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Jul 02 2005
By: Krynale Fender Bender 3165 posts
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NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

79 replies 3 views Edited Jul 2, 2005
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Console War: Kaz Hirai Interview
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From Xbox 360 to PlayStation 3, Sony talks about the future.
  by Patrick Klepek 07.01.2005
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veryone expected Sony would talk PlayStation 3 at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, but few were prepared for the visceral onslaught of game demonstrations, hardware specifications, and ambitious talk about the rapidly approaching next-generation future from the company. Still, for as much as Sony unveiled at their press conference, there are just as many fine details still under wraps.,

Were the game demonstrations running on actual PlayStation 3 hardware? Is that boomerang-looking controller actually real? How is Sony going to catch up to Microsoft in the online world? For answers to these burning questions and others, EGM turned to Sony Computer Entertainment America president and chief operating officer Kaz Hirai, who has been involved with the company since the launch of the original PlayStation and remains a key figure in the future of the brand.

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For more from Hirai and complete coverage of the next-generation console wars, check out the latest issue of EGM, and stay tuned to our collaborative Console War mini-site for additional EGM interviews and other exciting content.

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EGM: Congratulations on the big press conference. Seems like a lot of people came away from it pretty excited.

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Kaz Hirai: Thank you. Thank you.

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EGM: It was surprising how much emphasis you guys put on PS3 in the press conference. I thought there would be more talk about the current generation and PSP.

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Click to EnlargeInsomniac's long rumored next-gen FPS fuses WW2 with...aliens?KH: Well, we wanted to just, you know, there was so much to talk about. So much to show and, you know... It was just...bursting at the seams. And you guys probably thought it was a bit long anyway; it turned out to be an hour and forty-five minutes or so. And that was after we tried to pare things down.,

We figured, hey, this is the big news of the event for Sony Computer Entertainment. And, you know, through conversations like these we can talk about PlayStation 2 business and the PlayStation Portable business and answer any questions that way, as opposed to the usual me getting up there and talking about numbers, numbers, numbers. And besides, people, I think, start to expect that I'm just going to go out there, introduce Ken, and you know, everybody else will talk and stuff.

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EGM: This probably won't be the last time you're asked, but is the spring release date worldwide, Japan, or...?

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KH: We haven't decided which territory or territories, and we obviously haven't decided a date yet. We haven't set a price. Those things are things that we'll have to start discussing and taking a hard look at, really as we go back from this show.

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EGM: When you talked PS3, there was a lot of pie-in-the-sky-type discussions, similar to what we heard when PS2 was announced. It seems like PS2 was over promised, with features like making the PS2 a home server and microtransactions never coming to pass. Are you going to be able to full everything you've discussed?

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KH: Yeah, you know, we've been talking a lot about the online initiatives, and actually, I'm very happy with where we find ourselves, with the PlayStation 2's online initiative that we started, what is it now? Two and a half years ago, if I'm not mistaken? It was August of 2002...I'll have to check on that, but-the launch of the Network Adaptor. And we still to this day have the largest online community of registered users on the PlayStation online service. And we obviously want to move the bar forward, to bring in different kinds of transactions, and we still are looking to embark on those and introduce those to the consumers. But there are a lot of moving parts, and now that we've introduced PlayStation 3 into the equation-as well as PlayStation Portable-things are moving at a pretty fast clip.

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What we don't want to do is put out something that is, for example, just PlayStation 2-specific, or something that we put out that consumers may or may not embrace, but even if they embrace, we need to ask them six months later: Well, now that this has PlayStation Portable conductivity, so we need to change things around or change service around, and come spring next year PSP is coming out so, sorry guys, we need to shift some things around or we're going to add functionality so everyone needs to upgrade. We want to stay away from that, because we believe simple is best. And I would much rather continue down the very successful path that we have, the online leadership with PlayStation 2 today as opposed to just rushing things out. And if that means that some people are saying, "Well, where's the microtransactions?" I mean, it's a valid question, but you know, there's a reason why we don't want to rush things out and that is because we have two other consoles now to kind of make sure that we bring into the fold as well.

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Click for DemoSony showed off new hardware features with a souped up old demo.Because what we don't want to do is make something specifically for PS2, or, as I said PSP, but we don't want to also do something specifically for PS3, the PS3 online world, and then you know shut out the PSP users and PS2 users as well, so...there's a lot of moving parts that need to be solved before we can bring out a comprehensive online program. And as I said, I want to make sure it's a comprehensive online program as opposed to "here's something for the next six months.",

EGM: So would this be an Xbox Live-type service?

