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Phil Harrison Answers Your Questions 185

Posted by Zonk
from the ulp-tough-room dept.
Right around this time last month, we asked for your questions to pass on to President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison. With the launch of the PlayStation 3 console in Europe, Mr. Harrison has had kind of a full month. He still found us the time to answer your questions, and today we have them to read. Below are his very thorough responses to the questions you posed, ranging in subject from the European delay to the public perception of SCEA. Make sure to give them a look, and many thanks again to Mr. Harrison for his time.
1.) 'Ask 1996-Phil' by The-Bus
According to your Wikipedia bio, you joined SCEA in 1996. If you could go back in time and give professional advice to your 1996 self, what would you say? If you were to give professional advice to people interested in entering the industry today, what would it be?

Phil Harrison: Wikipedia is great, but as you probably know, my bio was not written by me, so I'd not trust it completely...I actually joined Sony's game division in 1992 just before SCE was formed. I joined the nascent Computer Entertainment Project to help bring PlayStation to the European developer community, while simultaneously kick-starting our in-house development team in London. I moved to the US in 1996. To answer your time travel question, the professional advice I'd give myself is to "think bigger". When we launched PlayStation we really had no idea we'd be talking about an industry that would more than triple in size and reach a 3rd of US homes so quickly. If I'd had the chance to revisit my 1996 self I would have encouraged him to be more ambitious, bigger scale, more aggressive in changing the way games were made and also to have invested more heavily in creating online experiences - however experimental, however unsuccessful.

As for professional advice to how to get into the industry, the way I came in to the business was a rocky road which, frankly, has got even harder since I made it my full-time career in 1987. The entrepreneurial, freelancer approach is very difficult without a portfolio of work or very good contacts. My advice to anyone thinking about joining this industry is first and foremost get as much formal education as you possibly can. If you are interested in a programming or technical career, a degree in a computer science-related area is vital, as is a very high level of mathematics. Specialize as late as you can in your educational path. For an artist or designer, the need for a degree is less vital if you have a clearly demonstrable talent, but that puts the emphasis on a brilliant, and differentiated, portfolio of work. Even so, I would encourage anyone to get a well-regarded degree-level education as a minimum before even considering applying for a position. Animators and 3D modellers should take advantage of systems at school to start building a portfolio of work. Putting up your own website is a great way of pointing potential employers at your work - even if it's a selection of 10 second clips or a gallery of rendered stills. But please make them different and unusual. Finally, when you come to an interview make sure you are prepared! Research the company you are applying to, play their games, be prepared to comment on industry trends and issues and know as much as you can about the area you are interested in working in. Go to GDC if you possibly can, make friends through the various online communities and societies dedicated to game developers and start building up an industry "buddy list". It will come in very useful.

Both really great questions, by the way.

2.) 'Philosophy of gaming...' by 7Prime
What is your personal philosophy regarding the future of videogames as a genre? For example, where do you see games, in terms of social and cultural identification, 20 years from now, and how do you think the nature of the PS3 plays into the culmination of this overall vision?

Phil Harrison: Another very good question - and hard to answer properly in the space available. My personal philosophy is to make the entertainment experience of videogames available to everyone. I want to see the audience of people who play videogames, of any type, on any device, include practically anyone on the planet. Whether it be an immersive action game that appeals primarily to young adults, or a casual game that is enjoyed by the entire family, I hope that videogames and electronic forms of interactive entertainment continue to expand to new audiences, all the time. Linked to that, I want to see videogames given more credibility as a mainstream form of entertainment through appropriate cultural commentary and criticism. If you read a newspaper in pretty much any country in the world, you will read intelligent discourse on the cultural impact of film, music, literature, theatre, television, radio, art and fashion every day - although it's unusual to read anything about videogames apart from occasional reviews. There are, of course, exceptions - and it is thankfully changing, but we've still a long way to go as category or a genre before we can be considered culturally and socially significant. This is changing - and anyone who plays games will see the influence game graphic design has today on general graphic design in a multitude of ways - from websites and posters to TV commercials. What I hope is that 20 years from now the distinctions will be completely overcome and videogames as a passtime will be given the same cultural and social currency as a book, a film, a TV show or a piece of architecture. After all, the popular culture creators of 20 years from now will all, largely, have grown up playing, or at least being intimately aware of, videogames. The writers and commentators on those same popular culture creators will all have had the same experience playing videogames growing up - at which point the circle is complete. I don't think there is a culmination to this overall vision - it will be a constant process. Each successive platform brings new technology to the experience of games and helps expand the audience still further. I hope PS3 will be seen 20 years from now as a crucial influence in the growth of our industry.

3.) 'Choices' by mothlos and drinkypoo
Now that you have a few months with PS3s in the hands of consumers and plenty of reviews to pour over, is there anything that you would have done differently in designing the machine? Given the problems that seem to have come with Blu-Ray, does it still look like including the drive in the system was worth it? And if so, was it worth it for the PS3, for the Blu-Ray format, or for both?

