Hirai suggests PS4 more than five years away

The president of SCEA addresses the life span of Sony's next console, the possibility (or lack thereof) of a Blu-ray-less PS3, and the dangers of people buying the system just to watch movies.

This holiday season, few consumer electronics categories are being watched more closely than that of video game consoles.

Both Sony and Nintendo plan to release their next- generation consoles, the PlayStation 3 and Wii, respectively. Yet, with prices as high as $600, the PS3 is clearly aiming for the high end, while the Wii is targeting more casual gamers with prices expected to be well below $300.

Meanwhile, both companies must contend with Microsoft and its Xbox 360, which has a yearlong head start and therefore a commanding lead in the next-generation race. Still, Sony has always maintained that its console cycles are 10 years, rather than the five considered the industry standard. That's why, even as the market readies for the PS3 launch, the PlayStation 2 is still selling like gangbusters. And it should continue to do so for some time, as Sony has committed to the PS2 for at least another four years.

In a few weeks, much of the video game industry will descend upon Tokyo for the annual Tokyo Game Show. But for the time being, the focus is on Germany, where the Leipzig Game Convention is being held. So, for companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and publishers like Electronic Arts and Activision, there is no break in sight. Sony Computer Entertainment of America president Kaz Hirai talked with CNET News.com about the forthcoming PS3 launch (parts of this article refer to comments Hirai made earlier this month in an interview with GameSpot).

CNET: Can you provide an update on the PlayStation 3?

Hirai: The PlayStation 3 will launch in the North American market on November 17. Things are pretty much moving according to plan.

CNET: How does a scaled-down Electronic Entertainment Expo affect a company like yours? Was it a good thing to institute some changes in the format, or were you happy with the way it had been?

Hirai: E3 has about a 10-year, 11-year history, if I'm not mistaken. I think it's grown to a point where it became just such a massive show that we needed to take a look at what we were trying to accomplish with the show. We needed to see how effectively we can accomplish those goals. I think it was pretty much across the board in agreement that we should revise or relook at how E3 is structured.

CNET: Beyond the pricing and availability of the PlayStation 3, one of the big pieces of news from this year's E3 was more information about Nintendo's new console, the Wii. There were rumors that the Wii would be priced for less than $250. How did that affect the PlayStation 3?

Hirai: The pricing that we announced for the PlayStation 3 is a price that ultimately offers fantastic value to the consumers. I think that we are offering a very good value for the consumers. We look at our products having a 10-year life cycle, which we've proven with the PlayStation. Therefore, the PlayStation 3 is going to be a console that's going to be with you again for 10 years. We're not going to ask the consumers to suddenly buy another PlayStation console in five years' time and basically have their investment go by the wayside. So for all those reasons, I think at $599 we're offering a very good value to the consumers.

CNET: Are you saying that there won't be a PlayStation 4 within five years?

Hirai: Well, I think that if you look at the history of the way we've managed our console business, we always try to hit a 10-year life cycle. I can't speculate on when we might come out with a new console after PlayStation 3. But my message is that once you become a family in the PlayStation family of products, you become a family member. We make sure that we take care of you.

CNET: Going back to the question of the Nintendo console, it seems like its pricing is significantly lower than what the PlayStation 3, or the Xbox 360, will cost. Any concern that Nintendo's Wii pricing will undercut the market as people decide which console they want to buy?

Hirai: Some consumers will compare features or software offerings and decide that they may want to go with a different console. You also have to realize that we have a very strong, market-leading console called the PlayStation 2, which is at a very affordable price right now. Consumers will also understand that if you buy a PlayStation 2 right now, and you make some software investments, when you feel it's right to move onto PlayStation 3, those software titles aren't going to go by the wayside. Consumers will take that into consideration. I don't think price is the only determining factor when consumers make a choice in looking at their console purchase decisions.

CNET: Is there a danger that some consumers will buy PlayStation 3 just for the Blu-ray player and not the games?

Hirai: Consumers are going to look at the totality of what we offer in the PlayStation 3. Even if there was a consumer who decided to buy the PlayStation 3 perhaps as a Blu-ray player, I think that they will quickly realize the potential and the entertainment value of the fantastic content in true [high definition]. Any consumer would be hard pressed really not to try that functionality out.

CNET: Given the differences in pricing, which is fairly significant between Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, are there any chances of a PlayStation 3 down the line that doesn't have Blu-ray built in?

