PS3 support to continue through at least 2015

PlayStation VP of hardware marketing John Koller says Sony will support aging console as long as development scene is running; claims $270 price point for new model a result of consumers' call for value.

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The PlayStation 3 isn't going away anytime soon. PlayStation VP of hardware marketing John Koller told GameSpot this week that Sony will continue to support the aging console until at least 2015, and possibly longer, provided the development scene continues to exist.

Elsewhere in the interview, Koller defended the new PS3 model's $270 price point--above the current $250 entry level unit--saying gamers have called for value, and claiming Sony is coming through with its new bundle.

John Koller.
John Koller.

He also took time to explain why Dust 514 is included in the bundle. He dodged a question regarding it being a test of the community's eagerness for free-to-play console games for this generation and the next, but said it will be "interesting to watch the adoption rate."

Koller also commented on leaked images of the new PS3 model spoiling Sony's formal announcement this week. He said leaks of this nature are not problematic for Sony (even though the same thing happened in 2009), adding that "people love talking."

The PlayStation 2 saw two redesigns. Now the PS3 is at three. Can you talk about why the increase over last gen?

There's not a particular reason of why there's one more. We look at opportunities to iterate and look at the demographics that are coming into the market. We see an opportunity right now, just with what's happening with other products and other technology items, that's more streamlined and efficient model that fits well in an entertainment center. So for us this was the right iteration. The other strategy is that…we look at the market over the past few years and saw a real rush of price points and gift cards and retail price promotions…and our consumers kept telling us "give us games, give us content." And so that's why you're seeing the Uncharted 3 250 GB bundle kick off.

"We have seen a very high interest rate from Xbox 360 consumers wanting to purchase a second console."

The new model is going for $270, and this is above the current $250 base model. We are presumably at the tail end of the PS3's life cycle, so why is the price for this entry level unit going up?

The consumers have said "give us value." And so it's a $70 consumer value when you get Uncharted 3 Game of the Year…and Dust 514 with $30 extra DLC coming in. Out of the box you get an immediate gaming experience. So we were answering the consumer call there. We feel very good about the position…and we feel the full-time bundle opportunity is the right path to take.

This new model is 25 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter. Is that correct?

Yes.

Can you talk about power consumption? Is that less, too?

Power consumption is 190 watts. I think we're down a little bit. It's a more efficient unit. It has a different fan, which allowed us to shrink down the overall size of the shell.

Uncharted 3 is included in the bundle. Do you think though that there is a significant enough market that hasn't already purchased this game?

Yeah, absolutely. We're selling Uncharted 3 now with hardware. Most likely that consumer is not a PS3 owner yet. We have seen a very high interest rate from Xbox 360 consumers wanting to purchase a second console. We've held up Uncharted 3 as our flagship product over the last year and it's a good opportunity for those types of consumers to come over and own a second console in their household. We saw the same kind of thing happen in reverse during the PS2 years when a lot of PS2 consumers said they wanted to get an Xbox because of Halo and some other games. So we think the strategy works and it's a good one.

Koller believes there remains a significant market for 2011's Uncharted 3.
Koller believes there remains a significant market for 2011's Uncharted 3.

The other thing, when you look at Uncharted 3, yes, we have a very strong install base of Uncharted 3 players, but when you look at the broader PlayStation 3 base, there's still a lot who haven't played it. So even those PS3 owners who increasingly are saying they want to buy a second PS3, in all likelihood a lot of those consumers are probably going to get a game they haven't played. So we feel good. Even if they have played [Uncharted 3], they're getting Dust 514 with a lot of extra DLC.

Dust 514 certainly looks interesting. I've been tracking it. But it doesn't have the mass market appeal of something like Uncharted 3. Why did you choose to include [Dust 514] in the bundle over something else?