Phil Harrison: First of all, I would not take credit for designing the machine. As Chairman and CEO - and head of the architecture lab in SCEI Tokyo, Ken Kutaragi is responsible for the hardware design strategy for SCE. I think that PlayStation 3 is a masterpience of design and technology - it packs a huge amount of performance into an amazingly small (and quiet) box. Now it may not yet be apparent what all that technology is actually for - something that gives us plenty to focus on for the next few years - the overall design of the machine is very good. The Cell processor is wildly powerful and developers are now beginning to understand what that means for game design. The choice of putting a hard disk drive in every machine was the absolute right decision technically, but is a tough choice financially. There is no denying we had some start-up challenges with Blu-ray at the beginning but that is the price you pay for leading edge technology. Thankfully, those challenges are behind us and I stand firmly by the decision to include BD-ROM as the physical media format. Next generation game design demands the capacity of Blu-ray. Once we'd adopted BD as a game format, there was little incremental cost to support BD as a movie format. Given that the majority of BD movies are now using dual layer (50GB) discs, we're seeing the importance of the higher BD capacity much earlier in the life of the format compared to DVD. First and foremost, I believe it was the right decision for PlayStation 3 to use BD for games - and the fact that is helps kick-start BD as the next generation movie format is a bonus for all of us, players and game-makers.

4.) 'Homebrew Gaming' by Anonymous Coward, maynard, and flitty
If someone manages to get homebrew games running on the PS3, will there be firmware updates to stop this kind of development, to protect your software developers, or is homebrew something you are planning on and even encouraging? Is there a chance that the policy of restricting access to PS3 graphics hardware (via the hypervisor) could be revised to encourage us homebrew developers? How does this strategy differ from your strategy with PSP homebrew? Has Sony considered offering kernel patches and an RSX optimized OpenGL library for PS3/Linux?

Phil Harrison: Now, let me first say that Homebrew is sometimes a misused term and so for the purposes of this answer I will exclude pirates and hackers with illegal intentions from the definition.

I fully support the notion of game development at home using powerful tools available to anyone. We were one of the first companies to recognize this in 1996 with Net Yaroze on PS1. It's a vital, crucial aspect of the future growth of our industry and links well to the subtext of my earlier answers. When I started making games on the Commodore 64 in the 1980's, the way I learned to make games was by re-writing games that appeared in magazines. Really the best bit about a C64 was when you turned it on it said "Ready?" with a flashing cursor - inviting you to experiment. You'd spend hours typing in the code, line-by-line, and then countless hours debugging it to make it work and then you'd realise the game was rubbish after all that effort! The next step was to re-write aspects of the game to change the graphics, the sound, the control system or the speed of the gameplay until you'd created something completely new. I might share this with a few friends but not for commercial gain at that time. But the process itself was invaluable in helping me learn to program, to design graphics, animations or sounds and was really the way I opened doors to get into the industry. Now, those industry doors are largely closed by the nature of the video game systems themselves being closed. So, if we can make certain aspects of PS3 open to the independent game development community, we will do our industry a service by providing opportunities for the next generation of creative and technical talent. Now having said all that, we still have to protect the investment and intellectual property rights of the industry so we will always seek the best ways to secure and protect our devices from piracy and unauthorized hacking that damages the business.

5.) 'Retaining PS3 Exclusives' by Sciros
With a number of previously-PS3-exclusive titles having gone multiplatform, are there any efforts to prevent this from occurring in the future, or is it of little concern to SCE?

Phil Harrison: We have the widest selection of meaningful exclusives on PlayStation 3 - by virtue of our own investments in our development studios and strategic support of independent developers and publishers. I really don't believe gamers mind who makes the game, so long as the games they buy on their system are the best games they can get anywhere - and that their system investment is secure in the knowledge that there are plenty more coming in future. Within SCE Worldwide Studios we have the largest platform-dedicated development resource in the industry - with more people, and more teams, dedicated to making games exclusively for PlayStation 3. So my main "concern" is to make sure those games are absolutely the best they can be.

6.) 'Rumble' by SuperCharlie
How long will we have to wait until we see a first party controller with rumble?

Phil Harrison: As we've only recently resolved our legal differences with Immersion, it's a little early to answer this. However, you can play games on PS3 that support devices that have force-feedback already, most notably driving games through steering wheels. 7.) '20 GB PS3' by !ramirez Why is Best Buy discontinuing sales of the 20 GB PS3?

Phil Harrison: I can't comment on any specific retailer's stocking decisions, but I think that retailers know their customers very well and make their product selections based on anticipated demand. In Europe, we've only sold the 60GB version based on retailer demand and over 800,000 units have already been sold in just over 2 weeks.

8.) 'Europe?' by Ant P. and Zonk
Given that the hardware sold in Europe has less robust backwards compatibility than in the US and Japan, and the high price the console sells at because of the VAT, do you feel that you've in any way alienated the European gamer? Can you give us some insight into why the EU launch of the system has been so long delayed?

Phil Harrison: It was an unfortunate and unavoidable problem caused by the slower-than-anticipated ramp up of the production on the Blue Laser Diode, a key part of the BD drive technology. Although this is now well behind us, we could not predict the production volume with any degree of certainty to launch globally in all markets at the same time back in November 2006. However, we have more than recovered from this situation with what is objectively a very well-executed launch in Europe with a great selection of games on disc and network. Gamers have responded really positively and purchased over 800,000 units already making it the most successful launch in the history of the video games industry in Europe. I accept that is not entirely satisfactory compensation for having to wait, but we were able to reward European gamers with a free copy of Casino Royale on BD when they registered for the PlayStation Network.

9.) 'Public Image' by Gothic_Walrus
People on the internet and in the tech media in general have been raking the PS3 and Sony over the coals, with a noticeable backlash directed towards Sony's PR department. Debacles like Jack Tretton's 'you can't find the PS3 in stores' comment, and 'All You Want For Christmas is a PSP', has left some gamers with the impression that Sony thinks poorly of them. You in particular have taken a lot of fire as one of the main figures connected to the PlayStation 3, and the consensus seems to be that Sony has a lot of work to do to win over the gaming public. I'd like to ask you, then, how is Sony going to go about changing this mindset? Are there any plans for this you'd be able to share with us?