Hirai: The PlayStation 3 uses the Blu-ray as its storage medium for both games and for movies as well. We wanted to take advantage of the storage capacity that Blu-ray offers in terms of motion pictures and other content, but most importantly, for games as well. Our decision to include the Blu-ray player from day one in all of our PlayStation 3s was the right decision and, quite honestly, the only decision we can make.

Look at the massive amounts of data that's required to provide a truly immersive gaming experience in true HD. If you only have a DVD ROM drive, which can only go up to about 9GB or so, you're going to end up with a game that's going to have two or possibly even three discs. And then you're going to have to ask consumers to swap discs out or cache all the game onto the hard drive, which I think is an inconvenience--not to mention the fact that you're going to fill up a 20GB hard drive very quickly with some of these games. So trying to go without a Blu-ray drive in the PlayStation 3 really is a nonstarter.

CNET: There's been talk recently about production of the PlayStation 3--why hasn't production begun already?

Hirai: We haven't officially announced production on the PlayStation 3 just yet. But we are on track to deliver 2 million units for the launch period on a worldwide basis that we announced at E3. We are going to make sure that those units get out into the market.

CNET: It looks like there could be some shortages, particularly for the holiday season, even with the 2 million by the launch date and 4 million by the end of the year. So what do you say to consumers who are not going to be able to get ahold of one if they do want one?

Hirai: We are going to make every effort possible to make sure that we get as many units out into the market in the major territories as well as some of the smaller territories that we're launching in.

CNET: Have there been any sort of business lessons about filling customer demands and production issues from the things that Microsoft has dealt with regarding the Xbox 360?

Hirai: We don't really look at what our competition did or didn't do. We've had shortages in the past, and there is no guarantee that we will never have a shortage again in the future. But I think that we've learned many lessons over the years that allow us to look at production schedules, look at parts procurement, look at ways of shortening the lead time from the point of manufacture to ultimately getting the product into the retailers' shelves and into the hands of consumers. We're doing everything we can to make sure that we have the most efficient way of getting the product into the market.

CNET: By the time the holiday season moves around, Microsoft will have a yearlong head start. Not only does it have the head start in the console race, but it also has a year's advantage on coming out with new accessories really bolstering its online offerings. What is Sony's take? How can Sony keep up with that?

Hirai: If you look back in history, I think everybody realizes that we've never been first to bring a console to the market. PlayStation was not first and PlayStation 2 was not first to market. As a matter of fact, PlayStation Portable was not first to market in the portable space and PlayStation 3, as you mentioned, is not the first to market either.

It comes down to several things. One is the kind of software experience that the consumers will expect out of a next-generation console. I think we're going to be delivering that, both in terms of the lineup of PlayStation 3s as well as the fact that we're offering true HD gaming. We're also launching a console that doesn't require upgrades as you go along. Right out of the box it will play Blu-ray movies in true HD as well as old games. As far as accessories go, that's really a function of what kind of accessories you need to play or enjoy a particular game.

CNET: How many titles will you have by launch and how many by year's end?

Hirai: That's hard to try to pin down at this point. Everybody is looking at their entire portfolio of software offerings, and I think that the lineup of titles really is something that won't be locked down most likely until three to four weeks before launch.

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MarioMainic
MarioMainic

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Visckous
Visckous

Well, they were actually using only 70% of the PS2's true capabilities, and it's pretty sad that they made the PS3 to compete with the XBox 360. One good thing about the PS3 is that it can play all it's former games. PS1 and PS2 games. Now they've realised that the PS3 has much more capabilities than first expected. By the looks of it, I hope that will use the thing to its full potential, not use it half-way like the PS2. Otherwise, there will be alot of unhappy customers out there. Sony looks as though it's out to con people's money. People are just buying their PS3 s, and now they're talking about launching the PS4 in 2010??? Come on Sony, if Microsoft launches a new console it doesn't mean that you got to follow suit and compete!

