New Ken Kutaragi Interview

Once again Hiroshige Goto from the Japanese site PC Watch conducted an interview with Ken Kutaragi and here is the first segment in this new interview series.

A member of the forums has translated the interview to English.

PLAYSTATION 3 evolves because it's a computer

Hiroshige Goto: SCEI have always been saying PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) is not a game console but a computer. In that sense, I'd thought that it's the important point for PS3 to become a computer whether it comes with HDD standard. But it had not been made clear for a while about the standard HDD. It seems it finally reached the standard HDD through all twists and turns since 2005.

Ken Kutaragi: In my heart it was decided that we want to include HDD as the standard. However, there were various problems such as economic reasons, and we might have not been able to secure enough 2.5inch drives. An HDD-less version might have been planned. In that case it completely becomes a game console, but we want to do a computer.

With these matters, we needed resolution even though we decided to include HDD.

HG: For a game console HDD is an economic pressure. Unlike semiconductor chips HDD cost doesn't decrease. So it becomes 40-50$ cost-up through a life cycle of a game console. Though in the case of a game console its price is lowerd to $100-$200, it becomes difficult with HDD as the standard. Does it mean PS3 doesn't take a price model like a game console?

KK: After all, we don't say it's a game console (laugh) PS3 is clearly a computer unlike PSs of so far.

Obviously we have to make it a mature hardware to a certain degree to reduce the cost when we look at it as a game console. As the methodology, we have been doing cost reduction such as chip integration and power-supply reduction. Naturally we'll do the same thing for PS3.

However, as PS3 is a computer, (not only reducing the cost) but also wants to evolve. We'll want to upgrade the HDD size very soon, if new standards appear in PC we will want to support them. We may want the BD drive to write. Well, BD may not become like that though.

The meaning in that it's not a model but a configuration

HG: Since PS3 is a computer it's not bound by the limitation of the price and cost models of a game console. Is this the reason why it has HDD as the standard which is required for a computer and its hardware evolves?

KK: It's a computer not only in HDD but in the point that it fully adopted standard formats. The interface was PlayStation-only memory card slot in the past. But PS3 has only PC standard slots.

Since they are standards, of course the interfaces are open. We control no standards. You can be free because it's a computer. Also HDD can be easily upgradable for a person who can play with PC.

HG: Game consoles fix their hardware specs through their life cycles. But PS3 seems to approximate to PC in that it can change its configuration flexibly.

KK: Since PS3 is a computer there are no "models" but "configurations". This time we try to make it clear. May as well release BTO (built-to-order) list if possible (laugh) Well, but if we do it the distribution will be confused. But, with PS3, we can do BTO if we want.

HG: In an old interview you said there's no hardware called PS3 but only a meta-format. Is it possible for PS3 to do hardware configuation as long as it has the spec enough to run softwares of a certain profile?

KK: That's right. So every configuration is PS3.

HG: Is it planned that it extends its spec every year like PC?

KK: I think it's okay to release a (extended) configuration every year (laugh). Though I say it like a joke, Dell will do it and Apple will do it too. In PC, if you fix (the spec) for 2 years you'll be catched up. Computers should be changing, right? It's inevitable that 60GB (HDD) will become short, memory may become short too. There are many possibilities.

HG: Is it possible that a PS3 configuration with augmented computing power that exceeds the spec to run the PS3 game meta-format appears?

KK: Yes. If what you want to do increases, it's natural. Of course, it depends on how far what you want to do goes though.

The first party showed the PS3 title standard at E3

HG: At E3 first-party titles in development were playable, which had an impact.

KK: Advance forcasts said something like "there'll be no playable games" (laugh). No one expected that many playable games. At least, they wouldn't think playable games reached that level.

Generally speaking, a first-party should not stick out, but we showed the broad range since it's our responsibility. We have the responsibility to show the standard first.

In the days of PlayStation 1 there were arcade games at the top as the standard softwares. So SEGA and Namco that could port arcade games were strong. Games were made with arcade games as the standard.

But, this time I think PS3 excels all standards. Because of that, we thought they can't aim where they should go unless we show the standard with confidence. As the responsibility of the first party, we have to show it not only in the platform but also in softwares and other parts. The standard is like this even months before the release. Until the PS3 release in November it evolves further and further. I think it could become a kind of the standard.

HG: Relatively third parties were not noticeable. It seems there's a wide gap between the first party and third parties this time.

KK: For better or worse E3 was full of the first party. After all, they know the hardware well in the company and there is a horizontal connection in the SCEI global studio. For this event we created the demo to share various information, engines, and know-how.

Until then our studios are a conglomerate of studios which stick to (SCEI organizational) regions. About half a year before, including Harrison (Phil Harrison, President, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios) and Yamauchi (Kazunori Yamauchi, President, Polyphony Digital), we combined studios. They went offsite often, and as for E3 all studios exchanged one another and discussed everything. So it became like that.

