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Deathwatch: Will the Sony Empire Fall in 2009?

50°
301w ago - We hesitated in adding a global manufacturer like Sony to Bitterwallet's Deathwatch list; it's all very well predicting the End of Days for Woolies and PC World, but not one of the best recognized brands on the planet, surely?

Until you look at some of the facts and figures haunting the Tokyo-based company right now:

* Sony have today announced plans to make 5% of its electronics workforce redundant - about 8,000 jobs
* From July to September, the Japanese economy shrank nearly five times faster than Government predictions
* Sony's profits fell by 90% in the last financial quarter, while warning that full-year profits would be down nearly 60% on the previous year
* The company's share prices has dropped from over $57 at the beginning of the year, to just $20 today

Of course there's a recession going on, so what do you expect? The number of job losses, as significant as it sounds, is small potatoes when compared to the 160,000 employed by Sony's electronics division. And the point of such drastic action is to help save Sony over £745 million and ensure the company can weather the financial storm long-term.

But not everyone agrees with the...
 

Sony to Cut Manufacturing Plants and 8,000 Electronics Jobs

200°
301w ago - Sony has announced plans to cut 8,000 electronics jobs - 5% of the division - as well as shutting 10% of its manufacturing sites.

The company said the jobs would be cut by April 2010 but did not say in which countries the staff would go. Sony said it had been trying to reduce production because of the downturn but warned it still had to do more.

The news came as Japan drastically raised its estimate of the amount its economy shrank from July to September. The Cabinet Office said the economy had shrunk at an annual rate of 1.8% in the quarter, down from its previous estimate of 0.4%.

Investment cut

Sony aims to generate cost savings of about 100bn yen ($1.1bn; £730m) by the end of the next financial year. It will cut its investment in electronic operations by 30% and shut down about 10% of its 57 production facilities.

"The number sounds big, but this staff reduction won't be enough," said Katsuhiko Mori, a fund manager at Daiwa SB Investments.

"Sony doesn't have any core businesses that generate stable profits - the next thing we want to see is what is going to be the business that will drive the company."
 

Sony Confirms PlayStation Home Launch Soon, Maybe Next Week?

50°
301w ago - Jack Buser, the director of PlayStation Home has confirmed that the launch of PlayStation Home is imminent, although he would not get into the specific details of the exact date of release.

In related news, mainstream news site TimesOnline stated yesterday, "To try Home, which is slated for release in the next 10 days, players must download a piece of free software from Sony's PlayStation store onto their own PS3."

If accurate, this would put a PlayStation Home public release on track for the rumored December 17 date previously reported.

To quote: Amid rumors of a December launch for PlayStation Home, SCEA has confirmed to Joystiq that the social platform's public, open beta phase will arrive before the end of calendar year 2008, as we've been hearing for some time.

"We've been saying it will launch by the end of calendar year 2008," PlayStation Home director, Jack Buser, responded when asked about a December release. "And that's getting very, very close," he concluded, laughing.

"Launch is imminent," Buser confirmed - although neither he nor an SCEA rep were willing to divulge an exact day of...
 

Five PlayStation 3 RPG Games Being Worked On Internally at Sony

250°
301w ago - Shuhei Yoshida finally answers the burning question on many, many, many hardcore gamers minds... Where are the RPG's?!

In a poorly translated Japanese interview from a recent Famitsu magazine, a good soul who visits the site has been able to piece together 3 things for us:

1 - Sony is disappointed in their Japanese business model at the moment
2 - Sony is working on 3rd party relations
3 - Sony is developing 5 RPG's internally for their fanbase

While we already knew 2 of those things we, or at least I, didn't know the last one... I remember seeing an incredible looking series of screenshots from the now defunct Gamesblow's Web site in which he said were Legend of Dragoon 2... they were absolutely mind blowing for an RPG.

I can only hope one of these is in fact LOD2. We also know Dark Cloud 3 is being worked on... but the other 3 seem like a mystery to me.

A direct, not entirely accurate reading, of the snippet:

FM - A strong interest here in Japan is in role playing or deep strategy based games, why has Sony not played to these strengths with the PS3?

Shuhei Yoshida - The inception of a console is one of trial and error. It is never one set path one takes to success and success should never come from an easy path. When...
 

Introducing PULSE Presented by Sony PlayStation Network

250°
301w ago - PlayStation Network Executive Producer Kevin Furuichi shared the following via PS Blog:

For fans wanting even more ways to stay connected and in the know on PlayStation news and updates, we launched a new original program, PULSE presented by PlayStation Network available on PlayStation.com.

Note: Video can be seen by clicking the PULSE link above or downloaded from Sony's server HERE.

PULSE, a part of our continuous push to provide original video programming, is a video showcase about what's happening in the world of PlayStation. The program features new Blu-ray disc and PlayStation Network releases from the PlayStation Store, including games, demos, movies and television series available for your PS3 and PSP.

Check out PULSE at work, at home, or on the go with the PSP, appearing every other week on PlayStation.com.

We hope you enjoy the show.
 
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