Phil Harrison: I really don't know how to answer that question entirely to your satisfaction, but allow me to try: I don't deny that we've made some mistakes and have been rightly flamed for some of them. We learn, we cringe slightly at the memory of some of them from time to time but we move on. And hopefully we're not stupid enough to repeat them! But I also have to point out that millions of people around the world have bought PS3s and are loving the experience - and frankly they become our advocates and evangelists far more effectively than I could ever be. If we continue to deliver great software, services and experiences to our gamers they'll become even more comfortable in recommending PS3 to their friends and family - that's what builds a loyal fanbase. We absolutely have a lot of work to do but I'm convinced we have the right strategy - and recent announcements like Home and Little Big Planet have resonated very positively with our audiences around the world, including some commentators who had been previously critical of us.

10.) 'Price drop?' by RyanFenton
I understand the strategy of never announcing price drops until they're imminent, but the PS3 is not even on many people's radar at the moment, because of the staggering price. Sony's CEO Howard Stringer has even stated that the price might be too high. Are you even considering price drops on the PS3 hardware?

Phil Harrison: Probably no surprise to hear that we've no plans to drop the price but it's also no surprise to anyone reading this that core to our business plan is growing the installed base of hardware. But price is only one part of the motivation to purchase a system. We need to maintain the high desire for the product through great software, services and support combined with great awareness. I want to make sure we're focused on the best possible gamer and user experience and that will bring PS3 onto more people's radar - to use your expression - much more effectively than simply dropping the price.

Phil Harrison
SCE Worldwide Studios
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Phil Harrison Answers Your Questions

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  • by SighKoPath (956085) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:45PM (#18814977)
    So, I clicked Read More, and was greeted with this:

    Nothing for you to see here, move along
    It had me laughing for a good ten seconds, especially considering the subject.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by flitty (981864)

      So, if we can make certain aspects of PS3 open to the independent game development community, we will do our industry a service by providing opportunities for the next generation of creative and technical talent. Now having said all that, we still have to protect the investment and intellectual property rights of the industry so we will always seek the best ways to secure and protect our devices from piracy and unauthorized hacking that damages the business.

      Translation: Abandon hope, all ye (independant

  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:45PM (#18814981) Journal
    Because the sales pitch is basically, "it plays BluRay discs".

    I think you need to get on-target with the message, if indeed, this thing is a video game console.
    • The sales pitch is that it lets you play modern video games with decent graphics!

      That's exactly the same as the sales pitch for the XBox 360. Yes, it costs 25% more than the XBox. On the other hand, it has some technical advantages over the Xbox and has different exclusive games. Remember that the blueray disks aren't just for movies - they also allow game developers to have something like five times as much game data as an XBox 360 game can have.

      Disclaimer: I don't own a PS3, and I won't buy one until th

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Actually the pitch appears to be "it plays games, dvds, cd, blu ray, mp3s, aacs, pictures, video clips, browses the web etc.". Some people appear to have latched onto blu ray as if its a bad thing that it plays hd content.
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:50PM (#18815053)

    I don't deny that we've made some mistakes and have been rightly flamed for some of them.


    What kind of corporate head uses flame with its internet definition? Fucking awesome.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:54PM (#18815133) Homepage Journal

      What kind of corporate head uses flame with its internet definition? Fucking awesome.
      The kind that's tailoring his responses to appeal to the interview's Internet audience.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spazntwich (208070)
        Yes, but how many corporate heads could even bother to familiarize themselves with the lingo of their target audience? I remain impressed, though you'll get moderated much more favorably than I will around these parts.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by stratjakt (596332)
          The guy heads a major tech company, I don't think the "lingo" is all that foreign to him.

          These are the same guys who put root kits on audio CDs. I don't like him no matter how many times he refers to the "Web 2.0 blogosphere"

          And the PSP and PS3 are, frankly, both dogs.
          • by Maxwell (13985)
            These are the same guys who put root kits on audio CDs. I don't like him no matter how many times he refers to the "Web 2.0 blogosphere"

            Uh, no they aren't. Sony Japan bought a record label many years ago. Nothing to do with SCEA of which Phil is the president. He probably doesn't know anyone from the record side..

            And PSP is awesome. Besides the hundreds of commerical games, the emulators are amazing. I Can't imagine being tied to stupid TV set for gaming anymore..

            JON

            • by NoMaster (142776)

              These are the same guys who put root kits on audio CDs.

              Uh, no they aren't...

              If I get slapped by one hand, I don't turn around and shake the other...

              It's still Sony, and they've still shown themselves to be untrustable - not just untrustworthy, but totally unable to be trusted - on many occasions and across almost all divisions.

              Now the PS3 may be awesome, and you can rationalise your Playstation-love with your hatred of Sony's music & movie divisions any way you like - but it doesn't change the fact y

        • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:30PM (#18815615)
          "Yes, but how many corporate heads could even bother to familiarize themselves with the lingo of their target audience?"

          The kind with a marketing department the size of Rhode Island. No doubt there were countless focus groups, surveys, polls and statistical aggregations behind the decision to use that one word alone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      "What kind of corporate head uses flame with its internet definition?"

      He's edgy, he's hip, he's "with it," he's using the kind of lingo the kids today are down with!

