Lionsgate has promoted Thomas Hughes, a sign, the company says, of how much importance it places on emerging online and alternate video-delivery platforms. As EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution, Hughes will oversee sales and distribution efforts in on-demand and digital video, including more than 25 digital retailers, mobile platforms and multichannel video providers. He’ll be reporting to Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s President of Worldwide TV & Digital Distribution, and continue to work closely with international TV exec Peter Iacono on global digital and VOD markets. Hughes had been SVP Worldwide Digital, and previously served under Packer at MGM as VP Worldwide Digital. Among his notable projects at Lionsgate has been the pioneering day-and-date releases of Arbitrage and Margin Call on VOD and in theaters.
Consumer Electronics Show Gets A 2015 Date
CES, the mammoth electronics confab that overruns the Las Vegas Convention Center and so much of the rest of that city each year, has set its dates for 2015. The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the show, says it will be run from JAnuary 6-9. For more info or to get signed up really, really, really early, go to CESweb.org. The CES site for the event already has info for hotel rooms, registration, and so much else. No link to the site for orthopedic walking shoes you’ll need after hiking across … Read More »
Sony’s PS4 videogame console will get a new game-playing cousin in the U.S. and Canada this fall, the PlayStation TV, a $99 video device that can play older PlayStation and PS Vita games on a TV set with a standard Sony game controller. A bundle including the device, a controller, an HDMI cable, a memory card and a voucher for the Lego Movie game will cost $139. It will also be able to play the next installment of Disney’s massively successful Infinity hybrid game, which uses physical figurines to unlock a variety of different kinds of game play, when that launches early next year. The PlayStation TV, under a slightly different name, has been available in Japan previously.
It was announced at Sony’s big pre-E3 presentation tonight to media and analysts, but it could lead to a much wider reach for Sony’s PlayStation platform in North America by giving access to many games from Sony’s PS Vita handheld platform, plus the upcoming PlayStation Now service that will provide access to hundreds of older games from previous PlayStation consoles. The device’s launch in the U.S. also thrusts Sony into the already crowded race with Apple, Roku, Google, Amazon and others selling inexpensive Net-enabled devices that can bring new kinds of content to a dumb traditional TV screen. The difference for Sony may be the access the new device will provide to a deep library of hundreds of older video games, which also will become available over the coming months on all of Sony’s existing game devices as well. You can watch just the part of the two-hour announcement focused on the PlayStation TV here:
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Sony’s PlayStation video game console is the latest digital platform to enter the original programming space. Its first show will be hourlong drama Powers, based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. The series will be produced by PlayStation sibling Sony Pictures TV, where the project had been gestating for awhile and went through several incarnation at FX, including a pilot. Powers for PlayStation represents a brand new take on the source material, penned by Charlie Huston. Returning auspices include Circle of Confusion as well as Bendis, Oeming and Michael Dinner who will executive produce with Huston and Remi Aubuchon (Falling Skies), along with Circle of Confusion’s David Engel, David Alpert and Lawrence Mattis. Huston and Aubuchon will serve as showrunners. Combining the genres of superhero fantasy, crime noir and police procedural, Powers, whose order is said to be around 10 episodes, is set in a world full of people with superhuman abilities and where all of those powers are just another catalyst for mayhem and murder. The series follows Detective Christian Walker, who is in charge of protecting humans like us and investigating cases involving the God-like men and women, referred to as “powers,” who glide through the sky on lightning bolts and fire and who clash above cities in epic battle, oblivious to the mortals below. No start date is set yet for … Read More »
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
PlayStation Group CEO and president Andrew House told a press event at the big GamesCon conference in Germany today that the company’s next-generation game console, the PS4, will be released November 15 in North America and two weeks later in Europe. The release date was the last significant unknown about the PS4, which had been substantially unveiled in June, just before the E3 game convention in Los Angeles. The new console will be priced at $399 in the United States, 399 euros in Europe and 349 pounds in the UK. The company already has had more than 1 million pre-orders of the new machine, House said. It also unveiled a program with game companies Ubisoft, Warner Bros, EA and Activision that will allow buyers of the next installments of several top franchises who buy a version for the current PlayStation 3 to upgrade to a digital copy of the PS4 version of the game for “a significantly discounted price,” House said. “We see this as a way to reward PS3 gamers for their loyalty,” House said.
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Just a week after a splashy but criticized debut at E3, Microsoft has backed off controversial policies for its upcoming Xbox One game console that had clouded its chances against Sony’s competing PlayStation 4. Don Mattrick, who heads Microsoft’s Xbox unit, posted a blog entry saying the company had heard from many gamers and, “You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world.” Read More »
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Sony’s big annual pre-E3 media briefing Monday night set up a potentially brutal price competition with Microsoft’s next-gen game console this holiday season, with the PlayStation 4 costing $100 less than the Xbox One. As predicted, Sony also touted more of the PS4’s entertainment capabilities than it did in an initial unveiling event in February, even inviting Sony Entertainment Chairman Michael Lynton onstage for the first time. Lynton promised enhanced video and music programming on the PlayStation Network online service, with content tailored for gamer interests.
