Kutaragi: Sony aims to emulate Apple with PS3

SCE president says his company is aiming for iPod-like iconic status for its next-gen console and will focus on hardware and PC-like functionality.

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Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi went in depth on SCEI's business model and strategy during the second part of an interview with Japanese site PC Impress Watch.

Clarifying Sony's business model for the PlayStation 3, Kutaragi said Sony would be diverging from the traditional model of hardware, content, and royalties--which he referred to as a product of "the Nintendo era." He stated that in regards to the PS3, "our message is clear: hardware is our business." Rather than selling hardware at a loss and compensating with royalties, Sony plans to make the PS3 "a common platform, on which top programmers can realize their full potential."

On the other hand, he confirmed that Sony has no plans to stop releasing first-party software and will continue the policy it has followed for the PlayStation 2. "[With the PS2] we're putting out a considerable amount of content. But we don't step on third-party companies' toes; it's more of a friendly rivalry."

Regarding the PS3's high sticker price, Kutaragi explained it was all a matter of brand perception. "Steve Jobs could slap an Apple logo on the PS3 and sell them for $2,000 each," he said. "We couldn't do that. That's the difference between the PlayStation brand and a computer brand, like Apple." He also expressed Sony's wish to make "PlayStation" a byword for "entertainment computer."

He further emphasized the PS3's PC-like abilities, stating there would be no problems running popular flavors of OS, including Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X: "to the PS3, an OS is like any other application." However, he added that "I think that perhaps you'll see a general purpose Cell [built-in] OS." Previously, the company has said that the PS3 hard drive would come with a Linux-based OS preinstalled.

Kutaragi also expressed his desire that the PS3 should enter the household and form its own "ecosystem" as Apple products have managed to do in the past. "More than Microsoft," he said, "Apple is closer to our vision [for the PS3]." Although SCEI and Apple are not in competition now, Kutaragi rules out nothing in the future. "Jobs loves computers. It's only natural that our visions should overlap."

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