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KH: Well, what I would like to ideally see is something that would serve the PlayStation 3 user, the PlayStation Portable user, as well as the PlayStation 2 users to the extent that they can take advantage of what the PlayStation 3 online world will be. Now, given the limitations, as compared to the PS3, of the PS2, they may not even perceive an advantage... Maybe there will be, I can't tell you right now. But the plan is to include all three, and certainly there's lots to talk about, exciting possibilities-especially for PlayStation Portable because it's got Wi-Fi built in to all the units that are out there.

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EGM: Yeah, and like you say, if you're using it to access your PS3 not just in the room but outside in the world...do you have any examples of how you would do that?

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KH: Well, basically, I liken it to accessing your Lotus Notes, when you're in Japan, that I would do. I just pop on my laptop, do the wireless, and I'm basically in my Lotus Notes. Not playing games, but you know, accessing my notes. It's similar to that but for entertainment content. It would be that you would take your PSP with you, to the other side of the world, for example, you'd fire up your PSP and through a wireless hotspot in Japan, you could get right into your PS3 and access a role-playing game or whatever it is, to continue doing what you're doing. Or, you know, access other content that you may have in your detachable hard disk drive or Memory Stick, so literally the PlayStation Portable becomes an extension of the PS3 that you have in your home.

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...Interview: Kaz Hirai, continued(page 2 of 4)

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EGM: A satellite and mothership kind of thing.

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KH: Yeah, exactly. And when I say, "Well, think of your Lotus Notes," then a lot of people say, "OK, now I get it." But in an entertaining way.

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EGM: PS3's supposed to include a number of extra Internet-related capabilities. Is it going to have a browser or a keyboard for surfing the Web?

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A taste of what's next for the best selling racing series.KH: Well, it's got a USB port, so you can plug in USB keyboards if you like, or other USB peripherals. I've said this for 10 years now: If people think, if consumers think that "yes, I want to browse the Web," especially this time around, and it could be a different story, especially with the HD monitors that people have, instead of a standard-definition TV. If consumers say, "We want to browse the Web," you know, the conventional websites as we know them today, there's really no reason why we or some other software publisher can't come out with a Web browser.,

I think it was always possible with the PlayStation 2, even with the PS1, you know, with some limitations... but at the end of the day, whether you're using the PS2 or PS1 or some other Web-TV devices, outputting the Internet, as we knew it or know it today, on a conventional TV, is not really a great experience. Now, as I said, things could be somewhat different because you can output to an HD device, and then yeah, you get that clarity as well. So again, I think that maybe there would be more people wanting to do that. And if there is, there's really no reason why we, or like I said, a third-party publisher would do that.

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EGM: And then there's the hard drive, the detachable hard drive. I'm imagining that that will be sold separately?

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KH: We haven't decided whether it will be sold separately or whether we're going to include one, and then sell additional ones...that's still to be determined.

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EGM: Because the PS2 one didn't seem to do too well...

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KH: Yeah, we -I'm not exactly sure, maybe about four or five hundred thousand, I'm not exactly sure-with Final Fantasy XI.

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EGM: Do you think more developers would support the PS3 hard drive from the outset?

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KH: I think it depends on, again, whether it's something the consumers will be able to take advantage of from day one, and if it is, then great. If not, then you don't want to straddle consumers with something that they're not going to be using for a while. And that was pretty much the strategy with the PS2.

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EGM: How different will the final PS3 controller be from the one you unveiled? Is that just a mockup?

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KH: The PS3 controller that we showed at the show is obviously a mockup. But yeah, fundamentally the design won't change. We may do tweaks here and there, but you can expect that fundamentally it's going to look like that. So, to answer your question, it's going to look different from the PS and PS2 controller.

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EGM: Why the move to a different shape?

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KH: Good question. No, seriously, I've not spoken to the designer on that, so I wouldn't be able to tell you one way or the other.

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EGM: It supports seven controllers through Bluetooth, which seems like an interesting number. Do you know why you'd want to support seven controllers?

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KH: Um, I would assume, and you guys may know this better, I would assume that it's that for Bluetooth, you can't have more than seven.

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EGM: I see. I wondered if it was some kind of strange, you know, of a seven-player game.

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KH: Seven-player game, yeah, exactly. Not eight, but seven.

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EGM: Did you read the TIME article on Xbox 360?

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KH: No, I have not. No. People have been talking about it, but I have not had a chance to read it.

