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Sony Offering Free Copy Of Ratchet and Clank to PlayStation Users

Sony has restarted their "Play At Home initiative" to provide a "series of free games and entertainment offers for our PlayStation community to make the next few months a little more fun and enjoyable". The Play At Home initiative was launched by Sony in April 2020 and offered PlayStation users a free copy of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and Journey for PS4. Sony will now be offering a free copy of Ratchet & Clank PS4 from Insomniac Games between March 1st and March 31st. Once you redeem the game, it will be yours to keep as was the case previously. All the games offered via the Play At Home initiative are playable on the PS5 with backward compatibility mode. Sony has also partnered with Funimation to offer an extended trial for new customers of the anime streaming service. Sony will announce additional free games and services in the coming months.

Sony Confirms That Next-Generation PSVR Headset for PS5 is Under Development

Sony has officially announced that they are working on a next-generation PlayStation VR headset for the PS5. Sony has only provided limited details of the upcoming headset but they include upgrades to resolution, field of view, tracking, and input. The new headset will also connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup. The new VR controllers will incorporate various improvements from the latest generation DualSense wireless controller along with general ergonomic improvements. While this new PSVR system is still under development and will not launch until at least 2022 Sony has reaffirmed their commitment to the existing PSVR platform confirming the launch of several new titles including After The Fall, Sniper Elite VR, and Humanity. You can read the full release from Sony below.

iFixit Teardown Reveals The Reasons Behind Joystick Drift on PS5 Controllers

We recently reported about the class action lawsuit being filed against Sony surrounding the alleged drift on their DualShock 5 controllers. We now have some new evidence from iFixit which points towards this physical issue being present on all DualShock 5 controllers. The DualShock 5 controllers use "off-the-shelf joystick hardware with a long history of predictable, preventable issues" according to iFixit. They also estimate that the life-time of these joysticks is just over 400 hours of game time which is significantly less than what would be expected on a 70 USD controller.

The controller drift will get worse as the controllers are used due to several design faults. The main issues identified by iFixit include the specific potentiometers used in the joysticks which will wear down from use quickly making the reading more unreliable. The springs used to bring the joystick to a neutral position will fatigue over time creating a new neutral point and shifting readings. The plastics used in the DualShock 5 controller will inevitably deteriorate with time. The controller will also accumulate grime and dust in the housing from use which increases the severity of drift. The best way to minimize controller drift is to clean your controller regularly; however, this will not solve the hardware faults.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Sony Over Alleged DualShock 5 Drift

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Sony by Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith LLP regarding the alleged drift present on Sony's latest DualShock 5 controller which comes bundled with the PlayStation 5. The lawsuit was filed on February 12th in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and argues that the DualShock 5 controller is defective as it suffers from drift compromising the core functionality of the device. The lawsuit also notes the limited repair options available and Sony's lack of disclosure to customers even after numerous reported cases. Sony joins Nintendo and Microsoft who are both also in multiple court battles regarding drift on their respective controllers.

Sony Playstation 5 SoC Die Has Been Pictured

When AMD and Sony collaborated on making the next generation console chip, AMD has internally codenamed it Flute, while Sony codenamed it Oberon or Ariel. This PlayStation 5 SoC die has today been pictured thanks to the Fritzchens Fritz and we get to see a closer look at the die internals. Featuring eight of AMD's Zen2 cores that can reach frequencies of up to 3.5 GHz, the CPU is paired with 36 CU GPU based on the RDNA 2 technology. The GPU is capable of running at speed of up to 2.23 GHz. The SoC has been made to accommodate all of that hardware, and bring IO to connect it all.

When tearing down the console, the heatsink and the SoC are connected by liquid metal, which is used to achieve the best possible heat transfer between two surfaces. Surrounding the die there is a small amount of material used to prevent liquid metal (a conductive material) from possibly spilling and shorting some components. Using a special short wave infrared light (SWIR) microscope, we can take a look at what is happening under the hood without destroying the chip. And really, there are a few distinct areas that are highlighted by the Twitter user @Locuza. As you can see, the die has special sectors with the CPU complex and a GPU matrix with plenty of workgroups and additional components for raytracing.

