Speaking at PlayStation day 2008, Sony Computer Entertainment's president and CEO, Kaz Hirai, acknowledged that the first year of the PlayStation 3's lifespan was underwhelming for Sony fans.
"I think its fair to say that the first year of PS3 was a difficult one", Hirai told the assembled press and industry. "There were some teething problems; success from our competitors; and our customers were a little underwhelmed by the range of titles that were available. This was something that we were very much aware of and something that we were always confident that we could overcome."
Hirai indicated that Sony is overcoming that right now, saying, ?Things have improved greatly for PS3 since the Christmas season and 2008 has gotten off to a fantastic start."
Hirai also offered an apology for the delay of Home, saying, ?Now I realise that this announcement was disappointing for many people. So please accept my apologies for the delay. But as I said at the Tokyo Games Show, I would not open up Home until I was completely happy with it, and I stand by that statement. As great as it currently is, I feel it needs a little bit more time before its ready for the wider public ? something that we firmly believe that we can provide in the Autumn."
You'll notice the word 'I' cropping up a fair amount there. It seems Hirai is taking it on the chin for the delay. Hirai's time on stage was a brief ten minutes - and punctuated by the occasional "Erm" and "Um". It was, however, a refreshing performance showcasing a man who knows not only to be aware of the issues that have bedevilled the PS3 (lack of games and delays to potential sellers) but also aware that these need to be engaged with urgently.
Discussing the relationship Sony has with third party developers, Hirai said, ?Through an increase in dialogue, there has been a greater sharing of knowledge, of development assets which has resulted in a rise in the number of developers choosing PS3 as the lead platform.?
Of course, if you listen to Electronic Arts' CEO, John Riccitiello
, leading on the PS3 makes it easier to develop for. It could just be that developers are leading on Sony's console because developing for it is more problematic if you are working on it as a second platform...
Hirai also highlighted the number of users the PlayStation Network now has, saying, ?We have a thriving PlayStation global community with over eight million people now registered on the PlayStation Network and over three million of these are in the SCEE countries.?Winning BACK PlayStation Gamers
Discussing the future of the PlayStation brand, Hirai acknowledged that there are gamers who need to be won back, saying (with our emphasis):
"Moving forward the future of PlayStation firmly sits in the domain of interactive entertainment: a harmonious marriage between games and community. And it's through this unique, exciting and and accessible games (sic) that we will make our platforms the staple diet for ALL gamers - including those who like to take part in casual and social gaming.
"It's this dedication that we firmly believe will bring the PlayStation gamers BACK to the PlayStation family and become part of our global network community."
This admission that formerly dedicated PlayStation gamers require winning back indicates that some serious management chat has occurred - it's unlikely that teacups were thrown; it is more than likely that certain realities were voiced... loudly.
So, in short, Hirai dealt with: lack of developer input (where are the exclusives?); delays on key titles; the fact that gamers have drifted away from the brand - and all in ten minutes. Now, let's see words put into action.