      Far out, man!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Floritard (1058660)
      flaming - the act of sending or posting messages that are deliberately hostile and insulting, usually in the social context of a discussion board on the Internet

      Term officially jumped the shark Friday April 20, @02:43PM.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gral (697468)
      The guy talks about hacking Magazine games on a Commodore 64 and finding out they suck, so he rewrote them. I think he is of a different caliber higher up based on that more than his use of lingo.
    • by drcagn (715012) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:22PM (#18817461) Homepage
      Congratulations, you fell for the propaganda technique in which the propagandist tries to make you think that you are both alike.
  • Evasive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:50PM (#18815067) Homepage Journal
    Look at his response to #4. He didn't answer the question at all, he just talked about the good ol' days and snuck in a couple references to piracy. Will homebrew developers be able to access the PS3's 3D hardware "officially" or not? If not, and if someone manages to find a way to access it "unofficially", will Sony release a firmware update to block it or won't they? We still don't know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560)
      I like this bit:

      So, if we can make certain aspects of PS3 open to the independent game development community, we will do our industry a service by providing opportunities for the next generation of creative and technical talent.

      "If we can..." "Certain aspects..." That's nice and open-ended. Still, as he seems to have some memory of the glimmer of hacker spirit from his C64 days, he knows full well that whatever they can't give us, given enough time and inclination, we can get for ourselves. Should the pla

    • Re:Evasive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimstapleton (999106) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:05PM (#18815299) Journal
      Actually, the answer in that was an implicit "never in hell"

      He mentioned a strong desire to protect their investment and IP. Given that money for the system comes from licensing of the games and the movies from their manufacturers, that response amounts to the answer I gave. That is, unless the creators pay royalties to Sony. If they do not pay royalties, then they simply provide less incentive for people to buy products from the companies who do pay said royalties.

      Countering the first obvious argument that will probably come up - yes the homebrewed may not cost money, and thus not compete in the players pocketbook, but they do take time to play, and if a player doesn't thing he or she will have enough time for all the games he or she might like to play, some may not be purchased, or may be purchased more warily (say by trying them at a friends house first, and/or a rental at a blockbuster). If they had more time, they might buy a game tested, that they wouldn't with less time.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        I doubt its anything to do with the time it takes to play homebrew. After all, it takes an hour to install YDL on a PS3 and you CAN'T play PS3 games while running Linux. But there's your answer if you want to write homebrew.

        Does it have 3D hardware access? Nope, but somebody could and should write a Cell powered driver for Mesa. Hook up Mesa to a couple of SPUs to do rapid transforms and other 3D operations. It would probably be comparable to most IGP offerings and would suffice for most homebrew games.

    • by eln (21727)
      I believe he was grouping people that would access the hardware "unofficially" in with the illegal hackers that he "excluded" from his answer.
    • The response to the first question was fantastic, and dare I say after question 2 I gained a shred of respect back for 'ol Philly. The Blu-Ray question he started honestly and ended up with a sales pitch by the end and it was back to the old PR side stepping from then on out with Mr Harrison taking on the role of Michael Flatly.

      On one hand it's aggravating not being able to get a straight answer out of these guys. We know he's capable of speaking honestly after reading the first couple of questions. On t
    • by kinglink (195330)
      Considering that even developers have to jump through hoops to directly access the hardware of a PS3, this will likely be considered illegal access and blocked off.

      The biggest secret that Sony has is how little support developers get (hell Early versions of the PS2 only allowed printf debugging, attaching to process didn't even seem to work.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not to mention, the Yaroze project was a total fucking flop in the United States. Here's why:

      * It cost a little under US$1000 for someone to get the kit (yeah, because amateur developers are rich -- hahahaha),
      * Despite there being no region lockout on the black Yaroze units, there was efforts near the end of the project to introduce that ""feature"",
      * You were limited to 1MByte of space to play with and absolutely nothing more,
      * You had to use Sony's Yaroze-specific API (which many people tried to bust out
    • by jonwil (467024)
      The reason why they would be very reluctant to release a PS3GL module for PS3 linux is because of the things it would open up. For example, with PS3GL, it becomes possible to make a downloadble ISO that (once you have the otheros installer in place) installs on the PS3 and gives you a fully functional Second Life client. Which then competes directly with Sony's new Second Life clone for PS3 Online.
      No doubt with PS3GL people would make other things that compete with stuff you have to pay for. (Quake 3 on lin
  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinch@g ... com minus author> on Friday April 20, 2007 @02:51PM (#18815083) Journal
    I liked most of it but I must object to one statement.

    "My personal philosophy is to make the entertainment experience of videogames available to everyone. I want to see the audience of people who play videogames, of any type, on any device, include practically anyone on the planet."

    If that was truely his guiding principle the PS3 would not cost more than 50% (Min) of gamers can afford. It's also pretty much an exact copy of Nintendo's goal. Something tells me this principle is relatively new...say it began about when the 4 millianth Wii sold...

    Other than that an interesting interview.
    • You realize that they haven't discontinued the PS2, and that it costs less than a Wii, right?
      • by Suzumushi (907838)
        You realize that the Gamecube (which is the same generation as the PS2) also costs less than a Wii right?

        Furthermore, a quick look at the list of games being developed for the PS2 shows that it is already a dead system anyway. Sony priced themselves out of the market, and for years wankers at the SCEA have been sabotaging their own market share by blocking releases of Japanese games in the US. Sony is reaping what they sowed.

        • And, if they released a motion-sensing controller for the PS2, it would be equivalent to the Wii. Maybe that's what they should have done instead of developing a new console.