We wanted to provide some diversity. You have one frontline title [Uncharted 3] that clearly is one of the top games in the industry, and then you have one that is maybe a little different. It's free-to-play, and it'll be interesting to see adoption there. We received a lot of interest from our consumers about [Dust 514], so we know that there is going to be a fairly large base for it. It'll be a good model for us to see how those types of games do. Our theory is that it will do very well. We think over the next few years not only some of the frontline and new IP, but also the indie titles are set for a significant amount of growth, and we think Dust 514 is probably going to be one of those. And we thought including that would provide a really nice value, and we threw in the extra DLC to get that consumer jumpstarted.

Would you think of [Dust 514's inclusion in the bundle] as kind of a test in gamers' interest in a free- to-play console game? Those games are rumored to big in the next generation of games.

I wouldn't clarify it as a test. Although I would say that it is going to be interesting to watch the adoption rate. I won't say it's a test, because a lot of our research is pointing to Dust 514 is already set to become a big hit. It's not a test in that respect, but it's going to be interesting to see how well it performs on kind of a large level. And I think it'll do quite well.

Looking into this holiday season, Microsoft has a cheaper Xbox 360 available, and the Wii U has the buzz of a new console. Where does the new PS3 model fit in during the holiday season for Sony?

"The thing we like to communicate to our consumer base as well as to our future consumers is that you buy into the PlayStation ecosystem and you're buying into the best content in the industry. You're buying into the best place to play."

I think quite well. We are increasingly bullish on the PS3's prospects not only this year but over the next few years. I think when you look at the types of content coming to the PS3, the consumer coming in… through the 250GB Uncharted 3 bundle or…through the Assassins' Creed III 500GB model, they're getting unique content. That consumer that comes in through those avenues is going to be opened up to probably the most rich and deep gaming opportunities in the sector. When you look at what's coming to the PS3, not only this holiday, but what's coming next year…[there are] games like [Beyond: Two Souls], games like The Last of Us…a lot of third-party content coming, and a lot of first-party content that hasn't come out publicly.

A lot of great content is coming. And over the next 2-3 years, the PS3 has got an incredible lineup. That consumer coming in this fall is going to really have an opportunity to have great content and what we believe to be the best content in the industry. Yeah, we watch what the competitors do, but we don't make decisions based on what they do. We like our position.

You were just saying the PS3 has a life for the next 2-3 years. You're going to continue to support the PS3 for the next three years?

We're going to continue supporting the PS3 for the next few years. Absolutely. And we're going to continue supporting it not only that long, but as long as there is a development spigot that's running hot. And I can tell you right now, the development spigot for PS3 is very hot. A lot of great games coming. Same thing with PS2…it's kind of stuck around as that old warrior, many years after its launch. But there's still games launching for it.

What are Sony's goals for the holiday season with regards to hardware, including PS3 and PS Vita?

Sony is confident heading into the holiday season, due in part to games like Black Ops Declassified.
Sony is confident heading into the holiday season, due in part to games like Black Ops Declassified.

In general, on a qualitative approach, we are very excited about the holiday. We feel very confident about our position because of the content. When you look at the [PS3] games that are coming [they are] unique in many respects. But also with Vita, when you look at the dedicated games like [Assassin's Creed III:Liberation] or [Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified], or Need for Speed or FIFA. The games that are coming over the next few months are just fantastic. The thing we like to communicate to our consumer base as well as to our future consumers is that you buy into the PlayStation ecosystem and you're buying into the best content in the industry. You're buying into the best place to play.

The announcement of the new PS3 model last night at TGS was not exactly a surprise. And neither was the previous slimmed down version in 2009.

Yeah.

Can you talk about why or how Sony has struggled to keep its hardware revisions a secret. And is this a problem?

Not a problem. And I think there's different approaches to how you release information and content. In our case, we always prefer to have the opportunity to be able to speak to all of you and to our consumers in a general meeting place like a Tokyo Game Show or an E3 or a Gamescom. So we prefer that. But with the industry being what it is, there's always people that love talking to you and your colleagues in the media. And so we can't always control that. But in general, we do try to keep it to these large events and really be able to get our message out correctly. So no, not a problem, but maybe more of a sign of the industry and how people talk.