UK Parliament Members Aim to Introduce Bill to Fight Scalping... But the Problem is a Complex One

Members form the UK Parliament are apparently preparing to introduce a bill that would regulate the scalping phenomenon that's being witnessed worldwide. According to Scottish politician Douglas Chapman, in an interview to IGN, "The issue of scalping first came up with constituents contacting me to explain their frustration about being unable to get hold of certain games consoles or computer components pre-Christmas." He then expanded on that by adding that "On investigation, we uncovered more details of the unscrupulous practice of 'scalping' by automated bots to bulk buy these goods and sell them on at inflated prices." Oh, and this bill is unlikely to pass, by the way.

Scalping, however, isn't done only in the UK; it's a pervasive international issue that crosses borders. And scalping, as it is known, is nothing but a form of speculation, which some might say is part of the backbone that keeps the world's capitalist blood pumping through the economy - some might even argue that scalping occurs directly due to mechanisms of supply and demand, and thus, isn't an unlawful activity in and of itself. Companies, corporations, and all other legal entities, however, have to adhere to strict anti-monopoly/anti-cartelization laws, which deal with the same base issue, although in another facet of it. The problem is that it appears that in some countries, speculation is regulated at the enterprise level, but not at the citizen level. And herein lies the crux of it.

Sony Confirms It's Selling PS5 Consoles Below Manufacturing Cost, Ships 4.5 Million Units

Sony has confirmed that it is paying some of the upfront cost in acquiring their latest PS5 games console by pricing it below manufacturing cost. Consoles being priced as such isn't a new move in itself; manufacturers have often sold their consoles at a loss so as to keep consoles attractive to buyers and thus increase their install base. This, in turn, equates with higher sales of software - which is often where Sony or Microsoft recoup their margin loss on hardware.

Sony has also confirmed that its PS5 console has sold around 4.5 million units since launch, putting it in a similar footing with the PS4 in the corresponding period, despite the higher retail price at launch. The sales figure also puts Sony's PlayStation division results for 2020's Q3 FY as their historical best ever since the company started selling games consoles. Revenue increased 40 percent to 883.2 billion yen ($8.4 billion), partly driven by PS5 sales, whilst operating profit increased by 50 percent to 80.2 billion yen ($763.3 million) due to higher software and services sales (such as PlayStation Plus subscriptions), and better margins on PS4 hardware, which still shipped around 1.4 million units.

Sony Sells 3.4 Million PlayStation 5 Units in First Month with 18 Million Target in 2021

Sony has sold 3.4 million PlayStation 5 units in the four weeks following its release, this puts it ahead of the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch for their first month sales. The Xbox Series X/S from Microsoft is currently estimated to have sold slightly over 2 million units however as with both consoles this is a supply issue and not a demand one. The main reason for Sony's lead in shipments is their early production start meaning they had more units on hand for release. Sony is targeting 16.8 - 18 million PlayStation 5 shipments in 2021 topping the PlayStation 4 and making it the company's most successful launch to date.

Sony Pulls Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) dropped the hammer on Cyberpunk 2077 earlier this week, by withdrawing the game from the PlayStation Store, and offering full refunds to anyone who wants it. It appears like the move affects Cyberpunk 2077 availability for all PlayStation gamers, and not just those on older-generation consoles such as the PlayStation 4. "SIE strives to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, therefore we will begin to offer a full refund for all gamers who have purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store. SIE will also be removing Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Store until further notice," reads the company's statement.

To seek a refund, simply log in to the refund claims page with your PlayStation ID. Once SIE verifies that you purchased your copy of Cyberpunk 2077 via the PlayStation Store, you have the option to request a full refund, which removes the game from your library, and processes a refund to your original mode of payment. The move follows a massive backlash on social media by console gamers—particularly those on older-gen consoles such as PS4 and Xbox One; claiming that the game has glaring bugs and doesn't look nearly as good as shown in its trailers. CD Projekt Red admitted that it didn't show gamers how Cyberpunk 2077 plays on older consoles; and offered full refunds.

Intel to Keep Its Number One Semiconductor Supplier Ranking in 2020: IC Insights

IC Insights' November Update to the 2020 McClean Report, released later this month, includes a discussion of the forecasted top-25 semiconductor suppliers in 2020. This research bulletin covers the expected top-15 2020 semiconductor suppliers (Figure 1).

The November Update also includes a detailed five-year forecast through 2024 of the IC market by product type (including dollar volume, unit shipments, and average selling price) and a forecast of the major semiconductor industry capital spenders for 2020. A five-year outlook for total semiconductor industry capital spending is also provided.

