Kaz Hirai Interview May 2008
Our latest 1-1 chat with Sony's global PlayStation boss on everything from farm animals to PlayStation 4.
Kikizo: Sure. One of the things you said was a priority when we last spoke was to reduce the cost of manufacture of the PS3. And there have also been rumours that a "slim" edition of the machine is going to come out. Are those things going to maybe go hand in hand at some point in the future?
Hirai: We obviously try to cost reduce as much as possible, and I think we've done that and the latest iteration of the PlayStation 3 is a testament to that, and we pass along the reductions to the consumer. And as with any hardware, we're always looking to improve the efficiency and cost-reduce the parts as well. There's nothing I can talk about in terms of a "slim"; I've heard rumours and I've seen some of the stuff on websites, what have you, but we don't have any plans right now that I can talk about in coming out with a slimmer version of PS3 that some people are talking about. It's only been out very short amount of time!
Kikizo: Sure, I think some of the mock-ups tend to get quite over enthusiastic...?
Hirai: Well you know, but quite honestly at some point in time, I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility. In that, we came up with a smaller PS1, and we came up with a slimmer PS2 as well, but that was later in the lifecycle - certainly not in the first year and half, two years.
Kikizo: One of the things that was most interesting to me just then from a marketing perspective is the very clear alignment that you guys are looking to do with the music industry and especially the cult stuff like unsigned bands. I mean Microsoft has won all the core gamers and now needs to expand - is alignment with cool music something that is intentional for this broadening strategy, or is there another reason?
Hirai: Well I think that the strength of the PlayStation business has always been to try and reach out and tap into different markets, and I think we've been very successful, even dating back to the original PlayStation. We certainly did that with PlayStation 2 and PSP as well. And I think it's a natural way of expanding our demographic, and to appealing to the other parts of entertainment, which are motion pictures and the music industry, and try to incorporate some of the things that they bring to the table. It also allows us to really send a message very clearly that we're all about games, but we don't start and end with just games. And I think we mentioned as well that we're all about entertainment in general, with games obviously as the core - but music should be a part of it, and motion pictures and video content should be a part of it as well.
Kikizo: Sure. Because I think the message was a little bit confused, before you took over and repositioned what the key point of the PS3 is supposed to be. I am glad that you cleared that up quickly when you took over.
Hirai: And I'll say this until all the ducks and all the other farm animals come home! It's first and foremost a video games console. But it does a lot more. But I think that message was received loud and clear, and we've made great strides in proving that, with all the great games that are coming out. But as I said before, I don't want it to end there, because I think it can do a lot more. And that I think basically is a good thing for the consumer, in that they'll buy it primarily to play fantastic games in a HD environment, but there's more that they can do with the PlayStation 3.
Kikizo: Well I am personally very convinced about the line-up, not just in terms of software but also the other functionality that the machine can do [Play TV, movie collaboration, content creation and upload, community sharing, PSP interactivity].
Hirai: But I think that when you try to pile too much on at the same time or at the beginning then I think people do start to get confused.
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Kaz Hirai Interview
Kaz Hirai Interview (May 2008 - audio only)
Kaz Hirai Interview
Kaz Hirai Interview (July 2007 - audio only)
Kaz Hirai Interview
Previous interview with Kaz Hirai (Sep 2006)
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