Sony: PlayStation to become more service-oriented

UK managing director Fergal Gara says, "We see PlayStation as a brand, not just as a box."

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The future of PlayStation will see the platform expand to become more service-oriented, Sony United Kingdom managing director Fergal Gara has said.

"I think that's good way of putting it really," Gara told OPM in a new interview. "We see PlayStation as a brand, not just as a box."

"Going out to 2013 and probably more appropriately 2014, 15, 16, 17 you’ll see start to see PlayStation 4 as a brand and a service, as a set of services, a set of experiences," he added.

Gara said the PlayStation 4 itself is the most compelling "service" that Sony can offer right now, but explained that Sony has put the pieces in place to offer compelling, online-enabled services in the future.

"For the foreseeable [sic] PlayStation 4 will be the pinnacle in terms of the highest possible experiences, the most powerful service we can offer," he said. "But we can offer many many more. The Gaikai acquisition, PlayStation Vita TV capability. There are lots of pieces here that all point to that direction really. Which is: PlayStation experiences on devices, some Sony devices and non-Sony devices in time as well."

Sony purchased Gaikai last year for $380 million. The Gaikai-powered PlayStation cloud service, which will allow users to stream games, will launch in 2014. It will be available first on PS4 before coming to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

Gara is not the only one to believe the future of the PlayStation platform is in services. Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida suggested last month that the PlayStation brand is likely to evolve from hardware to a service, though a physical console remains important, at least for now, he said.

"We previously spoke about PlayStation going from hardware to something closer to a service, regardless of the device," Yoshida said at the time. "Of course, PlayStation will still be the center, but I think we would like to expand to different things."

In addition, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada has said much the same.

"I think in the future, it'll will be a contest of services instead of hardware," Harada said earlier this week. "When there's the PS5, it will probably be just a controller and a monitor. Then, the thing that will be left is the name of the service."

The PS4 launches on November 15 in North America for $400.

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