Online sat down with Sony Computer Entertainment's Kazuo
Hirai and had a talk with him about the PS3 and the success of Sony
as a whole. Hirai said that the time was right for the slimmer PS3
because Sony wanted to pass the savings on to the customer since it
had to put less hardware into the PS3 than it was when the console
first launched. The pressure from game developers to cut the price of
the console likely figured into the decision as well.
asked if the price cut was an admission that the PS3 sales have been
disappointing, Hirai said sales were slower than the PS2, but on
track with what Sony saw with the original PlayStation. He also says
Sony looks at things on a 10-year life cycle and with the third
anniversary, now coming it's too early to say how well the trajectory
for the PS3 is doing.
One of the more telling questions in the
interview was whether Sony is still losing money on the PS3. Hirai
said, "If you're just talking about the hardware alone, the
quick answer is yes. That makes good headlines, but I don't actually
know that that's the true nature of the business that we're all in,
whether it's PlayStation, Xbox or the Wii. I think the better
indicator is to look at the business as a whole platform, to ask are
you profitable in terms of the hardware, software, and peripherals.
And the answer t o that question is yes on a gross profit level since
the last fiscal year."
Hirai said in the interview that
the "magic wand" motion controller for the PS3 is set for
release in the Spring of 2010. He also said that Sony is working hard
to be sure that software supporting the controller is available when
it launches as well.
Hirai also says that Sony will not be
ditching physical media altogether as some expected with the
announcement of the UMD-less PSP Go. He points out that in many
countries and locations downloading a full PS3 game would take
inexcusably long to do.
He said, "We are committed to the
PSP 3000 and the UMD business. A lot of people like to speculate that
we're getting out of that business, but nothing could be further from
the truth. We're not going to deprive consumers in all those other
quote: Sony, obviously, built the PS3 to push the envelope technology-wise.
quote: (in fact, Sony used to boast that Cell was so great, they didn't even need a GPU for the system. Then they added a GPU and stopped talking about that, hoping everyone would forget).
quote: Actually, you do have to use the Cell (the SPU parts) if you want good graphics performance out of the PS3.
quote: Of course, every GPU needs the CPU to send it data. Nobody every said Cell was superfluous.
quote: Nintendo does. They have always sold their consoles at a profit. Maybe Sony should take a page from the Nintendo book of business.