  • The first few questions were really great, we actually got to hear the real Phil Harrison in those answers as opposed to the PR/spin guy in the rest where we learned nothing new. I know we all like to rag on Sony but it's not like we're going to trap Phil in some mind-boggingly tricky question where he's forced to admit Sony's ultimate failure. He does this for a living. Anyways, decent interview and it's interesting to see how this all played out.
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:13PM (#18815419) Homepage Journal
    "the most successful launch in the history of the video games industry in Europe"

    Hang on, Sony missed Christmas, gave us hobbled backwards compatibility and priced the thing so you can't get a console and a game for less than $900 here. Stores are full of people queueing for the Wii and ignoring stacks of unsold PS3s. I'd hate to see this guy's idea of an unsucessful launch!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xest (935314) *
      He was basing his comment on the number of units sold. The question is of course, whether units sold automatically infers most successful launch ever. If they sold the 800,000 units because they had enough units available to fulfil demand due to them delaying the Euro launch by 5 months then don't sell hardly anymore units over the next few months, whilst the competitor only sells 400,000 at launch as that's all they could produce in time but sells another 1million over the next few months then I'd say thei
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      "Hang on, Sony missed Christmas, gave us hobbled backwards compatibility and priced the thing so you can't get a console and a game for less than $900 here. Stores are full of people queueing for the Wii and ignoring stacks of unsold PS3s."

      Yes...and despite that, they still sold more in the first two days than the Wii or the 360 did in their respective first months. Despite all that was wrong with the launch, they still sold more. That is far more successful than I think they had any right to even hope fo
    • The backwards compatibility was better than the xbox360's is NOW...

      Hobbled?
  • by fruitbane (454488) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:31PM (#18815641) Homepage
    There's a reason that, in the car market, Hyundai and BMW co-exist. Some people want a raging hormone car and some people want something they can afford that gets them comfortably from point A to point B. Phil Harrison's claim that "making the PS3" more desirable does not necessarily involve dropping price really fails to address the question directed at him. There are many people who can't afford the BMW of gaming systems and who are now settling for the Hyundais and Hondas of gaming because of that. Offering these people more "reasons" to buy a PS3 is not going to suddenly supplement their income and make such a high-priced machine worth the smack to incoming cash flow. By not having a true Hyundai model PS3, many potential gamers are locked out of the market because food, the electric bill, and gas to drive to work are more important than playing EXPENSIVE video games.

    Given the unique experience offered by the Wii and the more reasonably-priced Xbox360, I think Sony has made a bad move. There's a reason BMWs are not the most prevalent cars on the road, and I suspect it's the same reason the PS3 is not likely to be the most prevalent game console in homes.
    • Yet another failed car analogy. BMW had 66.6 Billion [wikipedia.org] USD in revenue in 2006.
      Hyundai had 29.5 Billion [wikipedia.org] USD in revenue.

      So, bottom line, BMW might move fewer units, but they make more money.
      • by Suzumushi (907838)
        Not necessarily. BMW's cost a lot more than a Hyundai does, so naturally their revenue would be higher. However, BMW's expenses are also a lot higher I would imagine. Revenue is not profit.

        I'd also rather compare BMW to Toyota which has revenue in the trillions or Honda which has revenue around 86 billion...Hell just combine the two.

        It also doesn't change the fact that most people driving BMW's are pompous jerks. ;-P

      • by fruitbane (454488)
        I wouldn't say it's a failed analogy completely. It was certainly overly simplistic, but it was useful to illustrate a point. But let's look at more ways the analogy breaks down.

        We're just talking about moving the system itself. What about games? Games have a set cost. If every console buyer buys roughly the same number of games, having more gamers makes a lot of sense. And if the folks with money buy a few more games, they still have a lot of extra ground to cover to make up for the smaller console base. B
  • Price (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatherOfONe (515801) on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:42PM (#18815803)
    The only real issue with the PS3 over the 360 and Wii is price. If the system was $400 then is would sell a ton more systems and Sony appears to be aware of this. They have dropped the price twice in Japan and will probably do it here in the U.S. late this fall. His response pretty much says it all when he didn't flat out deny a price drop this year.

    The real question is if Nintendo can get their act together and sell over 15 million this year. If Nintendo could have met demand; or if they could meet demand they could bury both Sony and Microsoft in this race. Every day that goes by, HDTVs go down in price and more great games come out for the 360 and PS3 AND the chance of a price drop to the PS3 becomes more of a reality.

    Xbox 360 - 9.5 million consoles sold (Channel stuffed big time so numbers will remain flat, majority of games are FPS, no standard hard drive, HD-DVD add on never used for games, no )

    Nintendo Wii - 6.5 million consoles sold (Supply constrained, very limited game selection, poor 3rd party support, poor online support, weakest hardware platform)

    PS3 - 3 million sold (Priced WAY too high, limited game selection, slowly growing online support, no kids games)

    • I'd argue that the lack of exclusives (or dwindling list anyway) is a much bigger reason than price. People bought iPod when they were $500, so price really wasn't a factor there, right?

      In the gaming industry GAMES drive sales in the long run, and so far Sony has not made any kind of effort showing gamers how this system is any different than the 360 other than Blu-Ray -- a technology that, I may add, no one actually asked for to begin with. What they asked for was a gaming console with exclusive titles t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spideyct (250045)
      Majority of games are FPS? Other than Call of Duty 2/3, what popular game is an FPS?

      The games I've most enjoyed on my Xbox 360: Geometry Wars, Gears of War, Crackdown, Viva Pinata, Texas Hold 'em, and Guitar Hero 2. Neither of which is an FPS. In fact, I think thats a pretty varied list of game genres. I'll agree that the library of good games doesn't go much deeper than the ones I listed, but thats a different criticism.

