In a recent interview Sony Computer Entertainment President Kaz Hirai was asked about the PlayStation 4 and future Sony hardware always being planned / developed far ahead and how he feels about always thinking for what comes next despite Sony’s planned ten-year life cycle for the PlayStation 3. While it may seem obvious that if the PS3 sells well, there will be a PS4, it’s an interesting behind-the-scenes view.
Mr. Hirai answered: “Well I think in any given moment, you need to think both short-term – so, what are we doing next fiscal year, how do we grow the current business – but at the same time, you also need to look four or five years out as well. To say, OK, what is the consumer wanting to do in interactive entertainment five years from now, what can we as a platform holder propose, if you will, to the consumers, to say maybe we should so this or that, and make sure that we keep the consumers engaged, and really also make sure that we are leading the market as opposed to following it. So discussions are happening all the time, about both our short term plans – what are we doing this fiscal year, next fiscal year – as well as, what is the world going to look like, what is the landscape going to look like five years from now, or ten years from now.”
This last sentence would be referring to the PlayStation 4 planning. So the Kikizo interviewer asked what happens with the PlayStation brand in this rapidly progressing technology landscape.
Mr. Hirai answered: “I think so, I think so. But at the same time, I think we have proven with two consoles already that when you say it’s a ten-year lifecycle, it’s a ten-year lifecycle. And we have the luxury I think of being able to keep that long lifecycle going, which means that we don’t need to be talking about our next-generation platform, because again we have a very stable [current] platform. And we certainly don’t want to confuse the consumers once again, by talking about something that may or may not happen five years from now. And that’s something we’re talking about and discussing up here [taps his head] in the company, but it’s not something we talk about openly, again for fear of confusing the consumers. And quite honestly, I think the PlayStation 3, we’ve repositioned it, and it’s got quite a long way to go. I mean we’re just starting here.”
I’m glad there are professional interviewers out there. I’d be asking questions like whether or not the PS4 will have the Spider-Man font as well. I mean, aren’t you curious? 😛
Update March 27, 2009: Sony Computer Entertainment has filed a “PS Cloud” trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office. This occurred on the same day the OnLive cloud gaming service was announced, which streams videogames to your TV or PC for direct play without the need for high-end PCs or consoles. It’s unclear whether or not Sony have been working on a similar cloud gaming subscription service or if it’s simply to cover their bases in case cloud gaming is the next big thing. Sony describes the PlayStation Cloud as a provider of “entertainment services, namely, providing an online videogame that users may access through the internet”. Anyone care to guess if they are describing future PS3 or PS4 games streaming to your living room; or simply alternate reality (Xi came out on March 23, coincidence?) and arcade games in Home?