At today's keynote at the 2005 Game Developers Conference Europe in London, Sony's executive vice president for SCEE, Phil Harrison talked frankly and at length in a Q&A format with GDC chairman Jamil Moledina, discussing both Sony's forthcoming Cell-powered PlayStation 3 and the state of play on both the PSP handheld and the still-thriving PlayStation 2.
Harrison started the keynote by issuing a call for developers to look more closely at episodic content, referencing the 'watercooler' effect of TV shows like 'Lost', and commenting: "Our industry should move away from putting 20 hours of content onto a 5 gigabyte disc, and shift to a model which embraces more of an episodic delivery of content, just like television."
Full keynote coverage will appear on Gamasutra later today, but among the highlights of Harrison's appearance:
- Pressed on the apparent success of Xbox Live compared to the PlayStation 2's online strategy, he indicated that the PS3 would have significant online capabilities, but stressed its nature as an 'open platform', commenting, in an obvious reference to competitor Microsoft: "Distinct from our competitors, we are happy for publishers to make their own financial agreements directly with consumers."
- Harrison admitted that the circumstances which caused the PSP's delayed launch in Europe were 'obviously not optimal', but pointed out that the delay had allowed for both the Web-compatible 2.0 PSP software and a greater range of games to debut. He also referred to Sony's recent litigation against companies breaking a ban on importing the PSP as 'something for the lawyers', not wishing to comment further.
- He also revealed, after being quizzed on the extra downloadable content for Wipeout Pure
, that Sony is intending to start charging for PSP downloads next year, presumably (though not explicitly stated) of extra level and game content for existing PSP games, and consumers would pay per download, with the right to download the item again in the future from Sony's servers as necessary.
- The Sony EVP also discussed the comprehensive blend of high-level middleware (through deals with Ageia, Havok, Epic, and the newly Sony-acquired SN Systems) and low-level libraries that will be available for the PlayStation 3, admitting the company had "miscalculated somewhat" by presuming that middleware vendors would step up and provide larger suites of higher-level middleware for the launch of the PlayStation 2.
Further information, alongside a more comprehensive write-up of Sony's GDCE 2005 keynote, will be available on the website in the near future.