Surprising Absolutely No One, AMD RX 6800 Series Pretty Much Out of Stock, And Scalping Becomes a Pervasive Industry Problem

The title says it all, really. We've only just been able to add AMD's latest RX 6800 and 6800 XT graphics cards to our shopping carts in multiple etailers, but the cat is already out of the bag and into scalpers' pockets. This has been a recurring event for all gaming-related tech, from DIY PC parts to the latest-gen games consoles from both Microsoft and Sony. At this point, it becomes moot to talk about availability issues, or demand issues, or reaching a conclusion between the two - the stock just isn't there for anything gaming-related, period.

Some etailers are only selling their graphics cards in-person, as a way to both control flow of stock and protect themselves from scalpers buying up the entire inventory with recourse to some digital sidekicks that automate the purchase process, and then allow them to resell anything from graphics cards from NVIDIA to AMD, passing through AMD's latest Ryzen 5000 series and the Xbox Series X and PS5 gaming consoles.

Microsoft: Only Consoles Supporting Full RDNA 2 Capabilities Are Xbox Series X and Series S, Excludes PlayStation 5

Microsoft has today published another article on its Xbox Wire blog, dedicated to all the news regarding the Xbox consoles and its ecosystem. In the light of yesterday's launch of AMD Radeon RDNA 2 graphics cards, Microsoft has congratulated its partner and provider of processors SoCs for their next-generation consoles. Besides the celebrations and congratulations, Microsoft has proceeded to show off what the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles are capable of, and how they integrate the RDNA 2 architecture. The company notes that there are hardware accelerated DirectX Raytracing, Mesh Shaders, Sampler Feedback, and Variable Rate Shading units built-in, so game developers can take advantage of it.

Another interesting point Microsoft made was that "Xbox Series X|S are the only next-generation consoles with full hardware support for all the RDNA 2 capabilities AMD showcased today." What this translates into is that Microsoft is the only console maker that uses the full RDNA 2 potential. This could leave Sony out in the dark with its PlayStation 5 console, meaning that it does not support all the features of AMD's new GPU architecture. There are not any specific points, however, we have to wait and see what Sony has left out, if anything.

Sony Electronics Launches Groundbreaking Spatial Reality Display

Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the debut of the Spatial Reality Display (SR Display), a groundbreaking new product made with Sony's award-winning Eye-Sensing Light Field Display (ELFD) technology. The display, initially shared with attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of this year, does not require virtual reality glasses or a headset. The SR Display enables creators across a variety of industries, from automotive and industrial design, to Computer Graphics (CG) and Visual Effects (VFX) designers and creators in film to bring ideas to life in stunning 3D displays.

"We're excited to bring the world's best technology to bear, moving the design and creation industry forward, particularly as the shift to digital has become so pronounced," stated Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics North America. "This technology drives new versatility, allowing us to advance an entirely new medium and experience for designers and creators everywhere."

China Forecast to Represent 22% of the Foundry Market in 2020, says IC Insights

IC Insights recently released its September Update to the 2020 McClean Report that presented the second of a two-part analysis on the global IC foundry industry and included a look at the pure-play foundry market by region.

China was responsible for essentially all of the total pure-play foundry market increase in 2018. In 2019, the U.S./China trade war slowed China's economic growth but its foundry marketshare still increased by two percentage points to 21%. Moreover, despite the Covid-19 shutdown of China's economy earlier this year, China's share of the pure-play foundry market is forecast to be 22% in 2020, 17 percentage points greater than it registered in 2010 (Figure 1).

Sony Shows Off PlayStation 5 Internals in the Latest Teardown Video

Sony has decided to post a teardown video of its latest, upcoming PlayStation 5 console. The video shows how to disassemble the console and what is inside it. The new console features a different design from the previous generation, and thus a different internal layout. What is perhaps the most exciting thing shown in the video is the new cooling solution Sony implements. The new design uses some pretty interesting solutions that combine good airflow generated by 120 mm wide, 45 mm thick blower fan cooling the vapor chamber heatsink. Under the heatsink, the silicon company has made is running at high clocks and is said to generate a lot of heat, so to manage it, the console uses liquid metal thermal interface material (TIM) instead of regular thermal paste for heat transfer. Combined with good airflow and good heatsink, heat management shouldn't be a problem on this console.

