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Sony brings the €2,499 Xperia PRO to European markets
by Paul Hill
Sony has announced the availability of the Xperia PRO smartphone in European markets including the UK, Germany, and the Nordic countries. The premium device which includes 5G and a dedicated HDMI input will set customers back a whopping €2,499.
With the dedicated HDMI input, users can connect their phone to a camera and use the 5G to stream content online from the camera. If shooting videos isn’t for you, the HDMI input can be used with the External Monitor feature which turns the device into a 6.5-inch 4K OLED 10-bit monitor.
The phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Mobile Platform chipset and it includes a 4,000mAh battery with support for fast charging. According to previous Neowin coverage, the phone comes packed with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 1TB with a microSD card.
Commenting on the launch, Tsutomu Sato, Director of Mobile Product Marketing at Sony Europe, said:
If you’re interested in picking up the Xperia PRO in the UK, Nordic, or German regions you can pre-order it today and have it shipped from May 10. As mentioned earlier, the device comes with a hefty €2,499 price tag but this may be something that professionals can justify if it fits their use case.
By Usama Jawad96
Epic offered to make Sony 'look like heroes' in exchange for enabling crossplay in Fortnite
by Usama Jawad
A couple of years ago, Sony found itself in hot water with gamers criticizing it for blocking crossplay even though developers were supporting it across Microsoft and Nintendo consoles as well as PC. This began with Minecraft in 2017, but extended to Rocket League and Fortnite, among other games. The official reasoning was around the lack of curation of online communities and how the PlayStation 4 is simply a superior experience and shouldn't be compromised by other platforms. Sony faced backlash not only from Microsoft but also from a former executive who claimed that the company is only blocking crossplay for money, which is "dumb". At Neowin, we wrote in length about why Sony's strategy should be for the players instead of for the business, but it wasn't until late 2018 that the company finally caved in to public demand and enabled crossplay in Fortnite.
Now, some confidential emails between Epic Games and Sony have confirmed that the reason that the latter was blocking crossplay primarily for financial reasons.
An email (pictured above) - procured by The Verge - from Epic’s vice president of business development Joe Kreiner indicates what Epic Games was offering in return for Sony enabling crossplay in Fortnite. This included a Sony-branded E3 appearance, an offer to make the company "look like heroes", exclusive items for PlayStation Plus, and an extension in Sony's company-wide Unreal Engine 4 license - which was about to expire in a few months -, among other things.
However, Sony refused to budge at all, with its senior director Gio Corsi responding that:
It's clear that Sony didn't see a financial and business benefit in enabling crossplay at that time, despite multiple incentives being offered by Epic Games.
While we don't know how the issues discussed in the email exchange progressed, there is another slide that may shed some more light on the matter. It indicates that crossplay partners will be forced to pay Sony a royalty to "offset the reduction in revenue" if their player base meets a certain baseline.
Simply stated, if the percentage of PS4 gamers and the share of total revenue they bring for the game is roughly equal and the latter is above 85%, no royalties need to be paid. But if there is a month where say, 95% of the player base uses PS4 but less than 85% of the total revenue is contributed by them, the developer will have to pay royalties to Sony according to a fixed formula. You can find more details in the slide below:
While this makes sense from a business perspective if you work at Sony, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney testified yesterday that Sony is the only company that demands this compensation for enabling crossplay. Other demands made by Sony also include a setting to disable all crossplay interactions, and a policy that stipulates that virtual currencies can't be transferred to and from PlayStation.
The case between Epic Games and Apple only kicked off yesterday, and as can be seen from the court documents in this article, it includes multiple other entities as well. It's likely we'll see dirty laundry from other companies being aired as the case progresses too.
Sony announces partnership with Discord to bring service to PlayStation Network
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Sony Interactive Entertainment has entered a partnership with Discord, the popular communications platform that boasts over 140 million monthly users. In an announcement, Sony president and CEO Jim Ryan revealed that the service will be integrated into PlayStation Network in early 2022.
"Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network," said Ryan in the Sony blog post. "Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year."
Going beyond Xbox's current Discord integration, which only allows linking and sharing what users are currently playing, Sony intends to allow the full suite of Discord features available on its own services, from groups to cross-platform communication. Speaking of Xbox, while not confirmed, there were reports of Discord rejecting an acquisition offer from Microsoft just last month.
The partnership has Sony investing in Discord as well, though exact amounts were not revealed today. "To bring these experiences to life for our players, Sony Interactive Entertainment has made a minority investment as part of Discord’s Series H round," added Ryan.
By Namerah S
Sony announces PlayStation 5 launch in China, beats Microsoft to it
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Today the Chinese arm of Sony finally announced the PlayStation 5 in mainland China. The latest gaming platform from the Japanese conglomerate is the first next-gen console to arrive in the region. This means that Sony has effectively beat Microsoft to the race in China.
Currently, the next-gen Xbox Series X|S is not available in the world's most populous country. It is likely that Microsoft will follow in Sony's footsteps and bring its next-gen console to the Chinese market at some point. No official word is out yet though, so the world will have to wait for the events to unfold.
Chinese sales of the PlayStation 5 are scheduled to kick off on May 15. The PS5 variant with the disc drive will be priced at ¥3899 ($602) and the all-digital PS5 will cost ¥3099 ($479). The prices are significantly higher than the U.S. ones, where the former is priced at $499 and the latter at $399.
Pre-orders for Sony's next-gen console and games for the platform have gone live in China. The PlayStation 5 games for the region can be found on the Chinese PlayStation Store.
By Namerah S
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart centered State of Play set for April 29, female Lombax detailed
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Today Sony announced that the next State of Play is scheduled to take place this week on April 29. The virtual gaming showcase to take place on Thursday at 2:00 PM PT is going to focus on Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, an upcoming title for the PlayStation 5.
Following anticipation from long-term fans, video game developer Insomniac Games announced Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart in June 2020. Departing from the traditional style of the Ratchet and Clank series, a mysterious female Lombax who will be a playable character was also shown. Since then, not much has been revealed about the new playable character.
Along with the date and time for the next State of Play, today Sony and Insomniac released a new gameplay trailer for Rift Apart. As promised last year, Insomniac has finally unveiled more information about the female Lombax in the upcoming title in the Ratchet and Clank universe. The trailer revealed the name of the mysterious Lombax to be Rivet.
More information about the game's story was also detailed. Protagonists Ratchet and Clank get separated across dimensions while chasing Nefarious and the Dimensionater. According to the new trailer, part of the game will be set in an alternate dimension where Dr. Nefarious "always wins". In a cutscene, Clank is discovered by Rivet who lives in that alternate world. It appears that she will help him find Ratchet.
The latest trailer from Insomniac also displayed Rivet's fighting style, which is identical to the way Ratchet plays. Both Lombaxes appear to use the same array of weapons in the gameplay snippets including Ratchet's signature Omniwrench. You can watch the latest gameplay trailer for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart below.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is due out June 11, 2021, for the PlayStation 5 exclusively. Pre-orders for the game are currently open and can be placed on the PlayStation Store. It is priced at $69.99 for the Standard Edition and $79.99 for the Digital Deluxe Edition.