Sony’s new PS4 set to benefit local chipmakers’ output

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Feb 25, 2013 - Page 14

Japan-based Sony Corp’s will likely use chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in its next-generation PlayStation game console, the PlayStation 4 (PS4), according to an analysis by Morgan Stanley.

The PS4, which was unveiled on Feb. 21 in New York, and Microsoft Corp’s next-generation Xbox are also both likely to use processors from PC chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc, the brokerage added.

The chips would most probably be made by TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, using 28-nanometer process technology, the brokerage said in a research note.

“The market for dedicated gaming consoles may be shrinking, but as TSMC did not make the previous generation of chips it represents a new opportunity,” Bill Lu (呂家璈), a Morgan Stanley analyst in Hong Kong, wrote in the note.

The Morgan Stanley study showed that Sony had sold more than 100 million PlayStation 1 consoles, more than 150 million PlayStation 2 consoles and more than 70 million PlayStation 3 consoles during their lifespans.

Given that the size of a games console chip is around 10 times larger than that of an applications processor chip used for mobile phones, each incremental batch of 10 million games console chips would raise TSMC’s revenue by 1 percent, Lu said.

“Unless console sales are significantly higher than expected, we would not expect revenue contributions of more than a few percent,” Lu added.

Looking at it more structurally, potential orders from Sony Corp for the PS4 game console chips could make TSMC’s 28-nanometer market share more dominant than it had been previously, he noted.

The bulk of this year’s global 28-nanometer market revenue is set to be generated by TSMC, while its rivals, such as GlobalFoundries Inc, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) and Samsung Electronics Co, are set to contribute lesser revenue.