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Avatar image for lilj2626
lilj2626

Q ??SHUD I TRADE MY PS3 SLIM 4 A NEWER SLIM DUE 2 MO MEMORY MY 160G IS CLOSE 2 BEIN USED UP OR SHUD I GIT A NEW HDD PUT IN LIKE 350 OR 500GB???

Avatar image for lilj2626
lilj2626

IM ALMOST SHO ITS GONA B MO VITA PORTS 2 PS3 N MAYBE 4 DNT B SAPRIZE 2 C BO DECLASSIFED N ASSASIN LIBERATED LIKE GOW ORIGINS WAS N I PLAN TO KEEP MY PS 4SHO SO PS4 JUS WAIT IMA GIT TO U 1 DAY

Avatar image for farcorners
farcorners

this is an interesting development, and I cannot trash the Sony strategy. They have a proven console at new price points to make inroads beyond the USA, UK, Australia, Japan markets. The lower price opens up Eastern Europe much more, and many more parts of Asia. Can they succeed with a cheaper console and same price software in these territories? Perhaps we will see some lowered game prices in the future, at least on non AAA software..

Avatar image for jamesmichealtil
jamesmichealtil

Hopeful it will recive the strong support from its fellow Japanese developes like Namco Sega SNK there efforts have been poor this compared to last year

Avatar image for Albaficas
Albaficas

the new slim is good for south america i guess

Avatar image for ash162
ash162

The only relevant stuff in this article for me is sony's support for ps3 till 2015. Which means we will still have great exclusives. And i m not buying a new console before that anyway

Avatar image for Bahamut_10th
Bahamut_10th

270 dollars for a new model of a 5 years old console is still expensive.

Avatar image for Dimebag_Darrell
Dimebag_Darrell

I've got a slim, and UC3. I'm interested in the ultraslim for the size and weight. Show me a bundle with 1 year of PS+ and $50 PSN and I'll get the same $100 value that "UC3+Dust" offers. You'll get a sale right there.

Avatar image for SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

That's good news for those that aren't willing to make the next-gen leap next year.

Avatar image for AQWBlaZer91
AQWBlaZer91

Good, that means we got plenty of time to get the other Tales of games.

Avatar image for BRiDeath
BRiDeath

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the number #1 reason to own a PC... Longevity. A game bought on a 2000/XP machine can easily work on a Win7 machine. No need to mention that we also get to keep the servers up for a longer period of time.

P.S. thought about writing a "not a fanboy" warning since I have a 360 and PS3. But seriously, this is my major fanboy gripe with consoles.

Avatar image for ghostman961
ghostman961

Sony leave the ps4 stuff for later. What we need is GAMES

Avatar image for AtomicCowboy
AtomicCowboy

It's the GAMES that keep a console going. I thought the PS3 had so much potential. DId they lie? Nope. Everyone's too busy saying "NEXT GEN! NEXT GEN! NEXT GEN!"

Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

They Better Continue support for PS3. I am not planing to buy Next gen for a few years after they Launch. I HAVE PLENTY of games to get to as my time is limited. STILL WHY charge the same money for newer console that SHOULD cost less money to make? Sony is not really trying to compete.

Avatar image for Strathdor
Strathdor

No plans on buying any of your new consoles since your current ones are failing pretty badly and still have many bugs associated with them but who cares lets not fix them and instead release brand new consoles with a whole new slew of bugs associated with them. You guys only care about making money and not about the gamer anymore.

Avatar image for Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

Well that's nice but I hope they support it better than they did the PS2. A lot of the talk of the PS2 living for 10 years was a little over exaggerated here in the UK as the system stopped having anything but shovelware (and persona 4 which was cool) about midway through the 8th year. It was more dead than alive and barely supported which is too bad since it could have done more if they just released the games and they was still doing that a lot in japan.