Sony Announces PS5 Console Pricing, Exclusive Games Launch Lineup

Sony yesterday at its PlayStation Showcase finally revealed pricing and exclusive launch titles for their PS5 console. First things first: the PS5 will be launching in two version, as we've known for a while, with different pricing according to the console version you choose. The "vanilla" PS5 which includes a 4K Bluray disc drive will be going for $499; its price-reduced cousin, the PS5 Digital Edition, forgoes the 4K Bluray disc drive to deliver a $399 pricing.

Alongside pricing details, Sony also announced the PS5 exclusive games we can count on the consoles' launch, which is set for November 12th. These include Astro's Playroom (Japan Studio), which will be pre-installed on the PS5 and is thus a free game; the highly-awaited next-gen version of Demon's Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio) - $69.99; Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV) - $69.99; Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales - $49.99; Marvel's Spider-Man: Mile Morales Ultimate Edition - $69.99; and Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV) - $59.99.

Sony Denies Rumors of Reduced PS5 Launch Supply

It's rare when a company actually responds to rumors with more than a simple "we don't comment on speculations"; however, Sony has done just that in regards to purported reduced supply of PS5 consoles on launch. There are some likely reasons for this move from Sony; for one, the rapid uptake on mainstream media following the initial Bloomberg report may have garnered a little too much attention for comfort. Consider the fact that Sony's share price fell some 3.5% following the report, however, and you can see how these rumors may have forced the company's hand to stem the bleeding.

Sony quells this rumor with extreme prejudice, too. According to the company, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, "While we do not release details related to manufacturing, the information provided by Bloomberg is false. We have not changed the production number for PlayStation 5 since the start of mass production." That should settle things - and mean there will be 4 million more PS5s up for grab out there at launch. It was, in any event, strange that the chip inside the PS5 was having such troubling 50% yield number as was advanced by the Bloomberg report; we know that Ryzen itself has been designed by AMD with manufacturing yields and cost-reduction in mind for some time, now.

PlayStation 5 Launch Supply Reduced due to AMD CPU/GPU SoC Yield Issues

Today we have found out that Sony has reportedly cut PlayStation 5 launch supply due to bad yields of the SoC powering the console. Previously, we reported that Sony has doubled production of the new console amid high demand, where the company expected to sell 10 million units in the fiscal year. The original plan was to have around 15 million units of the new console available by March 31st, 2021. Sony has been spending a lot of resources to get as many units out to consumers, however, the bad SoC yields have held the company back significantly.

It is reported by Bloomberg that instead of the original 15 million units Sony plans to supply, there will be only 11 million of them. That represents a massive reduction of 4 million units. And you are wondering how bad the yields of the new SoC are to have that big reduction. According to the source, TSMC and Sony are seeing only 50% yields on the production run. It is reported that the yields are gradually improving but have not yet reached the level needed to have a stable supply. This represents a big problem for the company and we don't know who is to blame. TSMC has been very good at manufacturing 7 nm silicon, however, it could be bad design from AMD and Sony that is making the production difficult. We are waiting for more information.

Sony Reaffirms Intent To Bring First-Party Titles to PC

Sony surprised many when they announced plans to bring Horizon Zero Dawn to PC earlier this year as it was a major first-party exclusive released for the PlayStation 4. While Microsoft has consistently been bringing first-party titles to PC, Sony had been keeping their major titles PlayStation exclusives. In Sony's latest financial report they confirm their intentions to bring further exclusives to PC to improve profitability. What games Sony plan to bring to PC is currently unknown but may well be older PlayStation 4 titles which have dwindling console sales.
Sony
We will explore expanding our 1st party titles to the PC platform, in order to promote further growth in our profitability.

Sony Launches PlayStation 5 Pre-Order Registration Site

Sony has recently launched PlayStation 5 pre-order registrations on the PlayStation website, without pricing or launch date information. To register for the pre-order queue you simply need to submit your PlayStation Network ID and ensure your email is associated with the account. This registration is simply for a pre-order slot for the PlayStation 5 from the Sony online store and not an actual pre-order. If selected you'll have a limited amount of time to complete your order, you may purchase one PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 5 Digital Edition along with up to 2 controllers. This early registration is only available to US residents with global availability expected later this year when the console is officially launched.

Sony Announces WH-1000XM4 Industry-leading Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony today announced the WH-1000XM4, the 4th generation over-ear wireless noise cancelling headphones in Sony's award-winning 1000X family. The latest headphones offer all the much-loved technology from the hugely popular WH-1000XM3, with additional intelligent features that allow you to personalise and control your music, improve noise cancellation and adjust ambient sound automatically based on your preferences for a superior sound experience.

