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Sony unveils newest gaming system

NEW YORK — Sony unveiled its next-generation gaming system, PlayStation 4, at an event in New York, saying the console will be part of a new ecosystem focused on hardware, software, and ‘‘the fastest, most powerful gaming network.’’

‘‘Our long-term vision is to reduce download times of digital titles to zero,’’ said Mark Cerny, Sony’s lead system architect on the PS4.

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The new console is the Japanese electronics giant’s first major game machine since the PlayStation 3 in 2006.

Wednesday’s unveiling is Sony Corp.’s attempt to steal the spotlight, at least until Microsoft Corp. unveils its next Xbox in June, as expected, at the E3 video game expo in Los Angeles.

Among the PS4’s revisions is an updated controller that adds a touchpad, motion control, and a ‘‘share’’ button. The controller also features a light bar, which means a new PlayStation camera can more easily track the device.

Sony has struggled lately to keep up with Microsoft and other powerful rivals such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. The company is promising nifty mobile devices, sophisticated digital cameras, and other gadgetry as part of its comeback effort.

The new device arrives amid declines in video game hardware, software, and accessory sales. Research firm NPD Group said game sales fell 22 percent to $13.3 billion in 2012. One reason for the decline, analysts believe: It’s been years since a new game machine was released. Most people who want an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or a Wii already have one. But people also have shifted their attention to games on Facebook, tablet computers, and mobile phones.

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