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PlayStation CEO says PS4 first-party lineup 'a little sparse,' calls 2015 'a year of investment'

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House said the upcoming first-party lineup for its PlayStation 4 is "a little sparse," but that Sony is investing in other ways to bolster the system's appeal and maintain its momentum as "the fastest-selling hardware platform" in its history.

During an investor relations presentation in Tokyo today, House talked up the PS4's better-than-expected performance — the system has a 20 million-strong install base — and touched on Sony's strategy for its current-generation platform. House said that Sony plans to build upon its network services, like the high-margin PlayStation Plus subscription service and PlayStation Vue television service, and invest in new technologies, like virtual reality hardware Project Morpheus.

House said that this year's lineup of games made by Sony Computer Entertainment's internal studios was somewhat thin — he pointed to next year's release of Uncharted 4 for PS4 as a highlight — but that the company has plans to keep console sales moving.

"This year, maintaining our competitive advantage on the console really principally comes down to a few key elements," House said in prepared remarks. "We are working very hard to continue very strong support from third-party publishers and developers. Our first-party line up is a little sparse this year, so I think this places greater emphasis on getting good third party support. Obviously there is an advantage there because of our market share and momentum."

House said Sony continues to pursue platform exclusives, but cautioned that those are increasingly difficult to secure. Sony will invest in other business areas as well, he explained.

"I would characterize 2015 as the beginning of a harvest period for the PlayStation 4," he said. "The beginning of a harvest period. That being said, we are also undertaking to invest for the future. And 2015 will also be a year of investment.

"We will continue to invest in the re-architecture of the network platform that underpins our services. The goal here is greater stability, reduced maintenance time and greater user satisfaction. We will look to invest in building PlayStation Vue, because we think it has high potential to be a brand new mass market opportunity for our platforms."

House said that based on response to PlayStation original content like television show Powers, it will invest in that segment further, "now that we know that we have the confidence that these are motivating to our user base." The company recently committed to a second season of the superhero show.

Sony will also "invest strongly" in Project Morpheus, the VR add-on for PS4 "as we look to build a brand new business for the future," House said. Project Morpheus is expected to be released in the first half of 2016.

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