The road to XBOX ONE. Follow the journey

Hirai on PS3... Pt. 1

Hirai on PS3... Pt. 1
It was your idea to bring the 80GB into PAL territories now. Why?
We wanted to make sure we continued offering the value proposition to consumers in the true fashion of PlayStation. We heard a lot of responses from consumers basically saying 40GB was nice, but with a lot of additional download products we're offering via the PlayStation Network, consumers were looking for a higher capacity hard drive. We thought it was a great time to introduce it at E3, but also make sure that we continued to keep the pricing the same.

Do you have a message for consumers who picked up the 40GB in recent months – and now might feel like they’ve missed out?
The PS3 is a console that evolves and specifications will change over time. Ultimately, if the consumers require a higher capacity hard drive, the ability to do that is there. 40GB is obviously less than 80GB, but it’s still a high number and a very powerful machine. We strive to evolve and offer the most compelling value we can at any point in time. If consumers require extra hard drive, they can just swap it out.

Don Mattrick kicked off E3 by stating: “I’m willing to bet Xbox 360 will outsell PS3 this generation.” Why is that a falsehood in your eyes?
The key word there is this ‘lifecycle’ or ‘this generation’. As you probably know, we’re working on a ten-year lifecycle, we’ve said that since day one and we’ve proven it with PSOne and PS2. I guess Don is saying they’re also going to be embarking on a ten-year lifecycle, then? If they are then that’s terrific, but I’ve never seen them manage it before.

Last time I checked, the Xbox went by the wayside four or five years after launch. On the other hand, if he’s saying that Microsoft will outsell us after five years, if he calls that this generation, then he’s saying he’s going to exit the 360 business within five years. I’m not exactly sure when he says ‘this lifecycle’ or ‘this generation’ what standard he’s using – five years, 10 years, I don’t know.

Microsoft announced a lot of things that could be seen as spoilers to Home – avatars and more. What will keep Home above Xbox 360’s offering?
I’m not exactly sure what Microsoft actually announced – I know they talked about the avatar system, but I wasn’t there and I haven’t seen the conference. But whether our competitors decide to follow what we’ve done with Home or no follow us, that’s up to them. We have a vision with what we want to do with Home and we want to launch it with a very game-centric vision at the beginning, and then evolve beyond that. Ultimately, we can talk the great features and functionalities and they can too – but it will really come down to after the service is launched.

Given the fact that I’ve delayed the launch of Home twice – for which I’ve apologised – I think I’ve done it for a very good reason, and that’s because I want to bring the very best service possible to consumers around the world. We’re very confident in when we do launch the open Beta service – it’s something that will really resonate with the consumers.

Is there any fear that Microsoft will get there first in the eyes of consumers? They announced a simpler avatar system that gives consumers a real sense of being a ‘person’ in a community.
Thanks to a lot of the folks in the media such as yourselves, we’ve had a lot of good coverage on Home and I think consumers will ultimately judge the services we bring after they get launch.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions, I’d much rather make sure we take the time to have a great service rather than rush something into the market – only for consumers to say: “This is not enough for me.” I want to avoid that. If we have the right service, it doesn’t matter when we launch – so long as it’s in a reasonable timeframe.

Is there any more information on Home’s launch window?
We are discussing this internally, but the only information I can give you currently is that it’s scheduled for the Fall. Once we can narrow it down, we’ll share that information with everybody.

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