PS3 came out before the end of it's life and got all the real attention, most likely they'll do something similar with PS4 but I think the PS3 support will still be better than the PS2 got late in it's years but then again positive thinking in the gaming sector has mostly led to disappointment recently (damn you TGS and E3 being all about casual games and phone games for the most part!).

Avatar image for tgwolf
tgwolf

Ummm, yeah I should hope! I will have my PS3 for a lot longer than that! Good gamers never die!

Avatar image for PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@HipHopBeats (Sigh) Why is there always people like you who pop up? We are not just going to have better graphics. We are going to have better physics and AI too.

Just for a small start, here a video with physics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6kwteEHnpw

Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@PodXCOM @HipHopBeats Graphics take up a huge amount of processing power. IF there is gong to be better graphics it is going to take up more console resources. So there will be less power for AI and Physics. Sure there will be an increase but its not going to be revolutionary as no one is working on a huge leap in either AI or Physics.

Avatar image for PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@Ravenlore_basic @HipHopBeats The reason you didn't see the 'huge leap in either AI or Physics', is because everyone is working on the consoles. I've seen amazing videos that shows AI or Physics' like you never seen them before. When the PS4 comes out, it's going to be like the first time you saw Half-life 2 all over again, in 2003:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ddJ1OKV63Q

Avatar image for mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

@PodXCOM @HipHopBeats correct me if i'm wrong, but aren't better AI and physics dependent on software and not hardware? meaning they are both already very possible on this gen hardware.

Avatar image for PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@mav_destroyer @TohouAsura @HipHopBeats

'Source?'

Huh? Which Source?

'Also I'm not sure what point you are trying to prove anymore. Are you saying the PS3 is no better than a 10 year old computer? Since the processor is no better than Xbox and it only has "256MB" of memory it must really crappy then. By your logic it would be struggling to play Wii games.'

Sorry, I meant the xbox 360. I guess you thought I was talking about the first xbox.

'All I said is AI and physics depend on the programming that's done. Yes at some point you need better hardware to have better AI/physics, but how many games out there right now have really pushed the limits of the PS3 hardware-wise? a handful maybe? My point is we can still see improved AI and physics on this gen yet.'

Yes, the programming is important, but 'cutting out the fat' can only do so much.

Let's say you can have 6 bad guys on screen in Killzone 2, then 3 years later, you can have 8 bad guys in Killzone 3, because of the better programming, would you say that was worth it? Not to me, because if it was only made for the high-end PC, You could have thousands of them. Don't believe me? Then look here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT_45RFFTx8

And that was made in 2008! I have a lot more Tech demos if you like to see them?

My point is, programming for the PS3 is getting better, but we can have 100 times more if we move to the PS4.

Avatar image for mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

@PodXCOM @TohouAsura @HipHopBeats Source?

Also I'm not sure what point you are trying to prove anymore. Are you saying the PS3 is no better than a 10 year old computer? Since the processor is no better than Xbox and it only has "256MB" of memory it must really crappy then. By your logic it would be struggling to play Wii games.

All I said is AI and physics depend on the programming that's done. Yes at some point you need better hardware to have better AI/physics, but how many games out there right now have really pushed the limits of the PS3 hardware-wise? a handful maybe? My point is we can still see improved AI and physics on this gen yet.

Avatar image for PodXCOM
PodXCOM

@mav_destroyer @TohouAsura @HipHopBeats

To mav_destroyer: Oy vey! long story short, it was a lie. In a controled environment, where it only does one thing, like physics, it can do better then normal processors. But in a player controled environment, it's only as good as the Xbox.

Besides, the Cell can only do 32 gigaFLOPS , but the newest graphic cards this year can do 2 teraFLOPS.

To TohouAsura: Thank you! you said exactly what was needed.

Avatar image for mav_destroyer
mav_destroyer

@TohouAsura @PodXCOM @HipHopBeats yes, if said console actually used a regular processor then that would make sense. Thats why we have the cell processor that can do what a high end processor can do but with less memory. If the PS3 and Xbox had normal retail processors then wouldn't be able to run even last gen's games.

