Just a month before the launch of the PlayStation 3 in the North American and the Japanese market, Hirai has pretty much all the pieces of the puzzle in place. We asked him about the overall strategy, the online plans and SCEA’s view of the competition.
Lets talk about the PS3’s unit numbers for launch…Kaz Hirai: For day one, we are going to have a total 400,000 units for the launch period only for North America, and we expect to have about one million units by the end of the calendar year. These are some pretty aggressive numbers.What’s going on with the launch titles? How many titles are going to be available for day one?For launch day there is going to be a bit less than 20. For the launch window there is going to be a bit more. We are looking at the portfolio of the third party publishers for the launch day, and we are asking them which titles are going to be available for the second week, which ones are going to be available for the third week, and which titles are going to be for the end of the year. Basically we are managing the portfolio of the software titles everybody has, once this process is done we are deciding which titles are going where, and then we are going to have the final list of the launch titles for the US launch. As you know with any console launch, launch titles aren’t fully known until several weeks before launch. Once that’s settled, we are going to announce the final list for the titles available at day one.
Information about PS3’s online plans has been really tight. Can you share some thoughts about it?Before I get into the details I think it’s important really to first describe what our philosophy is with regards to the network platform for the console. PlayStation 3 is obviously designed to go online on day one out of the box. It’s designed from the ground up to be a network console.What we don’t do however is have a brand name for the network service, you know, like PlayStation Online or PlayStation Live, and this is because we don’t we don’t see a “PlayStation offline”.What I’m trying to say is that it doesn't matter if you are enjoying content from a Blu-ray disc or you are enjoying content you just downloaded from the network, at the end of the day it’s all PlayStation 3 so we don’t differentiate between content, and I think that makes a clear point between us and some of our competitors, who like to differentiate how the consumers get the content, that’s the difference in the strategy or the basic philosophy towards the online service. But talking about online gameplay one of the most important things for example is that Resistance: Fall of Man will support 40 players online as well as video chat, text chat, voice chat, rankings for games, downloading additional content for your games like levels, weapons or characters depending on the game and their online capabilities. Also you will be able to downloading music content, video content - and when we say video content we are not talking about motion pictures only, but other video content as well like promotional trailers, interviews with artists, all those different kinds of video materials. The list will grow as we expand the service and those things are going to be available as soon as you take your PlayStation 3 out of the box. Are those services integrated into the network service by Sony or is it a open platform for other publishers as well?This is a platform that we are presenting to the publishing community. All the publishers will be able to take advantage of this and become a part of the online experience of our service. We are trying to offer as many options as possible, for example in the area of billing for the downloadable content if the publisher is a smaller publisher and they want to offer this kind of content, we can do the billing for them. On the other hand if they are a big publisher and they have their own billing system or strategy we can accommodate that business model as well. We are trying to be as flexible as possible and we are trying to match up with the business needs of all the publishers.