Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide development studios, recently spoke with GamesIndustry International about console longevity and the pressure from mobile and free-to-play games.
It’s been no secret that console sales have been negatively affected by the growing mobile and free-to-play marketplace, but Yoshida sees life in consoles yet.
He said, “It’s not the decline of consoles, it’s the decline of a generation. This generation has been the longest on the PS3 and the Xbox, it’s the seventh year. In older times we would have launched a new system already. Really, developers hit the limits after a couple of games on the same system, typically.”
“There are a few developers like Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream who are doing more, but that’s kind of the exception. After you see the sequels to the same three games people feel like they’ve seen everything before. That’s natural, but that’s nothing like the end of the consoles.”
Sony has said, like the PS3, the PS4 will have a 10-year life cycle. With more emphasis on cloud gaming, Yoshida believes the PS4, with Gakai, can emulate the longevity of the PS3.
“It’s very simple,” expressed Yoshida. “When you look at the PlayStation 3, it is way, way better than the PS3 that came out in 2007. Because we’re constantly improving and adding content and updates, through firmware or PSN updates. It’s the same with PS Vita with new applications added. It’s a constant evolution of the system even though the hardware remains exactly the same.”
“It will be the same with the PlayStation 4. We are launching this holiday but we already have plans on the roadmap for additional features and improvements on the services side which will constantly evolve with time.”
“The key to this on PS4 is we have a huge 8GB of memory. That’s way more than game developers need initially. At the mid-point of the PlayStation 3 lifecycle we really hit the limit of what we can add in terms of system features. The reason we couldn’t add cross-game voice chat that players wanted was we were out of memory. Because we have 8GB of RAM we can secure enough room for whatever great features developers can come up with.”
Cloud service for the PS4 won’t be available until 2014, however, so it will be interesting to see how they roll out the ambitious offering when it’s completed.