We want top guns to show their skill on PS3

HG: The computing power of PS3 Cell far exceeds PC. Though it depends on the kind of computing, its processing performance is outstanding. But its programming model is complicated and the hurdle is high. It seems third-party develpers polarize between those who can't handle Cell and those who are very excited about Cell.

KK: Even at the time of PlayStation 1 those who were into 2D graphics were like "we can't handle PlayStation, I can't understand what it does, but it's OK as it has the library."

It's no doubt that game consoles are becoming computers today. As the result (programming) becomes different from so far. It's strange that they say it's hard to create a software when the processing performance of a game console gets higher. Nobody says he/she can't create a software because clockspeed, memory and HDD of PC get better and heavier. We want top gun (programmers) to show their skill on PS3.

HG: For now actually, developments on PS3 rely on programmers' talents and efforts. There are not yet enough libraries and middlewares to lessen the burden on developers.

KK: We continue to add middlewares. But, actually, middleware is too much for one and not enough for two. It's been always like that. It's not always true that relying on a middleware makes a good game. At least in PS3, it becomes disastrous if you don't know where to use middlewares and where to be careful.

HG: Microsoft try to realize the programming framework which was successful on PC on a game console too. They are adding standardized socket APIs on the OS.

KK: Since Microsoft is coming from PC, they say things are like that in the world of PC. But, if I look at it, I think it has no evolution.

HG: In the previous console generation, the directions of SCEI, Microsoft, Nintendo, these 3 companies were different but the difference was not so big. But, this time 3 companies turn to completely different directions. There are dramatic differences.

KK: Isn't it good if it can energize the market? If they say the same things they'll end up killing each other.

Source PC Watch via Beyond3D

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3917d ago
OutLaw3917d ago

Why you bother me so much. Don't you have some english classes to attend.

Marriot VP3917d ago

One of the first interviews he's up front and not hyping with 4D and 120fps. I kinda think if they make the PS3 seem like a computer the public won't think it's a big price to pay. Nothing wrong with what he's saying it's just strategy.

However there's a very crucial problem. The 500 dollar pack with no HDMI means that in a couple years when HDCP kicks in you won't be able to play blu-ray movies on it. I haven't heard anyone mention this so I thought I'd bring it up to see what you think.

Jay da 2KBalla3917d ago

Good point on the HDCP. I think I recall someone who worked at sony saying something about the ps3 being future proof.

Bill Nye3917d ago

Interesting thing is Xbox 360's HD-DVD player doesn't have HDMI (yet?) either. Methinks Microsoft and Sony know that HDMI won't be needed for a while... especially if those rumors about ICT not being implemented until around 2010-2012 are true.

Marriot VP3917d ago

The HD-DVD add on is through a USB into a 360...than from the 360 to an HDTV. They could easily make a HDMI plug for the 360 because the port isn't component only, it can be anything.

Bill Nye3916d ago (Edited 3916d ago )

I was right. Hah. Well, at least others think so. We'll see if it's right.

And I don't think that's true about the multi-out on the 360, otherwise I'm sure Sony would've taken the same route with their AV multi-out. Same goes for PC video cards. They would've merged VGA (analog) and DVI (digital) into one output for convenience if they could. It's probably not easy (or possible?) to merge analog and digital signals into a 'multi-out' like you're suggesting.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3916d ago
Anerythristic263917d ago

Kutaragi San ! Stop being so arrogant...please. This was a great article though ! Great post. The PS3 is officially no longer a gaming machine but a computer that plays games. That does leave MS and Nintendo as the only two gaming machines left on the market. It seems that is Sony Corporate protocol to call the PS3 a computer. He ribbed the 360 again ... poorly in my opinion. Ha whatever.

andy capps3917d ago

Good article on this. Kutaragi seems to be holding himself back some, I think his comments about MS were actually very tame for an exec. MS, Sony, and Nintendo have been slinging a lot of mud since E3 and this was rather refreshing.

TBAteam3917d ago

I really hate the way this guy gives interveiws, he answers everything with the same 5 words "The ps3 is a PC" I dont think this is a smart idea at all... as the best part of console gaming was it was a 100% level playing feild, some guy with a kick arse machine on a PC will usually win because he runs better and can see farther. While on a console everyone is the same. Now thats all gonna change according to KK.

Your right... please Kutagari, stop being arrogant, almost every word you speak makes me dislike corporate sony

shotty3917d ago

So what sony offically gave up the console race and know decided to create their own bundget computer. Honestly know it's going to half ass everything. Half ass games, movies and some computer functions. It will never replace PC simply because it doesn't run windows. Without windows you lose all third party support, quite simply it's going to fall as a PC. Is it possible to open the PS3 and add ram or a new videocard,No so how is it a PC.

achira3917d ago

i think in the future you can buy cell extensions, lol (perhaps this is the way you can upgrade)

Jay da 2KBalla3917d ago

yea i can see that happening shotty