Sony's Hirai Talks Shop About PS3

Kaz Hirai, president of Sony North America, clarified some positions and gave his assessment of the PS3’s future in statements made to Kikizo at the Tokyo Game Show this week.

When the PS3 was unveiled at this year,s E3 convention in May, many were stunned to discover that the controller rumble feedback feature, so thoroughly ingrained in the culture of PlayStation gaming, was missing and replaced by a motion diction system. Sony took some hard hits regarding this decision and explained that the rumble feature was left out because of the technical difficulty in joining the two technologies together-the motion sensing with the vibration feedback. Most observers speculated that the real reason for the omission was due to a lawsuit brought on by Immersion Corp., the patent holders of the rumble feature, against Sony for patent infringement.

Hirai offered his explanation for the missing rumble feature as a result of economics-making the vibration feedback and motion-sensing work together would have been too expensive for the consumer. Hirai said, “…the balancing act is being able to present the controller to the consumer at an affordable price. If we can come up with technology that we can technically do…that means the controller will be so expensive, then we,re doing the consumer a huge disservice by coming up with a controller that is not very affordable.”

“We felt that ultimately, the vibration feature, which is a feedback feature as compared to the motion sensing, which is an input functionality, when you compare the two, we just decided that the input …methodology is a lot more important then feedback and that’s a strategic decision that we made.”

Hirai was asked about the possibility of the PS3,s Blu-ray DVD player not coming in as the leader for next-gen DVD players and how this would affect the PS3 as a media entertainment device. Hirai was unfazed and spoke confidently that his main objective was the PS3,s success.

Hirai stated, “The most important thing from where I stand is really establishing the PS3 as a next generation interactive entertainment format that happens to use a storage medium called Blu-ray. The more [of an] installed [user] base we can create, the more acceptance we can create in the consumers. My mission in life is to establish the PS3, and not necessarily Blu-ray. My priorities are somewhat different from other parts of Sony who are tasked with establishing Blu-ray as a format and not necessarily PS3. And that’s the beauty of a format like Blu-ray that has two faces; one as a game format and another as a movie storage format.”

A great deal of speculation has surfaced since the announcement by Sony that they will have less PS3,s for launch in Japan and the US then first expected. In addition, many observers were surprised that the European launch of the PS3 will be postponed until next year. Hirai assured that Sony was doing everything possible to get enough units out to the consumers and the strategy of delaying the European launch was concentrate on the US and Japanese markets.

Hirai said, “We’re going to do everything we can to get as many units into the hands of the consumers as possible for launch and obviously, heading into the holiday season as well. We’re going to make sure that we ramp up production…and that’s one of the reasons why we strategically decided to delay the European launch so we could concentrate and focus more on the Japanese market and also the North American market.”

Hirai then summed things up by expressing his vision for the future of the PS3. “The most important thing for us again…is being able to bring compelling software that really keeps the platform vibrant and fresh for the long term so that six years from now, seven years from now, we have a strong platform that the consumers will really embrace and enjoy for a long period of time.”

The PS3 is scheduled for launch in the US on November 17.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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