Lonely this Christmas: Japanese gamers feeling left out in the cold as new consoles launch elsewhere

It’s been a few months now since gamers in Japan learned that, unlike the majority of the developed world, they would not be enjoying next-gen consoles at home this Christmas. While both North and South America, the UK, Europe, even our pals down-under in Australia will be stroking their shiny new hardware and yelling at friends for leaving greasy fingerprints on it, video game fans in Japan will be left to either play with their existing consoles or try to import.

Sony and Microsoft’s decisions to focus on Western territories for the launch of their respective new consoles certainly makes good business sense – after all, the Christmas period accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of annual video game sales, and the West is by far the more lucrative market – but reports here in Japan suggest that some gamers’ perception of Sony in particular has been harmed by the move, with some once loyal fans saying that they feel the company is simply “not taking things seriously” anymore.

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Sony explains decision to delay PlayStation 4 in its homeland, Japanese gamers not happy

It’s been two days since Sony delivered the shocking news that its newest console, PlayStation 4, won’t be launching in Japan until February 2014, despite the fact that it will go on sale in America, Europe and Australia this November. Now that the dust has settled and Sony has had chance to make some further clarifying statements via press releases and on its PlayStation Blog, Japan’s gamers have a much better idea of what to expect when the console eventually rolls out in its homeland.

Sony’s main reason for delaying the highly anticipated console, it maintains, is in order to provide a stronger software lineup when it eventually launches. Comments from Japanese gamers, however, suggest that they are neither convinced that this is the real reason for the delay, nor especially happy about being sent to the back of the queue.

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BMX rider Takahiro Ikeda proves he’s more than just a pretty face, goes for “megaspin” world record

Takahiro Ikeda is a 23-year-old pro BMX rider who defeated many opponents and overcame numerous challenges to win a world championship in 2010. If that weren’t enough his good looks have also earned him several TV appearances.

However, last July he had to face off not with other skilled opponents, nor with the lights and cameras of the media, but with himself as he attempted to set a Guinness World Record in the “megaspin” – a move in which the rider spins around on their back wheel without touching the ground with their body or other wheel.

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Rumour: Sony to unveil ‘virtual reality headset’ at Tokyo Game Show 2013

Long-running gaming site CVG revealed earlier today that Japan’s Sony Computer Entertainment is poised to unveil a new “virtual reality headset” at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show, stating that the unit will be the final piece in the company’s PlayStation 4 hardware strategy.

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Sony launching major offensive at PAX Prime show, bringing 39 playable games, freebies

The PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime 2013 video game trade show kicks off at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center this weekend, with all the big names in gaming (yes, even Nintendo!) turning up to flaunt their wares and give gamers the chance to play upcoming titles as well as get some hands-on time with their newest hardware. Sony, however, appears to be taking this opportunity to throw its weight around and recently published the absolutely enormous list of games they’re taking to the show, which goes some way to explaining why the company is commandeering most of the south-west corner of the show floor.

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Sony announces PlayStation 4 release date at Gamescom 2013 *UPDATED*

Xbox One or PS4? That’s the question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds, inspiring long-winded debates between diehard console fans. Microsoft took the lead, announcing (arguably) too much information, causing the minds of long-time Xbox fans to simultaneously explode and forcing the tech giant to rethink its strategy for the next generation console. Sony, realizing Microsoft’s blunder, has been keeping their cards close to their chest, letting Microsoft reveal aspects of their console first…that is until now. In a press conference held at Gamescom 2013 in Cologne, Germany, Sony officially announced the release date of the PlayStation 4 console for the US and international markets.

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Rumour: Sony planning to launch $500 PlayStation 4 & PS Vita bundle

We’re already thoroughly excited about the launch of Sony’s newest home console, the PlayStation 4, but news reaching us today suggesting that the Japanese electronics giant has yet another trick up its sleeve has set us buzzing anew.

Since the PS4’s grand unveiling earlier this year, Sony has been keen to push the fact that the console will be fully integrated with its portable platform, PlayStation Vita, ensuring that all developers make their PS4 games fully playable remotely via Vita. It would seem, though, that rather than just a cool extra feature, Sony is planning to make PS4/Vita crossplay a cornerstone of the PS4 experience, with industry sources suggesting that a special PS4/Vita bundle will be made available for US$500 by the end of the year.

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Sony coughs up US$375,000 to British authorities for security breach

Withdrawing its previous objection, Sony Corporation has agreed to pay a civil fine of 37.5 million yen (about US$375,000) to British authorities after the 2011 security breach of its online gaming network resulted in the leakage of millions of users’ personal information.

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Sony announces mammoth 6.5-inch smart phone: the Xperia Z Ultra

They may be a little cumbersome compared to the average mobile, but ultra-large smart phones — or ‘phablets’ as many are calling them — are most definitely on the rise in Asia, whether trendsetter Apple is on board or not. Samsung’s stylus-toting Galaxy Note II has already become a firm favourite with those who require a device offering greater ease of use than a regular smart phone but with more portability than a tablet, and competitors from Huawei and Asus aren’t far behind. And now it looks like Sony is set to come out all guns blazing with its giant Xperia Z Ultra, the latest in the Japanese electronics giant’s line of mobile devices and its first foray into the phablet scene. Oh and did we mention that it’s completely waterproof?