Whether you're flying long haul or relaxing in a café, the WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver Sony's best ever noise cancelling performance, reducing high and mid frequency sounds. With two microphones on each earcup, being used for noise cancelling, our Dual Noise Sensor technology captures ambient noise and passes the data to the trusted HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Then a new BLUETOOTH Audio SoC (System on Chip) senses and adjusts to music and noise at over 700 times per second. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 applies noise cancelling processing in real time. This allows the user to focus more on the music they love and blur out the chaos of the outside world.

Sony Announces World's First CFexpress Type-A Memory Card with 700MB/s Writes and Tough Durability

Sony Electronics Inc. announced a new generation of media - the world's first CFexpress Type A memory cards, in both 80 GB and 160 GB, (CEA-G80T and CEA-G160T) as the most recent addition to Sony's TOUGH specification cards. Delivering high transfer speed, durability and reliability, Sony's new CFexpress Type A cards offer professional and stress-free performance for photographers and content creators.

Both the CEA-G80T (80 GB) and CEA-G160T (160 GB) use the latest flash memory control technology to achieve write speeds as high as 700 MB/s and read speeds as high as 800 MB/s, greatly reducing buffer clearing times for efficient, stress-free shooting. The CFexpress Type A cards are ideally suited for high-speed continuous shooting of more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW still images, as well as 4K 120p movie recording at high bit rates with the Slow & Quick Motion function when paired with new Alpha 7S III, which features two CFexpress Type A compatible media slots, that also support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards, for simultaneous media capture or extended continuous recording of even the highest bit rate data. Compliance with the VPG400 video performance guarantee profile specification ensures stable video recording at 400 MB/s-creating a smooth workflow for professional creators.

Sony Doubles Playstation 5 Orders Amid High Demand

According to the Bloomberg report, Sony has reportedly doubled Playstation 5 orders and plans to ship 10 million units this fiscal year. Originally, Sony wanted to ship 5-6 million units between November of this year and March 31st of 2021. However, Sony is seeing a very high demand for its next-generation console and it had to double the production orders. Being manufactured in Kisarazu, Japan, the company can assemble two Playstation 4 consoles every minute, which is pretty impressive and gives hope that Sony can satisfy the demand for the new console. When the manufacturing costs of the console are broken down into parts, memory is making for more than half of it. The super-fast PCIe 4.0 SSD and GDDR6 memory cost about $250 combined. Reports are suggesting that the entire console costs an amazing $450 to manufacture.

Sony Invests $250 Million In Epic Games for Minority Stake

The Sony Corporation today announced plans to invest $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic Games Inc. This investment represents a 1.4% ownership of the company and gives Epic a valuation of nearly $18 billion. This investment solidifies the strong existing relationship between the two companies at a time when Sony is preparing to release the PlayStation 5. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has publicly praised the upcoming console calling it a "remarkably balanced device" and praised its innovative SSD. The Sony Corporation will join Tencent and various other companies who own significant stakes in the company. The merger is still subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and it is unsure when or if this will be granted.
Sony
The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony's leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic's social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.

Sony PlayStation 5 Hardware Pricing and Availability Leaked: €100 Premium for BD Drive

Prices of Sony's various PlayStation 5 components just hit the web, thanks a Cowcotland report citing IronManPS5, a source with high reliability with PlayStation 5 leaks. To begin with, the standard PlayStation 5 console, which includes one Dual Sense controller, is priced at 499€. This console includes a Blu-ray disc drive so you could keep a physical library of all your games. Additional Dual Sense controllers can be bought for 59€ a piece. The PlayStation 5 Digital edition, which lacks an optical drive and makes you rely entirely on your Internet connections to get games, is priced a whopping 20% less, at 399€.

Other hardware accessories include an elegant recharging station for the Dual Shock controllers at 29€, which can recharge up to two controllers at a time; a wireless Media Remote accessory that lets you use your PS5 as a streaming entertainment device for your TV, priced at 29€, and an HD stereo web-camera for 59€. One accessory that stands out is the Pulse 3D wireless gaming headset for the PS 5, by Sony, which uses a high quality audio setup from Sony, priced at 179€. The PlayStation 5 family is expected to be available from November 14, 2020.
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