Can Sony Steal Hype From Microsoft Tonight?

While Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) ramps up efforts to compete with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) on one end of its business, Sony (NYSE:SNE) rears up to pounce in the game console market. A special event tonight by Sony could see the new PlayStation unveiled and be bad news for Microsoft’s Xbox.

Despite more powerful hardware and a free online service, Sony’s PS3 still fell short of the Xbox 360′s sales, while both were beat by the more novel Wii from Nintendo. Microsoft has enhanced its edge on Sony with advanced features for its online network.

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Sony is in a tight spot as it struggles with mobile and camera sales, and it may have to offer the next PlayStation at prices below initial production costs in order to gain traction in the market. Sony may have some money to work with as it expects $1.4 billion in operating profit for the current fiscal year, though much of that may be coming from offloading real estate…