INTERVIEW PART 2: Shuhei Yoshida talks cloud gaming

Following on from Part 1 yesterday, MCV continues its discussion with Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida.

Are you happy with the Vita’s first showing at E3?

Well, actually, I got lots of tweets to my account complaining that there weren’t many PS Vita games being talked about. In retrospect, we should’ve spent more time showing and talking about our PS Vita titles.

We have 25 PS Vita games playable on the show floor, some of which are really great titles I’m very excited about. We could have spent more time talking about those, but we had a very clear intention this year to make the total press conference shorter, because we’re notorious for holding lengthy ones.

I hope we accomplished that with this year’s conference (which I think lasted about 80 minutes), but from the perspective of people who are waiting for more information on Vita titles, we weren’t able to provide that.

I’m hoping that journalists are looking at the games on the show floor and getting the word out that way.

Will the future of Playstation look harder at add-on services, further motion sensing, augmented reality or cloud gaming?

I think those avenues are valid and it’s definitely a good idea to make use of cloud gaming technologies. We’ve been looking at the variety of technologies we could include in the Playstation ecosystem. We looked at different motion sensing tech and our vision analysis technologies to create PS Move for example.

We’ve been looking at streaming tech as well, and one of the examples we had was what we call remote play. Remote Play was where you connect your PSP through the internet to your PS3. It is like a cloud gaming service at a fundamental level in terms of how the mechanic itself works.

Cloud gaming services allow us to stream games via a server to different devices, but in order for it to become practical, the internet has to be very robust in terms of bandwidth and latency. As with all things infrastructure, it takes time for it to become widely available. Some consumers in the US and some parts of Europe have very robust and fast net speeds, so cloud gaming would be practical in those markets, but not when you look at the wider, broader global market.

Cloud gaming, because it’s so easy for consumers and is so convenient (ie you don’t have to do any big downloads, installation or setup). When there are faster internet connections, gaming in the cloud as a subscription service could become a reality.

We’re looking at what OnLive is doing, and the tech around that, and considering how this can be a part of Playstation.

And how would a move like that, if it were to happen, impact the rollout of new Playstation hardware?

I think when it becomes a reality, what it’d do is allow us to reach a broader audience on devices Playstation platforms, reaching broader audiences than we currently can.

Considering that this console generation has lasted longer than any before it, would you say this is a trend which might increase further for the next generation? Are hardware updates becoming less important?

Well, we’re not talking about any next gen Playstation hardware ideas as yet, but because we’re updating the firmware and adding new services and devices (like PS Move and PS Vita) which work alongside PS3, people (and developers) are finding new ways to create new experiences for the current console.

Also, the PS3 is an incredibly advanced piece of hardware in terms of the CPU, and it’s taken developers a long time to really maximise the use of the tech. So when you look at new games like The Last of Us or Beyond, they’re much improved from earlier PS3 titles.

I think all of that will continue to contribute to the longer life cycle of the PS3 over previous generations.

Are you interested in prolonging this period of developers being in their prime?

From a consumer standpoint, I’ve gone from the NES to SNES to Playstation, PS2 and PS3, and I totally agree that when the platform matures, the very best games come out. I also agree that on PS3, games are really reaching their peak in terms of depth, graphical fidelity, playability and network features.

I think this is the result of many years of hard work by the development community, and they’ll continue to take advantage of what they’ve been able to accomplish on PS3.

Thank you for your time.

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