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Sony to upgrade smart watch line, make everything even more connected

A few days ago, tech news site CNET got hold of some new info about Sony’s next-generation smart watches. The expected upgrades to the nifty gadget include a bigger display, and added compatibility so that it’s easier for your watch to talk to your phone. Read on for more details!

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PlayStation 4 release date revealed?

This week at E3, Sony unveiled the design and retail price of the new PlayStation 4, but is still keeping us in the dark over expected release dates. However, an industry insider claims to have the lowdown on when we can expect the highly anticipated console to hit the shelves.

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Sony promises no restrictions on used games for PlayStation 4 – releases cheeky video to rub it in

Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, thrilled gamers today when he declared that the company will not impose any restrictions whatsoever on used games. Suffice it to say, the crowd at E3 went wild.

Seconds after the announcement had been made, a video appeared on Sony’s YouTube channel that simultaneously shows how easy it is to trade games with friends while poking fun at competitor Microsoft. Check it out after the break.

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Final PlayStation 4 design revealed! Priced at $399! 【Update: Photo gallery】

It’s the moment millions of fans have been waiting for ever since Sony first announced that its new console would be in our hands by the end of 2013: the PlayStation 4 has finally been revealed for the world to see!

And it looks…

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Rumour: PlayStation 4 camera to be sold separately

A telltale sign in a promotional video for Sony’s PlayStation 4 controller has led video game fans to believe that the camera peripheral for the company’s upcoming console will be sold separately from the PlayStation 4 itself, contrary to initial expectations.

While this may seem like little more than a minor inconvenience at first, if found to be true the rumour may point to a key difference between Sony and Microsoft’s console strategies, as well as potentially having ramifications for how developers approach either platform.

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Sony Computer Science Labs developing Legos with artificial intelligence

With kids wanting to get their hands on tablets and smartphones rather than tops and jack-in-the-boxes, traditional toy makers are beginning to feel the heat. Although, it’s hard to imagine a perennial favorite like Lego go under, they aren’t taking any chances as indicated by a display at Sony Computer Science Labs in Tokyo during a recent open house.

The building block maker is partnering with the tech giant to implant some video game magic such as AI and DualShock control into their timeless colored cubes.  But that’s not all. Sony Computer Science Labs are cooking up some wild stuff for the young and young at heart.

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Is Sony using Microsoft as its negative publicity guinea pig?

While Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox One console is being received positively by general tech sites for its kitchen sink philosophy to TV-based entertainment, the gaming public seems less than enthused, fearing the emphasis on TV programming and other bells and whistles means gaming will take a backseat and wary of always-on DRM rumors and the like. But is this all working out nicely for competitor Sony, who may be actively learning from Microsoft’s mistakes while planning its next move?

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Companies Japanese People are Most Proud of

On May 1, market researcher Risk Monster released the results of its first ever “Companies the Japanese Can be Globally Proud Of” survey. Conducted February 25 to 27, the survey received valid responses from 1,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 69. A total of 200 companies with annual sales of at least 250 billion yen and a minimum of 5,000 employees were targeted by the survey.

Coming in at number one was…
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Sony Launches World’s Fastest Internet Service, Boasts Download Speeds of 2 Gbps

And here we were feeling smug about our regular fibre optic Internet connection…

Sony Corporation announced yesterday that its own Internet service provider So-net Entertainment has launched what is thought to be the world’s fastest Internet connection for home use, with download speeds clocking in at a massive 2 Gbps, on average twice as fast as competing high-speed fibre connections in Japan.

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Battleship Island: Five Reasons Why More Movie Villains Should Live Here

Hashima Island, better known as Gunkanjima (lit. Battleship Island) due to its warship-like silhouette, is a small island off the coast of Nagasaki with a remarkable history. Owned by Mitsubishi as a coal mining facility from 1887 to 1974, this was once the most densely populated place on the planet, with more than 5,000 inhabitants crammed into its 6 square-kilometre dimensions. Now, the place is deserted and all that’s left of the once-bustling metropolis is an eerie landscape of crumbling, grey buildings.

When the Bond villain Raoul Silva chose the island as his secret lair in the latest 007 movie Skyfall, Gunkanjima received worldwide attention. But did Bond’s nemesis know that the island is home to Japan’s first-ever multi-storey concrete reinforced apartment block? We visited the island and checked out areas off-limits to the public to find out more about what makes this the perfect villain’s lair. Take the full virtual tour and see our photos after the jump.

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Sony Closes Plant in Gifu Prefecture, More than 1,000 Out of Work

GIFU PREFECTURE — With the shuttering of a factory belonging to a Sony subsidiary in Minokamo City at the end of this month, it became clear on the 27th that more than 1,000 people stood to be out of work on April 1 due to the closure.

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