Kutaragi: PS3 platform is made for "e-Distribution"

In the third part of PC Impress Watch interview, SCEI's Ken Kutaragi discusses the potential of digitally delivering content to Sony's next-generation console.

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Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi continued to discuss SCEI's plans for the PlayStation 3 in the third part of an interview with Japanese site PC Impress Watch.

At the 1999 Microprocessor Forum, Kutaragi set out a vision of e-Distribution using broadband networks. At that time, most consumers still connected to the Internet with dialup, so that vision was largely ignored. But now Kutaragi stated that Sony will emphasize network features with the Playstation 3. "We really wanted to do this with the PS2," he lamented. "But now, Apple has realized a successful e-Distribution program. It's about time we made our move, too." He continued, "We'll be conducting network services from launch day." He explained why he has steered clear of the e-Distribution topic at conferences. "Talking about our distributors and network services isn't very engaging," he said, "so I didn't mention it at E3."

Regarding the business aspect of the PS3's online components, Sony seems to be taking its cues from the PC. "You can't charge money for network matching and other basic services. These things are just taken for granted on the PC...On the PS3, basic services will be taken for granted while content will be the bread and butter of our business."

Kutaragi does not think it will take long for digitally delivered PS3 content to catch on and gave a time frame of one to two years. With the availability of networked entertainment, it would seem that having optical drives would cease to be important, but Kutaragi goes one step further. "I expect even the hard disk to disappear eventually. If you have all the data on servers, you probably no longer need disk drives...But to do this, the server is crucial. It's a difficult problem."

Kutaragi also predicted the PS3 would be welcomed warmly by an industry trying to cope with falling DVD sales and looking for a successor. He made the further claim that the "PS3 will be the trigger that ignites flat-panel TV sales."

He also discussed the potential of using multiple Cell processors in concert. "Users will be able to connect to Polyphony Digital's server. So I want it to be a Cell server, with the number of Cells at a thousand to several thousand. This would allow us to maintain an entire cyberworld, as long as our power supply holds up."

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