Sony president interview about the PS3 launch and PSP downloads

19 August 2006
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Sony PlayStation 3Sony Computer Entertainment president, Kaz Hirai, mentions in an interview this week that the PlayStation 3 will win the next-generation console wars. He also talks about the PS3 launch on November 17th, as well as PSP and PS3 online plans.

GS: So is the PS3 already being manufactured?
KH: We haven’t started manufacturing yet. Some of our ops guys were actually just in China, and also in Japan just reviewing the [production] lines and everything else. But they are, again, preparing as we speak to get the manufacturing going. We’ve not announced and we haven’t set really a specific date.

GS: How many games do you plan to have available at launch?
KH: That sort of list will probably not be finalized until a month before launch, give or take. I think it’s too early to say at this point in time which games definitively are going to be launch titles, and I certainly can’t speak for the third parties.

GS: Now, moving onto the PlayStation Network Platform, is that going to be online on November 17th when the PS3 launches?
KH: The plan is to take the console online on November 17th as we launch and I also assume as we launch in Japan on November 11th.

GS: So the service will be available immediately?
KH: Correct.

GS: Talking about “entertainment.” Sony is in kind of an enviable position because you guys have a great library of TV properties, film properties, and music properties, whereas Microsoft doesn’t. Can we expect to see movies, music, and TV shows being distributed on the PlayStation network?
KH: You’re absolutely right about the assets that the Sony Group brings in terms of entertainment content. We definitely plan, and will leverage a lot (if not most) of the entertainment content that Sony brings. Having said that though, we want to make sure that we’re not just suddenly becoming a vehicle for delivering Sony entertainment content only. At the end of the day, people don’t distinguish between a movie that’s from Sony Pictures, or Twentieth Century Fox, or Paramount, or Warner Bros. I don’t want to be in a situation where all we have is Sony products, and I’d much rather make sure that we have a well-rounded portfolio of software offerings or title offerings from a variety of different studios. If that means that we have to wait whatever time it takes to make sure that we’re satisfied with the portfolio.

GS: Now speaking of content delivery to a Sony platform, I know that there have been a lot of questions about the Connect service for the PSP. And I was kind of wondering what the status was of that. I know at CES a Sony executive mentioned it was going to go online in March, I believe? There was going to be downloadable television shows and music and whatnot for your PSP.
KH: Right.

GS: Will that happen this year?
KH: We are still hard at work on the download service for PSP. And again, we want to make sure that what we’re offering is something that we can be happy with as opposed to something that’s just put together for the sake of getting something out there as quickly as possible. That applies both for the audio side as well as the video side as well.

GS: Now, in regards to the PlayStation One games that PSP owners can download, will we see that this year?
KH: The plan is to bring that this year, as close to launch as possible, as we start embarking on our online initiative. Again, the sooner we can bring that, those titles out to the market, the better. Obviously, we certainly are not going to have 1,200 titles come out at once.

GS: Of course.
KH: You also need to realize that some of the games just don’t translate well onto a PSP environment, games that require the use of the two analog sticks, for example. That requires some thinking as to how you want to do that in a PSP environment. So there are some limitations from that perspective as well. But the plan is really to have something day one, or as close to day one as we can.

GS: Right. Now you mentioned the PSP hardware. Now obviously there have been rumors about a PSP hardware redesign. Will Sony have any news on that front anytime soon?
KH: No, right now we’re comfortable with what we have. I mean, you probably have seen some of the numbers that were included in the Q1 earnings report from Sony Corporation and as far as the platforms go. Between PlayStation, PS2 and PSP, the PSP happens to be the fastest-growing product we’ve ever launched. I think we cleared 20 million units worldwide within the first what, about 18 months or so. And in the US, we’ve already cleared 5.2 million. Again, it’s only been in the market a year and five months, so we’re obviously very happy with the technology we’ve packed into the current PSP, and we don’t have any plans to redesign the PSP at this point in time.

GS: The other question is, of course, a possible PSP price drop. Is that going to happen this year?
KH: Again, there are no adjustments on the horizon as far as PSP goes. We’re happy with the pricing, we’re happy with the value proposition and we also just recently introduced what we call the Core Packs. I think that’s a great value proposition to the consumer. So we have no plans to revisit the price at this point in time.


Categories: Interviews, News

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Ferry Groenendijk By Ferry Groenendijk: He is the founder and editor of Video Games Blogger. He loved gaming from the moment he got a Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. on his 8th birthday. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and at Google+.

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