware of that generation into a juggernaut of success.[53]

PlayStation Portable[edit]

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) was SCEI's first foray into the small handheld console market. Its development was first announced during SCE's E3 conference in 2003, and it was officially unveiled during their E3 conference on May 11, 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in Europe and Australia on September 1, 2005. The console has since seen two major redesigns, with new features including a smaller size, more internal memory, a better quality LCD screen and a lighter weight.

PlayStation 3[edit]

The launch date for the PS3 was announced by Hirai at the pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo conference held at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, U.S., on May 8, 2006.The PS3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2013, and the U.S. date was November 17, 2006. Technology journalists observed that Sony had followed what Microsoft did with the Xbox 360, and produced the PS3 in two versions: one with a 20GB hard drive and the other with a 60GB hard drive.[54]

The PS3 utilizes a unique processing architecture, the Cell microprocessor, a proprietary technology developed by Sony in conjunction with Toshiba and IBM. The graphics processing unit, the RSX 'Reality Synthesizer', was co-developed by Nvidia and Sony. Several variations of the PS3 have been released, each with slight hardware and software differences, and each denoted by the varying size of the included hard disk drive.

PSP Go[edit]

The PSP Go was released on October 1, 2009, for North America and Europe, and on November 1, 2009, for Japan. It has a 3.8" LCD which slides up to reveal the main controls. The PSP Go is 45% lighter and 56% smaller than the original PSP and does not support UMD. The device supports Bluetooth and is completely digital, which means that all media must be downloaded or transferred to the device (16 GB of internal flash memory).

PlayStation Vita[edit]

The PS Vita is the successor to the PlayStation Portable. It was released in Japan and other parts of Asia on December 17, 2011,[55] and then in Europe, Australia and North America on February 22, 2012.[56][57]

Internally, the Vita features a 4-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4-core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.[58][59]

PlayStation 4[edit]

The PS4 was announced as the successor to the PS3[60] and was launched in North America on November 15, 2013,[61] in Europe on November 29, 2013 [62] and in Japan on February 23, 2014.[63]

Described by Sony as a "next generation" console, the PS4 included features such as enhanced social capabilities, second-screen options involving devices like the handheld PlayStation Vita, a membership service and compatibility with the Twitch live streaming platform.[64]

Following a January 2014 announcement by the Chinese government that the country's 14-year game console ban would be lifted, the PS4 is scheduled to be the first Sony video game console to be officially and legally released in China since the PlayStation 2—the ban was enacted in 2000 to protect the mental health of young people.[40][65] Around 70 game developers, including Ubisoft and Koei, will service Chinese Playstation users.[44]

The Chinese release dates and price details were announced in early December, with January 11, 2015, confirmed by SCEI. The makers announced that both the PS4 and Vita consoles will be released in China, and the former's package will also consist of a 500GB hard drive and controller.[66]

PlayStation 20th anniversary[edit]

The 20th anniversary of the original PS console was celebrated on December 6, 2014, with the release of a limited-edition, anniversary-edition PS4. The model was manufactured in the PS color scheme, and features the classic PS circle-cross-square-triangle symbols on its casing. The pre-order details for the 12,300 anniversary machine were delivered at the PlayStation Experience fan expo in Las Vegas, U.S.[3]

Software development studios[edit]

Asia

North America

Europe

First Party (SCE WWS)

Asia

North America

Europe

Second Party

Asia

North America

Europe

Third Party

First Party Studios

Second Party Studios

Third Party Studios

Closed

Owned franchises and properties[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]