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Our first look at PS3 came in the form of an Nvidia tech demo.EGM: We'll read you one little part from Bill Gates. He says "If there's anything confusing about Sony's thinking, it's when will they get their act together on the equivalent of Xbox Live." Is this something we're going to see, then, with PS3?,

KH: Again, you know, they seem to really put their eggs in the online basket, which I guess is one strategy. But I think especially with this generation of hardware-not PS3, but PS2-I've said from day one that online is not the be-all end-all. It's a great experience. It's a very important thing that we embark on. That's why we took it very seriously and grew it to the biggest number of registered users. But we also don't want to lose sight of the fact that it's all about great content. It's all about making sure that you continue to grow the installed base of your hardware, making sure that you continue that dialogue and relationship of the brand with the consumers that you've established over the past ten years of leadership. Those things are the other important ingredients that come in to making sure that you can take everybody to the next generation of hardware.

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So talking about online is great-like I said, I'm not belittling it. But there are other important aspects that one cannot forget to ensure success to move on and transition to the next generation. So having said that, as I said, I've said this before many times as well: Online or broadband connectivity, whatever you want to call it, is kind of like air conditioning in a car. It was nice to have back in the '60s. Now I don't think you can find too many cars without air conditioning. So whatever final form that we decide to take, online is going to be an integral part of the PlayStation 3 experience, and by extension, PSP and also PS2 as well.

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...Interview: Kaz Hirai, continued(page 3 of 4)

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EGM: For PS2 it's been largely left up to the publishers to decide what online things they want to put in, or how they want to set up their online materials.

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KH: That's correct. We took the approach of letting the publishers decide that as opposed to dictating what they should be doing. That's really their business.

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EGM: Right. Will that change with PS3?

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KH: Um, we haven't decided one way or the other, but yeah, once we do make some decisions and some announcements, obviously we'll be presenting the business side of things to the publishers, as well.

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EGM: Right now, HDTV penetration in homes is still like around 11-12 percent. Of course, in six months it'll be higher, but are you concerned that that's a feature very few people are going to take advantage of?

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Final Fantasy CG is always a good measure of how powerful the next PlayStation console will be. Square recreated the opening moments of FFVII in real-time on PS3.KH: Yeah. And what we wanted to do there is, again, to make sure we are providing a console for consumers that basically is, to the maximum possible extent, future-proof. Because if we didn't have 1080p, let's say we just had 1080i, for example, and five years from now we find the penetration of HD monitors that have 1080p becomes higher, what are you going to ask consumers to do? Go out and buy another one?,

That, to me, is a great disservice. And that's why we want to make sure we have the highest available that we know of today, which is 1080p, in the box from day one, so that when consumers do go out and buy-it'll allow them to still have standard-definition TVs, no question about it-but when they do buy an HD monitor, they can take advantage of the highest resolution that is currently available. And that's kind of been our business model all along, in that, I mean, people will laugh at this: We're still in the business of the PlayStation. And that's a 10-year technology. And back then, we tried to future-proof it, and I think we did a pretty good job. And we still have a lot of years left with the PlayStation 2 as well.

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If you're just packing your box with technology that's up to date or semi up to date today, again, you're really doing a disservice to consumers. You want to make sure you're packing your console with the technology of the future, basically.

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EGM: Microsoft's basically saying all their Xbox 360 games will be 720p; they're kind of making it mandatory. Is there going to be any kind of mandatory resolution for publishers for PS3?

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KH: That's something that we're going to have to discuss internally and decide, and obviously talk to our publishing partners to see how they feel, as well.

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EGM: Many of the demos at the press conference were spectacular, but how much of games like Killzone were a pre-rendered movie? How much was representative of what games will look like? Was it just a target demo?

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KH: It really depends on which ones we're talking about, I think. But I would say that, in general, the demos that you saw, not demos, but the videos you saw are the minimum bar that you would expect. And some of them, I actually thought "Hmm," you know, there's a lot of improvement to be done, because they're more technology-based demos than anything else.

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And I think that's-I mean, you can do this every time as well, you take a game for PlayStation that was built in '94 and you compare it with Gran Turismo 2 in the latter days. You know, same machine but a different thing altogether. I think it's pretty much the same if you compare-let's stick to the GT analogy, compare GT3 and GT4, same machine again, but it's different.

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EGM: Would you say the Killzone demo is representative of games we'll be seeing?

