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Sony promises next-level immersive gaming experience with PS4 Pro, PS VR

Sony unveiled its latest PlayStation 4 consoles alongside the PlayStation VR, and has big plans for gaming in India

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
February 3, 2017 5:21:00 pm
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Sony on Thursday unveiled its latest PlayStation 4 consoles alongside the PlayStation VR in India. The announcement was made at the ongoing India Gaming Show (IGS) in New Delhi.  The high-end model called PlayStation 4 Pro will cost Rs 38,990. It will be made available in the market in February.

While it may not look as a major leap from the original PlayStation 4, the Pro brings some major upgrades. It has a slightly faster processor, and an updated graphics processor. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the PS4 Pro is that it offers support for 4K output, which means that you’ll be able to play games and video in Ultra HD resolution.

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“The PS4 Pro is designed for gaming audience who are never really satisfied with the 1080p ; it is 4K gaming. Period”, said Randall Fernandez, Business Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in an interaction with Indianexpress.com on the sidelines of the India Gaming Show.

Sony also unveiled a slimmer version of the PlayStation 4 console, which the company claims is 30 per cent smaller compared to the original PS4. The slim version will replace the PlayStation 4, which was unveiled in India way back in December 2013 at Rs 39,990. The entry-level PlayStation 4 Slim will cost Rs 27,990.

The original PlayStation 4 will no longer be available for sale in India. “Only the chassis has been changed. The slim is the original PS4. There’s not much difference in terms of the two products. The look and feel won’t be there of the original PS4, but the Slim is the upgraded version of that,” he pointed out.

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Sony has also released the PlayStation VR, a special virtual reality headset that will work with the PlayStation 4 consoles. This is the company’s first foray into the virtual reality gaming. The sophisticated headset plugs into existing PlayStation 4 consoles (PS4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro) unlike Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, where users need a high-end computer.

Also read: Sony PS4 Pro, PlayStation VR, PS4 Slim announced for India: Pricing, availability

While both Facebook and HTC have yet to launch their respective VR headsets in India, Sony steps ahead with the launch of the PlayStation VR in the market. Although it may not come cheap at Rs 37,900, especially if you compare it to some of the smartphone-based VR headsets. Samsung, for example, offers the Gear VR for Rs 7,290 and allows users to slide their compatible smartphone into the headset to experience the content, be it games or videos, in virtual reality.

“In Europe and even in the Middle East, we’ve seen that people have accepted it (VR) in a great way because it comes as close to reality or being in the game. India, again, we’ve had the PS VR; we tested it out at IGX. Even out here, we are seeing a great response. PS VR is something which will be launching in March in terms of sales,” Fernandez said.

Also readIndia Gaming Show 2017 begins today: Top announcements by PlayStation, Samsung

Once it goes on sale in March, Sony will bring the entire line-up of games, including the exclusive ones such as Driveclub VR, Batman Arkham VR, Until Dawn, Rush of Blood and PlayStation VR Worlds, to name a few.

Sony will sell the PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation 4 Slim and PlayStation VR across all channels – physical stores and online.

“All our products are available in all channels. We do not discriminate between channels. It has been our strategy always… And we will continue to follow that principle”, said Prosenjit Ghosh, Deputy General Manager, PS Sales Department, PS Division, Sony India.

The company has released its new PlayStation 4 consoles and a VR headset at a time in India, when smartphones sales are at an all-time high with the total shipments crossing 32.3 million units in Q3 2016, according to research firm IDC. This will also see a rise in number of mobile gamers.

Instead of being threatened, Fernandez said, “Because we are more about immersive gaming. Mobile has its own role to play for the casual gamer.”

Adding to that, Ghosh said, “A casual gamer on a mobile phone may eventually end up moving up to the next big thing i.e. consoles. In fact, the company believes that the transition is happening. A lot of these gamers we interact with, many of them are first timers and have actually played games on mobile phones and moved up to console gaming.”

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Sony, which is struggling in the electronics and film business, continues to perform exceptionally well in the multi-billion dollar video gaming market. The Japanese firm has sold over 50 million units of the PS4 globally, beating the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U.

Although the company declined to share sales figures of the PS4 in India, Fernandez did mention that around 150,000 people are playing the fourth-generation console in the country. While it doesn’t give an exact figure, it gives an indication about the demand for Sony’s latest gaming device in India, where consoles are relatively expensive due to the current tax structure.

But the company says its PlayStation business is thriving in India. The PlayStation 2, for example, is still the company’s best selling console with over 1 million sold till date in India, points out Fernandez. However, he admits the PS3 didn’t have such a good run.

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