NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — Sony is poised to unveil the next PlayStation game console on Feb. 20, a date that would give the Japanese electronics company a head start over Microsoft's expected announcement of an Xbox 360 successor in June.
Sony Corp. invited journalists to an evening press event in New York City. The company has not said what it plans to show off, but signs indicate that it'll be the PlayStation 4. Sony would only say that it "will deliver and speak about the future PlayStation business."
Such a console would follow Nintendo's Wii U, which launched last fall, and precede Microsoft Corp.'s next Xbox game console, which will likely be unveiled in June at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said it's a "super smart" move for Sony to pre-empt Microsoft. This way, the PlayStation 4 will get the spotlight without much competition.
The currently available PlayStation 3 went on sale in 2006, a year after the Xbox 360. But Xbox 360 has been more popular, largely because of its robust online service, Xbox Live, which allows people to play games with others online. The Wii is still the top seller among the three consoles, though it has lost momentum in recent years.
The Wii U was the first of the newest generation of video game consoles to launch, but sales so far have been disappointing. Nintendo Co.'s president, Satoru Iwata, acknowledged recently that the Wii U and the handheld Nintendo 3Ds didn't do well over the holidays, but he ruled out a price cut for the new console.
All three console makers are trying to position their devices as entertainment hubs that go beyond games as they try to stay relevant in the age of smartphones and tablet computers. Such hubs can deliver TV shows, movies and music. The Wii U has a TV-watching feature called TVii. With it, the console's touch-screen GamePad controller becomes a remote control for your TV and set-top box. TVii groups your favourite shows and sports events together, whether it's on live TV or an Internet video service such as Hulu Plus. And it offers water-cooler moments you can chat about on social media.
Yars' Revenge (1982)
Released for the Atari 2600 in 1982, "Yars' Revenge" follows an alien bug ship trying to shoot down the motherload. Both retro and futuristic with bright, colorful graphics, it moves like an Ellsworth Kelly painting on speed.
Dragon's Lair (1983)
Created by ex-Disney animator Don Bluth, this cross between Disney and Scooby-Doo features animation adapted for laserdisc and has a fluidity to it that is fairly uncommon for its time period. On permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution, "Dragon's Lair" continues to live on as a "retro" game in a variety of formats, including on the iPhone.
Designed in a pixel art style, the creator spent four years working on this 2D-game, conceived in three dimensions. Using the language of early video game styles, "Rez" is spare, to the point and noted for the music that's sparked when a player destroys a foe -- like<em> Tro</em>n meets Devo.
Viewtiful Joe (2003)
Viewtiful Joe is an anime hopped up on comic book crack. It's not a <em>high</em> artistic achievement, but more like a colorful children's book (at least a children's book where jumping and punching are the favorite activities, "See Jane Kick").
Shadow Of The Colossus (2005)
Originally designed to aid ambient lighting on the PlayStation, this puzzle game has a highly textured look. An aesthetic of granite and smoke, it invokes a mythic journey with Norse or Greek gods traversing your video screen. There is a sense of foreboding, and of entrance into a deep and limitless world.
Echo Chrome (2008)
Clearly inspired by -- or derivative of -- an M.C. Escher print in motion, the relatively simple structures in "Echo Chrome" seem to dance before your eyes. "Echo Chrome" plays with perspective, as its viewpoint is determined by the viewer's gaze. Not renaissance art, but its own dance of line and shape.
This adventure interactive game developed by Polish programmer Krystian Majewski features imagery unusual for a video game. It has a soft beauty that floats, shifts and goes in and out of focus as it plays with light and color. Photo montages and flashes of fluorescent light punctuate the scene, and a soft woman's voice sounds alternately seductive and robotic.
Uncharted 3 (2011)
The third game in the Uncharted series, Sony has offered a film disguised as a gamer's world. These games are known for their hyper-realistic look and push the envelope when it comes to what video games are able to do. Watch for the Helen Mirren look alike.
Crysis 2 (2011)
This video extravaganza takes us through a post-apocalyptic New York. The soft siren song of Sinatra's "New York, New York" is accompanied by images of desolation and destruction. We are soon in the familiar territory (if you're a gamer, that is), of the first-person shooter genre. The subtle is transformed into the brazen.
The Unfinished Swan (2012)
Released in October 2012, The Unfinished Swan is a meditation on architecture. A sort of Rorschach powered by an ink canon. The white screen fills with blots that then transform into dimly recognizable shapes before constructing an entire landscape. In some ways, "The Unfinished Swan" is the most sophisticated of all the games on this list, combining puzzle, art and first-person shooter in one.