“Sony Pictures will do everything in our power to drive the success of the PlayStation 4 by developing programming with gamers in mind and providing access to incredible content,” Lynton said. The Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited services will launch the same day as the PS4. Sony also will add the Flixster online movie service to the PlayStation Network later this year, joining apps there for such streaming services as Netflix and Hulu. Read More »
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
The long-anticipated successor to the PlayStation 3 videogame console will come with vastly improved online video streaming capability for Netflix and other entertainment companies. PlayStation 3 is already Netflix’s biggest delivery platform, Sony executive Andrew House noted, but the PS4 has been designed and built to handle those tasks better. The console will also have built-in social-media sharing, video creation and cloud computing, all built on a powerful backbone that should keep costs down and improve user and content developer experience, or so Sony says. The company also announced new partnerships with Facebook and video-streaming company Ustream, and promised new or expanded partnerships with entertainment companies to deliver movies, TV shows and other, more-traditional content. Read More »
I’m told that Sony is indeed sounding out cable programmers including Discovery, NBCUniversal, and News Corp to see whether they’re willing to cut deals to have their shows streamed to Sony devices such as PlayStations and Blu-ray players. The Japanese tech and entertainment giant is thinking about a model that would resemble Amazon’s with its new Kindle Fire tablet: It might cut the price of the devices, and count on subscription payments to make up the lost revenues. But nothing is imminent. And the feeling is that The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news about Sony’s plans this morning, pushed too hard on the possibility that the tech and entertainment giant might end up with a full-fledged rival to cable TV. Sony has raised the idea with programmers of offering channels live, just as they’d appear on cable. Insiders tell me, though, that there’s only a remote possibility that Sony will make much headway with that idea — except perhaps with minor networks that have few carriage deals. They consider it significant that Sony is telling programmers that it is open to creating a more conventional subscription VOD service like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung have also been sniffing around to see what programming they can offer via the Internet, and on what terms. Meanwhile, pay TV companies are working on TV Everywhere deals so they can stream shows to subscribers’ digital devices. Read More »
Sony said this morning that Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and the security breach of its PlayStation Network, wreaked havoc with the company’s earnings. The electronics giant will report a $3.2 billion loss for the fiscal year that ended in March — a far cry from the $855 million profit it forecast in February. In addition, Sony says that it expects to take a $1.8 billion hit in the current fiscal year from the earthquake as well as a $171 million loss from its PlayStation problems. The cost of the cyber-attack could end up much higher. Sony says that its estimate does not account for potential losses from lawsuits or regulatory inquiries. Much of the total loss for the year that ended this past March comes from a $4.4 billion charge that accounting rules require Sony to record immediately, once the company recognizes that some of its assets have lost value. The charge “has no impact on cash flow, nor on Sony’s view of its long-term corporate strategy,” CFO Masaru Kato says. Still, he says that Sony’s “supply chain was significantly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami,” and that power outages in Japan “are also affecting our operation.” Sony says it delayed its financial report for the just-ended fiscal year by two weeks so it can evaluate the extent of the damages. Sony will release its full earnings statement for the year on Thursday.
Sony’s admission that its PlayStation Network and Qriocity on-demand TV service have been compromised by a lone computer hacker is “a significant short-term blow” for the company, Michael French, editor-in-chief of games trade magazine MCV tells me. It is believed to be one of the biggest-ever security breaches of the Internet. Qriocity, which launched in the U.S. in April 2010, uses the same log-in details as PlayStation Network, says Informa analyst Andrew Ladbrook. Sony’s on-demand movie service has been rolled out to Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. “It will affect people’s download purchases in the long-term. This is a big setback for the service,” says Ladbrook. Around 800,000 pieces of content – including Hollywood movies – are downloaded each day via PlayStation. Around 20 million people use PlayStation online in the U.S, either playing games or watching films. Sony has sold 14 million PlayStation 3 consoles in the U.S. It has taken a week for Sony, which is part of Sony Corp, to come clean and admit to its 77 million PlayStation Network users worldwide that the online network has been hacked. Credit card details may have been stolen. Sony learned of the breach on April 19 and immediately shut down the network. Users have been badgering Sony for details for the past week. The Japanese tech giant said that “an illegal and unauthorised person” has obtained people’s names, addresses, email address, passwords and more. Apart from company embarrassment, … Read More »