Spyder25000
Spyder25000

Microsoft should work on Software more, i mean look at vista is like so XP with new theme, filled with bugs So image the same think witht teh 360 and the next one Playstion is a family, unlike M$ who just want ur money! i mean Halo the book, halo the moive? Im no PS or MS or NIN fan i like my computer but if i had the money the PS3 would be the choice folled by the Wii, folled by a N64 then a SEGA then a Xbox360 How dose MS rock? its just a rushed machine, and all ur problems u hvae with it (ring of doom: green screen) and the noise it makes How is the PS3 a disgrace? It never brakes down, some can play 360 games XD on the PS3. Its silent, Blue ray (which is winning) silent

davor_25
davor_25

'' 5 years?nooooooo'' wtf are u dumb or what?if they released ps every 2 years what would that look like?just think about it idiot the longer we wait that better...well unless we wait over 6 years

joeyboy690
joeyboy690

ok, the year of the ps3 release was november 17th 2006 the year is 2008 the ps4 should be out around christmas time 2010.

nevermind555
nevermind555

im a kid and i hate wii but like xbox 360

darkprince99
darkprince99

LISTEN PEOPLE !!! i love all the next-gen consoles but i like the ps3 more . well THATS MY OPINION and i dont care about anybody who complains about a next-gen console as long as im happy with what i have i wouldnt tell someone that your ps3 sucks or your X360 sucks or whatever and honestly i think that wii is for kids but its still nice and thats my opinion dont take it seriously. sony despite what u say about it has a lot of money so it dosent care about what u think as long as people buy its products they will be happy and THATS THAT.

Big-Rick
Big-Rick

Imagine what's gonna be PS4 will look like O_o

MB00133063
MB00133063

HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT jacash3492!!!!!!!...................but the ps3 is kind of a BIG DISGRACE!!!!!!!

MB00133063
MB00133063

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jacash3492
jacash3492

The PS3 is a disgrace. I can't imagine how bad the PS4 will look!

AsymiPhoenix
AsymiPhoenix

Well, that's the tragedy of the internet. People are prompted (most likely by the condition of modern education) to believe whatever they read. If it is in writing, then it has credibility. And the internt lets anyone write their opinion in an open, viewable forum, no matter how uneducated, unsympathetic, ignorant, idiotic, biased, or misinformed they are. They only thing you can do is learn to separate and appreciate the well-thought out comments and ignore the bad.

assassinX01
assassinX01

No one, and i mean no one, cares about PS4 right now. There aren't people out there thinking "gee, i think ill wait 6 years to get a new system." Enough of this talk about what comes next, and just solidify what is here right now.

Thadder
Thadder

Thanks a lot for posting that, dragkill. I completely 100% agree with you there and I hope many others, when they read your post, will fell the same way. Go and read dragkill's post everyone, it's brilliant.

ff7isnumbaone
ff7isnumbaone

LOL @ all those Sony haters. Sony is a smart company and even if their products aren't that great people will still buy it. So Ps3 is going to be good anyways. Majority of the gamers aren't gonna by ps3 at first but they will eventually. Sony has a history of having good games for system so 360 needs to step their game up. which explains why they took ahead start.

overcode
overcode

@bern20: Ah, always some xbox junky in the PS3 area. If you've never gone back to Playstation then why are you reading PS3 related articles? Worried about your soon-to-be-obsolete 360? Lmao. I'm not worried about the Blu-ray format at all. Even if the format fails for movies all PS3 games will be on Blu-ray so it will still be used for the lifetime of the machine.

XBOXSUCKS847
XBOXSUCKS847

Why blu-ray? its not because of disc swapping or any of that, yes it holds a lot of space but it also runs 1080p for people who are planning on buying an hdtv..sony wants to be on another level for graphics so that the great games play and look better..idk how long hd dvd will last dual layer cds didnt do so well.

War-Tex
War-Tex

5 years.....NOOOO!!!

darkdaej
darkdaej

if the sole redeeming feature of spending half the cost of the unit on the blu-ray drive is that I won't need to swap discs mid-game, well, i dunno, isnt is a bit...excessive? I am not averse to changing discs every once in a while, what I hate is being forced to buy a format that hasnt proven anything yet. this IS betamax all over again...

bern20
bern20

The only people that are going to buy this thing are true loyal Playstation fans that have stuck with it for ten years. I for one when I switched to Xbox I never went back to Playstation.

