TOKYO Sony Corp (6758.T) will this month host its first major Playstation meeting in two years, sparking a flare-up in online speculation the Japanese consumer electronics giant is preparing to unveil the successor to its 70 million-selling PS3 games console.
Sony declined to say whether it would release a new product at the meeting in New York on February 20. "We will be talking about the Playstation business," spokesman Masaki Tsukakoshi said on Friday. A Google search for "Sony Feb 20 Playstation" returned more than 7 million hits.
The last time Sony held a Playstation event, in January 2011, it presented a protoype of its handheld Vita console. Before that, it convened a gathering in 2005 two months after it first demonstrated the PS3 concept. A meeting in 1999 revealed designs for the PS2.
It has been more than six years since Sony launched the PS3 home console, a longer gap than between it and its PS2 predecessor, adding to the anticipation that it will soon disclose its next gaming concept.
Since Sony's last home console launch, the games market has been transformed by the boom in smartphones and tablet computers that have wooed players with free or cheap games.
Sony and other console makers Nintendo Co Ltd 7974.OS and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) now have to contend with competition from hand-held devices made by Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and others.
Analysts expect that tablets and other mobile devices will match the power and graphics of today's games consoles within a few years.
Struggling under competitive pressure, Nintendo on Wednesday cut its sales target for the Wii U, successor to its 100 million-selling Wii, to 4 million machines by the end of March from its launch in November, compared with an earlier forecast for 5.5 million.
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
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