The Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, by way of consumer site 1UP.com, has posted an interview with Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai, in which he speaks out on Sony's plans for the future and his views on the competition.
Speaking on the fact that the Xbox 360 will have a lead of several months over the PlayStation 3, which is expected to be introduced in spring 2006 at the earliest, Hirai said that "People, especially people up north on the West Coast, seem to put a lot of credence on being out before the other consoles. If you take a look at when our competitors came out in the market, we had upward of 3 [million] to 5 million PS2 units when our competitors came out with a platform. Consumers adopted our platform because [they like our content] and not because we were first to market. And, first to market, from what we can tell, has never been an advantage."
Hirai does admit that the PS3 will need to meet the challenge of the Xbox and Xbox 360's advances in the online front: "Online-especially in the next iteration of hardware-is going to be like air conditioning in a car. I can't imagine any car without it. We showed that online in the PS2 generation isn't going to be the end all be all, but it's become a more integral part of the experience, and I think we've proven that."
Looking back on the history of the PlayStation, Hirai reflected that "The biggest thing we've brought to the industry is that the PlayStation family of products has changed the way the business world and the press look at the industry as a whole. It used to be a niche industry. […]Nowadays, you see the cooperation between the movie industry and our industry, we're equal players. In some instances we have the upper hand, whereas if any company in the business wanted to speak to a motion picture company 10 years ago, they wouldn't have been equal partners. I think that's a fundamental change we were able to bring into the industry."
The entire interview, with further discussion of the PlayStation Portable and comments from Microsoft's J Allard, is available at 1UP.com