ssjtrunks6
ssjtrunks6

Dragkill is right, no one really agrees too much with other peoples opinion.. but yes I already own the 360, and I play on owning the ps3 and the wii, not now, but some time later... when I had bought the 360 I was not stressed on money, and now I have to use my money for bill, and utilities, ect. but If I didnt, I would just have so save some money for about 3 months, and I would have enough to buy the ps3, and save for 4 months I could have enough for the ps3 and the wii, I plan to buy the ps3 first, because of the games that are coming out for it not because I like it more than the wii.. I will be getting them both.. I want them all

joshterd31
joshterd31

i think that you should buy what u want but im buying the ps3. it might be alot of money but it is going to last alot longer then the other systems. and it has blue ray.

dragkill
dragkill

"I think we should all just buy what we like, but just don't talk **** about other systems. I think we can all agree that everyone here would love to have every next-gen console there is at home. Just be happy with what you've got, and respect each others opinion and choice. Or just get a life." Very, very sadly, no one is gonna respect each others opinions that easily. People out are either just gonna bash a system, or just bash at other people. It comes down to that for either a game, or a system. People are just stubborn in general, it's just how stubborn you are, and quite frankly, alot of people are very stubborn when they like one thing, and another thing that is very similar to it they will most likely be weary of it. Look at ratings for one thing, where it's a person's opinion on something, and so far some people in the community has taken that as it being a "fact" in their heads, rather than even trying the thing out. Along with that, people are also taking bashes at different companies, like everyone who works at the company is a jerk or whatnot, cause they didn't get their complaint about the item. Or, a game to them sucks, cause they thing the people that developed it were "lazy" or whatnot. Basically what i'm saying is that, the idea of everyone respecting something is, is very likely not going to happen, but it WOULD be nice. =)

john1912
john1912

I find it funny they pulled out this 10 year console life span. They are really grasping at straws there. The only electronics that Ive owned and use over a ten year preiod are a TV, and a clock radio. If they are pusing that as a reason for the price tag they are in trouble.

mega_egg
mega_egg

the ps3 will be the best ever

agustin2489
agustin2489

I'm sorry to say it. They can puff up their chests all they want but they will be facing serious profit shortfalls in the long run. Sony is making this a fiasco even before the events happened. Hirai also keeps on deflecting the juicy questions that people want to know the answers to. He's like a politician, answering vaguely while not even taking a side.

bodypart
bodypart

Read this- CNET: "Have there been any sort of business lessons about filling customer demands and production issues from the things that Microsoft has dealt with regarding the Xbox 360?" - Hirai: "We don't really look at what our competition did or didn't do." That has gotta to be the most stupid thing I ever heard... Ofcourse they were looking. I remember hearing somthing like this but by someone from MircoSoft and I wouldnt be shocked if Nintendo have made some silly comments aswel. Some people must think the world is full of Idiots.

blank36
blank36

nakasa5- I do watch MTV and I'm in the best UNIVERSITY in the UNIVERSE (yes, I'm so much better then you) and I AM the SMARTEST man ALIVE! anyways, I seriously think PS3 is gonna kick the A$$ out of every other console when its finally released. the games being released w/ and future releases for the PS3 look so frikin awesome! I can't wait, yay! =D also, I AM a GENIUS! politics, WOOOOT! *throws up*

rad_2xl
rad_2xl

right people will buy a PS3 just to watch movies. right. lol

Chief9088
Chief9088

Candy corn.......................... ok now that i got that out of the way i would like to say that..... All consoles = PWNAGE... they just expressit diffrantly..

XBOXSUCKS847
XBOXSUCKS847

wow some people are so dumb on these posts...ok no politics because if anything you gotta talk about economics..and the ps3 with blu ray vs a 360 and hd dvd is better because the 499 ps3 will be cheaper. they wont just hand a hd dvd player over for 100, its not that simple. and the level of graphics, well i thought ps3 edged it a little until i saw some pics for fight night 3 for the ps3 which shows some differences..i think they were on ign. anyway like someone said earlier on this post buy what you want and be happy. 1080p>1080i This so called number 1 game is just like every other shooter out there you save the world from destruction and you get to have a fancy gun in my opinion Halo and Halo 2 are exactly the same and nothing new or innovative about it. ....Best comment ive read lol

X-chuck
X-chuck

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

deadskies
deadskies

Looks good, I am defintly gettinga PS3, just not right away. But I think it's a good value but a bit expensive for people, just like alienware computers.

me729
me729

jackel_lantern That is a pretty stupid statement considering how much money Sony has spent on research and development of the PS3.

