Sony to tap into Taiwan’s programming know-how

A NEW VISION: Collaboration with local software creators will allow Sony to broaden its horizons beyond hardware manufacturing and distribution for its gaming products

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Jun 30, 2009 - Page 12

Sony Computer Entertainment Asia (SCEA) signed a memorandum of understanding with six local gaming developers yesterday to produce a wide array of digital content for its PlayStation 3 (PS3) and PlayStation Portable (PSP) products.

Under the agreement and through its Taiwanese subsidiary, the Japanese videogame powerhouse will for the first time open up its proprietary PlayStation platform to domestic digital content creators, including XPEC Entertainment Inc (樂陞科技), Intersev International Inc (昱泉國際), Yeck Entertainment Co (耶克娛樂) and SOGA Interactive Co (果子獸) as well as telephone operators Tatung InfoComm Co (大同電信) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信), SCEA president Tetsuhiko Yasuda told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

More importantly, the collaboration with domestic software designers will allow Sony Computer Entertainment to broaden its vision beyond the manufacturing and distribution of hardware and software for its PlayStation products and to focus on creating wider networking plans by next spring, Yasuda said.

“A complete home entertainment vision will eventually allow all Sony products such as high-­definition TVs, handsets, navigation systems and other devices to ‘talk’ to each other and deliver all forms of digital content,” Yasuda said.

This move and Sony’s grand vision of a PlayStation network had been expected, as the gaming entertainment giant suffered losses of nearly US$600 million last year, despite worldwide sales of 10 million PS3 systems.

This was largely the result of the PS3’s high retail price for hardware, which led consumers to switch to Nintendo Co’s Wii console in droves, with major game makers quickly following suit, reducing PS3’s gaming library titles, a recent NPD group research report showed.

PS3 was also affected by Apple Computer Inc’s popular iPhone and iPod Touch roll-outs, which immediately took up 10 percent of the global video gaming market share, as big-game developers like Sega Corp and Electronic Arts Inc jumped on the bandwagon to build popular casual games for the coveted devices.

Despite the raging gaming war amongst Microsoft Corp, Nintendo and SCEA, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hwang Jung-chiou (黃重球) told yesterday’s signing ceremony that “the establishment of this cross-national research and development channel is the result of the ministry’s hard work to transform Taiwan into a world class digital content software provider country, not just a hardware manufacturing hub.”