      And HD-DVD add-on never used for games? Why is that a criticism? "This game would be S
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JordanL (886154)
        Saying Gears isn't an 'FPS' is somewhat disingenuous. Yes, it's from a third person point of view... but I doubt many people would deny that its a direct competitor to other shooter games, particularly big FPS's like CoD and Halo.
        • by spideyct (250045)
          I agree that if you can redefine the meaning of FPS, you will be able to lump more games into the category.
          I also think the Gears' use of the third person perspective allowed it to introduce integral new gameplay mechanics that are not possible in an FPS. So I think lumping it in as "just another FPS" would be disingenuous.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday April 20, 2007 @03:52PM (#18815965) Homepage Journal

    It's nothing reflecting on slashdot or the users. Hell, I even had a question accepted this time, so it's not even sour grapes!

    The reason it's crap is because of the responses, which were obviously all sanitized by the legal department (or are all well-informed by the standards from legal.)

    SOME of the answers are good. I don't want to take that away from this interview. The answer to #1 is great. #2 is sort of rambling, but at least it seems like an honest answer. But when we get to #3 (my question) :) then it goes to hell. Every word of the answer to #3 is pure marketing speak. This is not really anything different from what I expected - mostly my goal in authoring that question was to make him aware that we realize where Sony has fallen directly on its face.

    But let's look at precisely why his answers are disingenuous, shall we?

    "The Cell processor is wildly powerful and developers are now beginning to understand what that means for game design." Translation: The cell processor is horribly complicated to code for, and our internal developers are just now beginning to understand how to get a useful portion of that power out of it. We didn't learn anything from the stupid processor we put into the PS2."

    "There is no denying we had some start-up challenges with Blu-ray at the beginning but that is the price you pay for leading edge technology. Thankfully, those challenges are behind us and I stand firmly by the decision to include BD-ROM as the physical media format." Translation: The lack of availability of blue lasers looked like it was going to be a real problem, but those problems never materialized because people didn't actually want to buy all the consoles we could produce, unlike the Wii.

    "Next generation game design demands the capacity of Blu-ray." Translation: I am a lying sack of shit, since Microsoft is successfully outselling us with next-generation games on DVD.

    [...] "the fact that is helps kick-start BD as the next generation movie format is a bonus for all of us, players and game-makers." Translation: I want you to believe that Blu-Ray's dominance would be good for the consumer, so I will spout this nonsensical drivel.

    That's right, it's all lies and bullshit. I didn't quote a couple of sentences, because they were obvious statements that didn't need to be made to a technical audience.

    Let's move on to #4.

    "We were one of the first companies to recognize this in 1996 with Net Yaroze on PS1" ...which was too expensive for nearly any of their users to afford.

    "It's a vital, crucial aspect of the future growth of our industry and links well to the subtext of my earlier answers." Which makes it difficult to imagine why Sony locks out so much functionality of their consoles from Linux users, if homebrew is so important.

    "Now having said all that, we still have to protect the investment and intellectual property rights of the industry so we will always seek the best ways to secure and protect our devices from piracy and unauthorized hacking that damages the business." Translation: Having said all that, it is all bullshit because we will load you down with hypervisor restrictions and bullshit DRM that prevents you in some cases from exercising your legal rights and in others simply prevents you from utilizing all of the functionality of the machine.

    #5 we can skip. Everyone knows Sony is going to be hurting bad because FFXIII isn't going to be PS3-exclusive, and that squeenix is hardly the only group of guys telling them to stick their exclusivity contract up their arrogant asses.

    #6 proves that he is a dumbass as if we needed any further evidence, since he doesn't recognize the difference between vibration feedback and force feedback.

    #7 is not very interesting IMO, hardly anyone bought the 20GB model to begin with.

    In his answer to #8 he utterly ignores the fact that they're paying

    • "Next generation game design demands the capacity of Blu-ray." Translation: I am a lying sack of shit, since Microsoft is successfully outselling us with next-generation games on DVD.

      This one I disagree with you on. While Developers aren't demanding the extra space it does make their lives easier. Most games go through a phase where they need to shrik their assets down to size to fit the media. High res textures, uncompressed audio, multiple channels, bigger models, bump maps, normal maps, lighting maps, Th
    • by nuzak (959558)
      > We didn't learn anything from the stupid processor we put into the PS2.

      The chip in the most-sold longest-produced console in history? Yeah, what a bunch of idiots trying to repeat that.
    • by feepness (543479)
      You know what?

      We get that you hate Sony.

      Admittedly, I own a PS3, and I'm happy with it. And so your comments irritate me.

      But Every. Single. Sony. Thread. Has you in. Discussing how Sony vivisected your grandmother and killed your gerbil.

      Ok, we get it.

      Even if I didn't like Sony... it's getting old...
  • Phil's reply to my question was somewhat avoidant... but I suppose that's to be expected. PS3 losing exclusives is a result of there being a relatively small number of PS3s out there (therefore a small potential audience for any title, however amazing). So if publishers want to even break even on a game, they currently need to go multiplatform to maximize their audience. Games are expensive nowadays, dev teams are bigger than ever and game devs command high-enough salaries.
  • Any PS3 Fans here? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hemogoblin (982564) on Friday April 20, 2007 @04:07PM (#18816199)

    But I also have to point out that millions of people around the world have bought PS3s and are loving the experience - and frankly they become our advocates and evangelists far more effectively than I could ever be.
    Are there any PS3 owners here that would like to promote the system? I'm genuinely curious to see if there are people satisfied with their purchase and are excited enough to promote it.
    • I have to say, as one of the folks who got a question put to Mr. Harrison that he didn't answer squat. But - I must say - the PS3 is an amazing HD player. I absolutely love watching movies with the thing. OTOH: I also have a 360, and the games are on the 360 at the moment.