pupuran
pupuran

Nakasa5, if you're so tired of arguing politics when(ever) you come onto this site, then maybe you should start actually knowing what you're talking about, and no one would have any reason to argue. Just you admitting that you go through these kinds of dialogues with other people proves that you aren't properly informed about politics, hence, the uprise of arguments. And good for you, you're in a University, but just because you're an 18yr old freshman in Political Science doesn't grant you more knowledge than an Art major like myself. The major doesn't make the person, his intelligence does. And I happen to absolutely *LOVE* reading about the world around me, cultures, foods, social issues, economy, politics, governments, foreign languages like German, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, etc, and queer/minority issues. And this so called Pedestal i'm on...well, you gave it to me to stand on. I really respect Duffer01, because his post really reflects his intelligence. He's someone you can learn from... His observance about majors and comparison between "high" and "low" quality universities and the graduates it produces really shows how knowledgable he is. So you're tired of arguing politics? Then why not start learning politics instead of creating a mess out of yourself by talking one-sided perspectives like, "we liberated the country of 'X'."...coming from a country that raped the natives and stole their land. In all fairness, though, I love living here in my state of California,...and i guess my country, too...but not what it's becoming, and there's a huge difference between hating your country, and hating what it's becoming. So, for once, you're right...we should stop arguing politics. Clearly, it was my mistake and I should've just left your opinions as they were. Afterall, what kind of example would I be for dismissing your unimformed opinions about politics, yet claim that I'm open-minded. So let's get back to videogame debates, instead of governmental politics.

KLTREHH2
KLTREHH2

ps3 is an amazing machine that will blow everyones mind, my believe is that the ps4 would be far better than any computer game, or any other console that will be available in the market. Holding power far greater than a computer, which the ps3 has already achieved, the ps4 would be no different the ideas and imagination of sony corp. are truly incredible and amazing, they have proved to the entire world that their imagination of technology and achieving their goals have been an inspiration to developing new greater machines.

me729
me729

Compare the two when they're actually competing. And what's with the BS politics crap!!! We're supposed to be talking about games. Nobody cares what your political views are and nobody cares that you're in a "university". Dumbass people like you shouldn't be posting. And policital science isn't a career-- it's a BS excuse to go to college and is simply a waste of time. It's like going to school for physical education-- couldn't find a real major so let's pick something that you can never get a job with. Going back to the beginning of my post-- let's wait and see what happens when all 3 are competing again. I think all of them have the potential to be good and will all have different games to offer. Although the 360's been out for over a year it hasn't been all good for them with the shortages they had for 6 months after launch. PS3 will probably be the hardest to develop for -- but the same happened with the PS2-- the developers have to find the tricks to continue improving on their efforts. Even though it hasn't launched yet-- the PS3 does have some good looking games like Heavenly Sword and Resistance: Fall of Man. PS2's launch didn't have much of well polished games but I think that will be different this time. The 360 already has some good games on the shelf-- but I question how much improvement it can make over time. Different types of games for different people also-- some people don't play RPG's or sports games, etc. Let's stop speculating and just wait and see what happens. And by the way-- competition is always good for all gamers so let's hope that keeps going. Because unlike M$ that is basically a monopoly in the PC industry-- it's not even close to that here.

LittleYoshi
LittleYoshi

I agree with you Kroondijkie. About 5 to 6 years from now there will be a PS4! I need a job.

Kroondijkie
Kroondijkie

I think that a lot of xbox 360 owners are getting desperate, beceause theye al ready both a 360, so thaye can't buy a ps3 anymore. I think we should all just buy whta we like, but just don't talk **** about other systems. I think we can all agree that everyone here would love to have every next-gen console there is at home. Just be happy with what you've got, and respect each others opinion and choice. Or just get a life.

ssjtrunks6
ssjtrunks6

Whoa.... some of you guys really get into this, I mean really get into this, those are some of the longest posts Ive ever seen members put up, just considering this news is about something that wont happen for a long time, that is alot of stuff to add and type down... I get serious about games, but not THIS serious...its not bad or anything, I just dont see whats the point in putting this my effort in something that does not matter at the time.

Duffer01
Duffer01

nakasa5, you are a political science major. you think that makes you more proficient in matters of politics? The current right wing government of the US has many members who have attended the best (most expensive) universities and have qualified with superior qualifications than you and yet they are some of the most naive and arrogent people in existence. You sound like one of their blindly patriotic followers.