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CEO: PlayStation Network growth recovers after hack

Howard Stringer is bullish about the PSN's new membership, defiant about his tablet rivalry with Apple, and happy with the company's holistic product approach.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer took a defiant tone at a press conference at IFA.
Sony CEO Howard Stringer took a defiant tone at a press conference at IFA.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

BERLIN--The PlayStation Network, Sony's hacker-beleaguered online gameplay system, has recovered from its earlier woes and is growing again, Chief Executive Howard Stringer said today.

"I'm pleased to tell you that the PSN is more secure and better than ever," Stringer said at a news conference at the IFA electronics show here. "We are aggressively expanding its content. We have more than 3 million new customers since the network came back online, and sales are exceeding what we had before the cyberattacks."

Stringer gave the impression he was trying to take the offensive in his short but defiant speech.

"This year, we at Sony have been flooded, we've been flattened, we've been hacked, we've been singed," he said. "But the summer of our discontent is behind us."

That wasn't the only Shakespeare phrase he mangled. "The past is a prologue to future possibility," he said, before launching into a list of new products Sony announced at the press conference.

Sony is in the midst of an internal revamp to tie its products and services more closely together--a holistic strategy few rivals can match at least on paper given the breadth of Sony's electronics products and its video and music business.

"Yes, yes, Apple makes an iPad, but does it make movies?" Stringer asked. "Warner Bros. and Fox produce fine movies, but what about their cameras and smartphones? Sony is where art meets technology."

A strong global brand and a broad portfolio are great, but it's not a guarantee of success. Apple is perhaps the best illustration of chinks in Sony's armor. Stringer joined the list of executives who believe Google's Android operating system will help others take on Apple. In particular, he touted the company's two new Android tablets.

"We want to prove it's not who makes it first that counts, but who makes it better," Stringer said.

Part of Sony's holistic approach is evident in the new Sony Entertainment Network, which unifies video, music, and PlayStation Network services under a single umbrella. More services will come, too.