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KH: But I think that just conceptually, where we want to go with PlayStation 3 is to push the boundaries, especially, you know, with something like a Killzone or a Gran Turismo or any reality-based game, as close to photo-realism as possible, and not just pretty photo-realism, but based on the photo-realism-because you know, if you can just be pretty and not do anything that's pretty stupid. So it's got to be backed up with some powerful A.I. and processing power on the Cell, so that, I don't know, if you're playing a role-playing game if your guy is responding and he's blushing or his eyes are shifting, you know the guy's lying, you know, that sort of thing. Because if it's text-based, you don't know if the guy's lying to you or not.

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Those are the kinds of things we want to do, so it's not just the pretty pictures, but you know, what can you do with the pretty pictures that will suck you in to that experience.

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EGM: Microsoft's shown their hand with Xbox 360; we've seen everything their device is going to do in terms of like playing music through your iPod and PSP. Are these features...

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KH: It can play music through the PSP, as well?

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EGM: Yeah.

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KH: Wow.

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EGM: Yeah, it drew a lot of laughs when they put that slide up. Are these also things we can expect from PS3?

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KH: Those to me are nice to have, you know, "sure, why not" is kind of where I'm at. Technically it's obviously very simple to do. And, yeah. I mean, if it's not going to detract from the experience, if it's not going to cost a lot of money to include that functionality, I don't see any reason why we wouldn't... It's like one of these, "OK, check. Nice to have."

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EGM: With Xbox 360, Microsoft's trying to integrate it with the PC, trying to do more. How will that compare with PS3?

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KH: Right. You actually raise a good point in that we're not trying to replicate a PC here, so there is a fine distinction, a fine line that you need to draw. I'm not saying you can't do photos or anything like that; I'm not talking about specific functionalities, but just conceptually. We're not trying to replicate the PC experience, which is a fine line, what constitutes a PC experience and what doesn't, and that's something that we've always been talking about internally as well.

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EA showed off a real-time demo of their next Fight Night title. The game's muscle and facial animation impressed the hell out of us. It looked real painful too.And again, the question about the Web browsing has always come up in terms of things we're going to apply. But even if you could, then is this a PC? And viewing websites on your game console, is that entertainment? Maybe it is; maybe it isn't. I'm just throwing that out there. Those are issues that we all need to grapple with.,

EGM: This goes back to kind of what was said about the PSP when it was coming out, like downloading movies and things like that.

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KH: Actually, with the penetration of broadband and, you know, this time around we've got Gigabit Ethernet, once that infrastructure starts taking place, yeah. I think it's going to become more of a viable option of accessing content, you know, you don't have to wait a couple hours or however long it takes. It will be very practical. So I think that opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

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EGM: Did you hear that Revolution is going to play DVDs?

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KH: I just saw the slanted box and...yeah. Were you at the Nintendo conference?

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EGM: Yeah. You have to buy an add-on to watch DVDs and then you can download old Nintendo games.

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KH: Oh yeah, that part I saw in USA Today. Why do you need an add-on to play DVDs?

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...Interview: Kaz Hirai, continued(page 4 of 4)

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EGM: We're going to ask that. You've been talking about downloading movies with PS2 and now PS3. Will that finally become a reality here?

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Click to EnlargeKillzone floored attendees with its CG-quality visuals, but many question whether the demo was an honest representation of the final game.KH: Yeah, I think, again, half of the equation when we were talking about downloading games or movies or something, what have you...when we talked about PS2, back in, again, '99, I believe, it was obviously the technology we had. The other half is obviously the infrastructure-unfortunately, we don't control it. And I think that the broadband networks, adoption of broadband, and hopefully, you know, faster broadband, is something that consumers are going to want to adopt very quickly. And once we have the infrastructure and we have the technology, then you're good to go. You've got to have both sides of the equation.,

EGM: When PS3 launches, what kind of online components will it have?

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KH: I think that we would like to see not only just games but also, you know, depending on how the specifications turn out, motion pictures in high def. If we can come out with a service that we're very confident of, again, without having to change things around in two, three months, whatever.

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We want to make sure that, again, as Ken said, we want to make sure this thing is the center of the living room, so the more functionality or features we can bring to the table from day one, I think would be a good thing. I mean, basically, if you look at the way the PlayStation Portable has taken off...just to sidetrack for a second, you know, I was at CES saying, "This is a multimedia device," and people were like, "Yeah, but it's a game console. Come on." You know, I got that all the time, and then lo and behold, speaking to retailers, some of the retailers actually sell more movies than games. So it's not just a game player.