Avatar image for TohouAsura
TohouAsura

@mav_destroyer @PodXCOM @HipHopBeats Nope.

Software is reliant on hardware. You know that complicated Algorithms to create dynamic events within a physics engine and complex responses from an AI requires alot of memory, right?

Memory a 256MB console does not have.

Avatar image for dawnofhero
dawnofhero

That's nice to hear. It's not every console that can last that long *Wii* AHEM :/

Avatar image for cheamo
cheamo

People again seem to think that supporting the PS3 until 2015 and beyond means that the PS4 won't be out until then, but that obviously isn't necessarily true. I also have to wholeheartedly disagree that it isn't time for a new console. The PS3 has been a good system, but it is no PS2, and even that was replaced after 6 years. The tech is aging; you shouldn't be able to beat the hell out of a console with a $500 computer.

Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@cheamo The tech is aging but the GAMES are the SAME. As I did back in the PSX days I still press X to jump, press shoulder trigger to fire, or press o to talk to native speaker. Yes the graphics are A LOT nicer more realistic, but the game-play, and game mechanics are the same.

Name a game and see how "different" it is to a comparable game back in the day. Halo came out in 2001 compare to Halo 4 coming out soon. IS it TOTALLY different? splinter cell, Hitman 2, ...

Avatar image for cheamo
cheamo

@Ravenlore_basic By that logic we should all still be content with our Ataris or Pong systems or something, and even though there is a lot of sequels and copied gameplay all over the place I'd say it's a pretty pessimistic view to say that there isn't any new innovation in gaming ever.

Avatar image for Shinobi120
Shinobi120

@cheamo While I like to agree with you, I'm leaning towards Sony closing down their gaming division (Sony Computer Entertainment) by 2015. 4 reasons why...

1.) There's a rumor that Gaikai said that Sony isn't making a PS4 at all.

2.) Why would they say that they're supporting the PS3 through 2015, instead of 2016, given that the PS3 launched back in 2006?

3.) They're already running into money issues, so instead of launching the newer PS3 models at something like $150 & $200, they kept the price of one model at $250, while upping the price of the other PS3 model to $300. Why? Because they need to make a profit, badly. They can't even afford to lower the price of the Vita, either, & there's also rumors saying that they can't afford to launch PS4 at all right now.

4.) If Sony waits until 2014 to launch PS4, then it may already be too late for them, because people aren't going to wait until 2014 to buy their next console when they can already buy the Wii U or the next Xbox console.

Avatar image for LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

@Shinobi120 You are correct. There is NO such thing as "Playstation 4".

Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@Shinobi120 @cheamo ... NO.

1. that is just rummer and speculation. But I do hope that Sony waits till 2015 at least till they launch PS4 as it is an expensive process. One in which they did not do well with the PS3.

2. They would launch the PS4 in 2015 and not have first party make any more games for PS3. That support would go to PS4.

3. They are seeing if they can sell the PS3 at this price. IF it does not sell then I see them lowering the price. I do wish they would have included backward compatibility as one option.

4. I do not think that waiting til 2014 or 2015 would be a huge loss. The world is now still in a huge recession and if it gets worse who is going to rush out just to buy the SAME games with better graphics. ... New IP (that is different) has been on a free fall, with only safe games that come out EACH year or TWO getting the lions share of resources.

Look at Gaming PCs using TOP of the line Graphic cards, running games at max. SURE the games look better but its the SAME GAME!!

In the end I don't think that Sony is folding the PS console. The console is profitable, and will be for some time. Games will still come out for PS3 as it has a huge base and if Sony is still supporting PS3 and people are still buying games on the PS 3 then I do not see companies not trying to sell them games.

Avatar image for cheamo
cheamo

@Shinobi120 Your points are all too valid, and it's something I've been worried could happen for a while now. I guess I'm just choosing to be an optimist for now.