      *shrug*
    • by DarkJC (810888) on Friday April 20, 2007 @05:34PM (#18817613)
      I'm a North American launch owner. Admittedly my initial reason for buying the console was MGS4. I'm a total fanboy for that series, so there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be getting a PS3.

      That said, I have no buyers remorse. I really do love it. I think the reason you don't see a huge amount of PS3 supporters here is not only because there still aren't a ton of systems out there, but because being Slashdot most likely they'll get flamed to hell or called retards for spending $600 on a game console etc etc.

      To give you an idea of how I use it, I currently have Resistance, Virtua Fighter 5, and Motorstorm. Resistance was a blast, and while I have no idea how it stands up to Gears (and it's definitely not a Halo killer) it still was great fun, especially with the imaginative weapons Insomniac loves putting in all their games. VF5 is great, lack of online play slightly disappointing but to be expected due to the nature of the fighting engine. Motorstorm I think was the title that most shocked me. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while after the demo but near release the reviews game out and it got relatively mediocre reviews, mainly because of the lack of game modes. So..I held back on my purchase for quite a while but ever since picking it up I'm glad I did. Not only are the graphics amazing, but the gameplay never ceases to be just downright fun, even with the lack of modes like single race and time trial.

      I'd also like to mention my thoughts on the PSN. Having very briefly used XBox Live I don't feel I'm qualified to give a comparison between the two, but my experience has overall been very nice. My only complaint is that Resistance didn't integrate it's buddy list with the PSN, something that my other online title, Motorstorm, does very nicely. However, both games are lag free, and Resistance has awesome matchmaking, clan support, and all that jazz built in. I always hear people with XBL touting those features and I just thought I'd point out that we too are enjoying them. As for the Playstation Store, they could use some fatter download pipes, but other than that it's decent. I definitely think the XBLA interface is much nicer though. The PS Store is basically a webpage, and can be sluggish.

      I did get Casino Royale to check out Blu-ray, and I was quite impressed. Not impressed enough to go and rebuy old DVDs though, however new purchases will probably be in Blu-ray if available. The picture quality is quite awesome, I just wish my receiver was newer so I could take advantage of the uncompressed LPCM 5.1 audio over HDMI. Oh, and I also convert a bunch of shows I download into a PS3 suitable format and transfer them over to watch them on the big screen.

      Overall it's a pretty great experience. I always had plans to get an XBox360 sometime down the line, but what I'm getting now from the PS3 will tide me over until there are a bunch of titles that interest me on the 360 (and maybe a price drop). With Heavenly Sword looking like it's shaping up to be a great game, Lair looking promising (although I'm not completely convinced yet) and some blockbuster hits coming at the end of this year I'm pretty excited. Honestly, I hope this doesn't sound too much like some PR zombie taking advantage of the situation, because I'm not. It's the first time I've really got into about how much I enjoy the experience in hopes of shedding some light on the parts of the PS3 that aren't that bad (namely everything but the price ;)
      • because being Slashdot most likely they'll get flamed to hell or called retards for spending $600 on a game console etc etc.

        This is a fair point that I think a lot of Slashdotters should consider. I know that we have a large contingent of people who routinely proclaim to be perfectly satisfied with running games on ten-year-old hardware, but we also have a contingent of hardcore gamers too. I'm certainly guilty of having proclaimed the PS3 to be ridiculously expensive, but then two days later I've found myself trying to justify the purchase of a $600 graphics card because my 7600GT just isn't able to drive my games properly a

    • I'm enjoying my PS3 quite a bit, and if it weren't for so many developers targeting 720p without providing 1080i support (I have a 1080i-only TV), I'd have very little to complain about.

      Pros:
      First to get Virtua Fighter 5
      No extra fees for online gaming
      Blu-Ray movie playback (it's very difficult to go back to DVDs now)
      Hard drive in every unit
      Most comfortable next-gen controller
      PS1 and PS2 backward compatibility

      Cons:
      No built-in 720p upscaling for 1080i-only TVs
      No rumble (though this will be chan
    • I own a PS3. I've had it for a few weeks. I've had fun playing Elder Scrolls: Obsidian and Motor Storm. Blast Factor is also fun, though I doubt it'll have much longevity. It was only $5.99, though I've also been working my way through the original God of War. (I never owned a PS2.) I have been, at the moment, "loving in" in that it's taken up all my gaming time. (Though that's partially because my wife monopolizes "Puzzle Quest" when I'm home.)

      I bought it because it's the first console I could get
      • by tc (93768)
        "I didn't even consider an XBox, because I refuse to put any money towards Microsoft's efforts to expand their monopolistic bullshit beyond the PC. Honestly, I'm surprised a slashdotter can admit buying an XBox without holding their head in shame."

        And yet somehow stuffing the coffers of the same company responsible for the rootkit debacle makes you a model slashdotter (whatever the fuck that means)?
    • The system is a great DVD player, a Good blu-ray player. Has a lot of options I find neat and so far I have 3 games for it. 2 are a lot of fun 1 was given to me because my friend was using the game as a coaster (genji). PS1 games are coming online which rocks and I use it as a media center for my HD TV. It's a pretty nice machine. It was worth it for me. The machine is a good one and well made. There aren't the same "disc read error" problems that plagued the launch PS2/Xbox/360.
    • by Kohath (38547)
      I like mine. I wish I had more time to play games and watch movies.

      I have no complaints about the capabilities or operation of the system. It needs more great games and a better online store that sells video though.

      I think I clearly made the right choice in buying it. It's still the best choice for HD movies at a semi-reasonable cost.
    • When the PS3 first came out, I thought it was a pointless piece of shit. When the Wii came out, I really wanted that. After several months of trying to get one, I gave up and bought a PS3. (Sorry, buying the 360 never even crossed my mind.) I thought it was OK, but I still wanted a Wii.