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And, also, speak to Sandisk, Lexar, or even, you know, the people at Sony Electronics. They can't keep enough of the 512 and the 1GB Memory Stick Duos in stock, which tells me they're using it to download music or transferring video, or whatever it is they're doing. What they're doing for sure is doing something other than playing games. And games are selling like hotcakes. So again, my point being it's not just a game device, whether it's a PSP or PS3, so again, the more content you can provide, the better off you are.

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EGM: When you said high-def movies, though, were you talking about movies on Blu-ray discs?

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KH: Yes. Or whatever format they come out on.

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EGM: PS2 was able to enhance PS1 visuals a bit. Are you planning that with PS3 in relation to PS2 games?

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KH: You know, a lot of people say that. You guys think there was an improvement? Maybe I just don't have the eye for it...I don't know that there will be. But it will be fully backward compatible.

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EGM: Xbox 360 is coming out this fall, and we're guessing PS3 will come here next...fall. Why should people wait?

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KH: I think it's a combination of a couple things. One is the track record that we have in bringing exciting content to our console, whether we're talking about exclusive titles or just additional content for a particular title, for example. Also, I think the fact that we are putting more technology into the box, we're future proofing it, certainly, a lot more than some of the competitors' platforms that are going to be coming out.

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EGM: Do they need to call it the Xbox 1.5?

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KH: Eh, I don't know. It kind of just started. I've used it occasionally as well. But I don't know, it just kind of started to feed on itself. I don't know who actually started it. But what I would do is make sure that, because people tend to forget, that PlayStation came out after Saturn. PS2 came out after Dreamcast. And five years ago, I got the same question: "Dreamcast is coming out before you guys. What are you guys going to do; are you guys concerned?" So it's kind of like, OK, I've been asked that question before, and you know where we find ourselves.

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Click to EnlargeWhile not nearly as impressive as Killzone, Incognito's first-person shooter and action game hybrid featured actual gameplay footage.The other thing that I would just throw out there as a factoid is when Xbox launched in the U.S., our install base in the U.S. was about 5 million. So if the install base difference still is 5 million today, then the logic holds true. However, there's about a 20 million difference, just in North America, in the install base between Xbox and PS2, which means that we've lapped them four times. So this logic of being first doesn't really hold water that way.,

EGM: Well, J Allard said that whoever gets to 10 million first wins.

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KH: I don't know what to say. I mean, they said it's a marathon, not a sprint. Well, we took them up on it, and I mean, what, we're 32 and they're about 13 or whatever it is. So, what, another two and a half times? So if it's a marathon, the first winner came in at two hours, and the next winner came in at five hours? OK...

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EGM: One more question: TGS is the next big show. What kind of presence can we expect?

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KH: Good question. Yeah. I wouldn't be able to tell you. Not because I'm being coy, just because I don't know yet.

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EGM: All right. Thank you very much.

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http://www.1up.com/do/feature?pager.offset=2&cId=3141808

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_________________________________________________________________A Mastermind sees it coming before it comes
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Fender Bender
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
Thank you very much for reading, please feel free comment
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Uncharted Territory
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
TLDR

I'm going to sleep now:smileyindifferent:
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
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did you see the date of this article....it's not 2 months old
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i was just trying to bring something to thecommunity, if you feel this is useless,then i'm sorry !

Message Edited by Streetdisciple on 07-01-2005 10:06 PM

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Gaming Beast
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
I like the Kaz interview, better than the unrealistic Ken.,
Real Time Weapon Change for Massive Damage!!
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Survivor
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005


Pirateguy wrote:
I like the Kaz interview, better than the unrealistic Ken.


yes,,atleast he didn't keep calling it the Xbox 1.5 or all the crap their,throwing into the PS3 that a good chunk of people probably won't use.
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Ghost of Sparta
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
Cool! So alot of the things sony is still deciding on eh?
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
Nice read there..
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,The thing I hate is when they ask a direct question like "is killzone,real time" and they get some half paragraph of a half bake answer.Just,say yes or no!!
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Fender Bender
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005
He reminds me of my great aunt, saying "you know" almost every sentance
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,But it was a good read. At least we know they're planning stuff.  Maybe we will see an HDD included with it :smileysurprised:
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Re: NEW INTERVIEW WITH KAZ HIRAI ! FROM 1up.com

Jul 2, 2005


pinkbikini wrote:
Nice read there..

,The thing I hate is when they ask a direct question like "is killzone,real time" and they get some half paragraph of a half bake answer.Just,say yes or no!!


Killzone was real time, it ran at 5 frames a second and was sped up to 60 for e3.
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