December 19, 2005
PS3 issues? Interview Kaz Hirai
Our dear friend, Kaz Hirai, released some news about Playstation 3.
On being late to market with PS3
“Looking at our history, we’ve never been first to market with any of our products. Saturn was there before the original PlayStation, and Dreamcast was out before the PS2. Plus, there have been so many handhelds before the PSP.
“People, especially people up north on the West Coast, seem to put a lot of credence on being out before the other consoles. If you take a look at when our competitors came out in the market, we had upward of 3 [million] to 5 million PS2 units when our competitors came out with a platform. Consumers adopted our platform because [they like our content] and not because we were first to market. And, first to market, from what we can tell, has never been an advantage.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about the entertainment content that you bring to the consumers, to the PlayStation family of products. We’re going to make sure we’re your family and that we’ll take care of you. The last generation isn’t just going away.”
On higher development costs
“Yes, costs are going to be expensive compared to the last generation, but we bring the three-platform strategy to the table because we’re giving publishers the opportunity to be in a healthy environment that allows them to invest in PS3 development.
“If you expand that out to the other platforms, I don’t know that it holds water. If you’re doing development for the Xbox 360, how much are you going to be able to advertise that or get support from the back end with revenue that you may get from current-generation titles. That’s questionable. But if you look at the PlayStation business, we’re providing that one solution that allows for good revenue on the PS2 and PSP that allows people to go spend it on PS3 development.”
On PlayStation’s responsibility within the Sony group
“If you look at Sony’s financial reporting in ’95, we were bunched together in the “other” category, so it was a small blip on a lot of people’s radar. Now, it’s gotten to be such a big business for everyone that if you don’t plan, strategize, and execute, then the margin of error or the gap you might face is tremendous to the extent that you might have a huge impact. The videogame business has a significant impact on the overall bottom line for Sony, which has an impact on share prices, so I think the business has had to mature.”
On non-gaming functionality within PlayStation hardware
” We’ve talked about these machines, first and foremost, as a great way to play interactive entertainment. With that, we’ve coupled other functionalities-functionalities that not only looked good on paper but also brought something to the consumers. Take DVD playback on the PS2-more than 90 percent of all PS2 users actually play DVDs on their PS2s as well. If you take a look at the number of motion picture titles that sell through on the UMD video side of the business, that’s a feature that consumers have embraced. It’s not just some feature on a sell sheet. Having said all of that, the core is all about compelling interactive entertainment. If you don’t have that, then the other functionality they may have gets diluted as well.”
On online gaming
“Online is going to be like air conditioning in a car. I can’t imagine any car without it. We showed that online in the PS2 generation isn’t going to be the end, but it’s become a more integral part of the experience, and I think we’ve proven that. If you look at the latest metrics, SOCOM 3 has done some staggering numbers.”
On the violence debate
” The mainstream media still looks at the business as something for under 12-year-olds. As we know, nothing could be further from the truth. Just like in books or motion pictures, there’s right entertainment content for different demographics. We’ve gone out of our way in explaining the rating system. We evolved it a lot quicker than other industries. We’ve done a lot of different things. The ESRB and the ESA have been very proactive as well, and I think it’s come a long way.”
sounds boring, doesn’t it?