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Beleaguered Sony counting on new game machine

AP  |  Tokyo 

PlayStation stands out among the long list of famous brands as one that hasn't faded or succumbed to a nimbler competitor.

Months after hitting global markets, the latest version of the video-game console went on sale in Tokyo, a big shift from times when was ascendant enough to launch flagship products in first.

The PlayStation 4's much awaited arrival in Corp.'s home market is the first time did not get a major Sony game machine ahead of other markets.

With much riding on the PS4's success, the commercial advantages of targeting overseas markets outweighed the sentimental pull of a home town launch.

The PS4, Sony's first video-game console in seven years, went on sale in the US and in November. A small but enthusiastic crowd of about a dozen fans, some in game-inspired costumes, attended a midnight countdown ceremony in Tokyo.

More than 80,000 people watched a live Web broadcast of the event, at the Sony Building in Tokyo's Ginza district. Most Japanese consumers will be picking up their machines at stores around the nation.

Sony officials say more time was needed to prepare game software attractive for Japanese, but analysts say wasn't a priority for Sony's game division.

"I have made you all wait for so long," Hiroshi Kawano, Sony's chief of its game business in Japan and Asia, said before handing the console to the first customer in Japan.

The PS4 has proved a hit so far, selling 4.2 million units worldwide last year, outpacing rival Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox One at 3 million.

But analysts say Sony, headed to a 110 billion yen (USD 1.08 billion) loss for the fiscal year ending in March, needs more than a successful game console to reverse its dimming fortunes.

First Published: Fri, February 21 2014. 22:29 IST