Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Ken Kutaragi goes into detail about how the PlayStation 3 will be highly configurable, and how it is "clearly a computer."
Translation by edge-online.com
In an interview on Japan’s PC Watch, Kutaragi once again pushed the PS3 as a computer, not a games console.
"Speaking about the PS3, we never said we will release a game console," he said. "It is radically different from the previous PlayStation. It is clearly a computer. Indeed, with a game console, you need to take out any unnecessary elements inside the console in order to decrease its cost. … This will of course apply to the PS3 as well."
He continued, saying that making a platform highly configurable overrides issues of cost, and even implied that the PS3 will be made to keep up with new PC technology. "However, the PS3 is a computer," Kutaragi said. "Lowering costs is important but more important is its capacity to evolve. I think the HDD will gain in capacity. If a new technology gets into mainstream PCs, the PS3 will have to adopt it as well. Maybe the Blu-ray drive will become writable. Well, maybe not at this point."
Kutaragi went into greater detail about how he feels the PS3 will be a computer. "The HDD is not the only element which gives the PS3 its computer nature. Everything has been planned and designed so it will become a computer. The previous PlayStation had a memory slot as its unique interface. In contrast, the PS3 features PC standard interfaces. Because they are standard, they are open.
"We put up no restrictions. Because it is a computer, it can interact with anything, freely. If someone is familiar with PC building, he or she can upgrade easily PS3’s HDD."
At one point in the interview, Kutaragi said that there will eventually be so many options for the PS3, the platforms could theoretically be made build-to-order. He pointed out that this would be a problem for resellers, but added, "as a computer, the PS3 could really be sold via BTO."
All of this configuration and PC talk may worry some consumers who don’t exactly admire PC technology’s knack for becoming quickly obsolete. Still, Kutaragi personally would like to see similar expansion options on the PS3, despite the drawbacks.
"I think a year from the launch we could indeed extend the configuration of the PS3. Why not!" Kutaragi conceded, "Okay, this is may be joke or a personal opinion. I mean we have no such plan at this very moment. However, companies like Dell or Apple have such programs. In the PC world, specifications rarely last more than two years. You need to update them. I believe the PC is always evolving. I think that the time may come that the 60GB HDD would become too small or the RAM to low. Such issues are numerous."
Kutaragi also commented on the difficulty of programming for such a complex machine, saying that he wants the best of the best to develop on the system.
"It is strange to think that games are more difficult to develop with increasing processor performance. On PC, I don’t find anyone complaining about improved clock, memory or HDD. On the computer named PS3, I would like the top guns of programming to express themselves."
The PC Watch interviewer pointed out that middlewares intended to help developers get a handle on the PS3 aren’t readily available. To that, Kutaragi said, "The middlewares will be there. But this has good and bad aspects. Making a good game is not all about having the middlewares. Depending on them too much can have some undesirable consequences."
As for the competition, Kutaragi said that he welcomes the significant differences and strengths of all three platforms.
"I think that if this can make the market and the industry more dynamic, why not? If we we’re all doing the same thing, the market would transform into a killing arena–that’s not really good, in my opinion."