Sony plays up Vita and blockbuster videogames

Posted at 06/05/12 2:58 PM

LOS ANGELES - Sony shook off its financial woes on Monday as it played up its Vita handheld gaming devices and heart-pounding titles for its PlayStation 3 videogame consoles.

Ubisoft staff demonstrate the "Far Cry 3" video game during the Sony news conference, as part of the E3, in Los Angeles, California June 4, 2012. REUTERS

Sony Computer Entertainment America president Jack Tretton humbly thanked videogame lovers for remaining devoted to the PlayStation 3 and the Japanese entertainment titan's lineup of gadgets, games, films and music.

"This is the Super Bowl for those of us who live and die in the videogame industry," Tretton said of the E3 extravaganza that officially starts in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Sony showed off coming blockbuster videogames including a new title, "The Last of Us," by the Naughty Dog studio behind the winning "Uncharted" franchise, a riveting new installment of which was also featured at the event.

Sony focused heavily on its Vita, demonstrating how games were being adapted to let players switch between the handheld devices and PS3 consoles without losing continuity.

Tretton also played up the potential to use Vita as a second-screen for PS3 games, indicating that Sony was putting its own spin on Microsoft letting tablets sync to Xbox 360 consoles and Nintendo made tablet controllers the centerpieces of its new-generation Wii U GamePad consoles.

"It gives each player their own in-game controls and perspectives," Tretton said of Vita.

French videogame powerhouse Ubisoft tailored a version of its winning "Assassin's Creed" line-up just for the Vita, introducing the first female main character in the franchise and tapping into the handheld devices capabilities.

Sony will release a special "Assassin's Creed: Liberation" bundle, packaging a first-ever white Vita with the videogame when it is released in October.

The beloved "Call of Duty" military shooter franchise is also heading to Vita, according to Tretton.

In April, Sony said it would cut about 10,000 jobs and spend nearly $1 billion on an overhaul that its new chief executive Kazuo Hirai described as "urgent."

Sony has vowed it will swing back into the black as it embarks on the restructuring plan. The firm now forecasts a net profit of 30 billion yen in the current fiscal year to March 2013 on sales of 7.4 trillion yen.

Sony shares tumbled below 1,000 yen Monday for the first time since 1980 and the era of the Walkman, sending the value of the company crashing to less than a tenth of what it was just over a decade ago.

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