Shuhei Yoshida believes that consoles can still innovate, and the industry is not in a state of console decline, but we’re in a generational decline instead.
Speaking with GI International, Yoshida said the current generation has been the longest on the PS3 and the Xbox. It’s in its seventh year, and prior to this, companies would have already launched a new system already.
“Really, developers hit the limits after a couple of games on the same system, typically,” he said. “There are a few developers like Naughty Dog or Quantic Dream who are doing more, but that’s kind of the exception. After you see the sequels to the same three games people feel like they’ve seen everything before. That’s natural, but that’s nothing like the end of the consoles.”
Like with PS3, Sony planning a 10-year lifecycle for PS4, but it’s not concerned over console fatigue in the market.
“If players are excited that means we are doing something right,” said Yoshida. “It’s very simple. When you look at the PlayStation 3, it is way, way better than the PS3 that came out in 2007. Because we’re constantly improving and adding content and updates, through firmware or PSN updates. It’s the same with PS Vita with new applications added. It’s a constant evolution of the system even though the hardware remains exactly the same.
“It will be the same with the PlayStation 4. We are launching this holiday but we already have plans on the roadmap for additional features and improvements on the services side which will constantly evolve with time. At the mid-point of the PlayStation 3 lifecycle we really hit the limit of what we can add in terms of system features. The reason we couldn’t add cross-game voice chat that players wanted was we were out of memory. Because we have 8GB of RAM [with PS4] we can secure enough room for whatever great features developers can come up with.
“Cloud gaming services are launching next year in the US so PlayStation 4 and Vita users will be able to play PlayStation 3 catalog games even though there’s no native compatibility on the system itself. That’s just one example of how we can improve the system. The PlayStation 4 is just one of the target devices. It’s all about the cloud server.
“Our team in Gaikai and Sony Japan are working hard to provide the online game services but it doesn’t require the PS4 to enjoy those services. If you’re a PS3 or a PS Vita user you can still enjoy the cloud services. So we’re developing along that schedule, not necessarily trying to tie in with the PlayStation 4 schedule.”