      A week after I bought the PS3, I went to someone's house, they had a Wii. It was pretty cool. But, I was there for about six hours, and in that time, I became bored with it. The motion sensing gimmick got boring fast, and it
      • BTW. I hear a lot about people who go to a friend's house who has a wii, they play it... "That's really cool, i want one." It's pretty cheap, so when they become available, maybe they'll get one, if they remember. However, I've had friends come over, and play Virtua Fighter 5 or R:FOM on the PS3, which gets more of a "HOLY SHIT" response. Then, they hear it's $600, and that's pretty much it. However, when the price comes down, they'll definitely remember it.

  • Not really. Using my question (#2) as a way of painting yourself as the Henry Ford-style, "product for THE PEOPLE", gaming CEO will only get you so far when you fail to price the product at a level that THE PEOPLE can afford.

    They're stuck. They have the opportunity to present themselves as the BMW of game consoles, offering the most sophistication for your buck. Yet, they're constrained by being a MASSIVE company, that needs to eat 2x its weight every month to survive, meaning that it can't afford to be tha
  • I'm european. I did not get a copy of Casino Royale when I registered, nor was there ever a mention of a free disc when registering... Not all europeans are born alike, it would seem. ;)

    Not that it matters much. I already own it on DVD. And I'm actually quite impressed with my PS3. It has a lot going for it, though the game selection could stand to improve. I'm currently playing Resistance, and after playing Gears of War on the 360, Resistance is not very impressive.

  • I know these questions come from us, but who ever set this up must have seen this coming. We got a ton of user questions and then allow him to get away with fake answers that don't pertain to the question and marketese speak.

    Next time we get an interview with a marketing big wig please demand they answer the questions and non compliant answers will be remove. I hate seeing slashdot being turned into a game of softball.
    • by Skadet (528657)
      Don't be silly. The "marketing bigwigs" accept the interview because it can be good PR for them. What did you expect him to say?

      "Yeah that whole Blu-Ray thing? Man, don't even get me started."
      "Price cuts for the PS3? HAHAHA if you're too poor to buy our PS3 then you're too poor to buy our Blu-Ray movies. We don't want you as a customer anyway."
      "Our developers are kind of slow, which is why we haven't leveraged the PS3's power fully, yet."

      I mean, really. What's in it for them if they're honest?
      • by kinglink (195330) on Friday April 20, 2007 @06:20PM (#18818143)
        I just hate the fact we ask him real questions and they just immediately try to spin it. The first guy says he joined SCEA in 1996. And then he goes to tell him that Wikipedia can't be trusted, giving his history until he says he joined the American branch in 1996. That's essentially what joined SCEA in 1996 means.

        At the very least don't allow them to hijack questions to sell their products or point out shit that has nothing to do with it. Why allow a person to ask a question about the european delay and then allow him to fob it off, then give the company line "800,000 units in europe being the best launch ever" (sad I know that by memory, but I've heard it about 20 times since the european launch because they are so happy) Then talking about Casino Royale? you gave it away free? I'm guessing the fact that you then made it the best selling BD or HDDVD title had nothing to do with it?

        Phil Harrison has been a double talking weasel in the industry for too long. I think it's time to get him to stop.
  • My personal philosophy is to make the entertainment experience of videogames available to everyone. I want to see the audience of people who play videogames, of any type, on any device, include practically anyone on the planet.

    Personally, I don't think selling a $500 console is the best way to reach "practically anyone on the planet." In fact, it seems like you're going in the exact opposite direction with each successive console generation.

  • Wikipedia reference

    Someone has already updated the Wikipedia entry, citing this Slashdot article as a source.

    Maybe it's about time to start trusting it a bit more... ;^).

    -- Terry
  • 4.) 'Homebrew Gaming' by Anonymous Coward, maynard, and flitty
    If someone manages to get homebrew games running on the PS3, will there be firmware updates to stop this kind of development, to protect your software developers, or is homebrew something you are planning on and even encouraging? Is there a chance that the policy of restricting access to PS3 graphics hardware (via the hypervisor) could be revised to encourage us homebrew developers? How does this strategy differ from your strategy with PSP homebr

    • If you read Harrison's words carefully, they have a very direct interpretation:

      I fully support the notion of game development at home using powerful tools available to anyone. ... [cut]

      Now having said all that, we still have to protect the investment and intellectual property rights of the industry so we will always seek the best ways to secure and protect our devices from piracy and unauthorized hacking that damages the business.

      This reads exactly as follows, both in form and logically (I'm not joking):

      I k

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Excellent point. If true, it reveals a pressure point on a fault between legal and marketing. And since marketing drives the company, especially in the gamble of whether to expose HW to both XMB (game) and Linux OS'es, this is an important distinction. If Harrison will continue to tell developers like the Slashdot audience that "Sony wants to give developers everything we can", while developers specifically demand access to the RSX [petitiononline.com], then Harrison (and his marketing staff) can be used for his power inside So
  • Unauthorized hacking, eh?

    Is that when you stay up until 6am on a school night trying to get your port of Thrust working correctly?
  • Honestly folks... does this interview, and the ensuing "spin" put on every answer really surprise anyone?

    Does it surprise anyone that Sony is going to fight tooth, nail, and probably lawyerly to protect its paying IP-licensees? Does it surprise anyone that his answer to "what would you have done differently?" was something along the lines of job interview answer ("what is my fault? I am a perfectionist, who sometimes likes to work too hard for too little pay") of "I'd be bigger, better!"

    Really, having inte

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