May 7, 2008 // 6:00 pm
- The sixth of May was Kaz Hirai
's own personal Sorry Day. At the PlayStation Day press event held at the Millennium Dome in London, England, the President of Sony Computer Entertainment expressed his deep regret for the delay of Home:
"Please accept my apologies for this delay."
While Home has the potential to revolutionize the way gamers interact online, the final version won't be available until much later in the year, and the open beta test won't go live until Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere; Spring for Australia.
Mr. Hirai stated that overall quality control was the main reason for the setback:
"It needs a little bit more time."
But the revelations didn't stop there. In his first public appearance since the Tokyo Game Show last year, Kaz also freely admitted that the software lineup in the first year of the PS3's life was "somewhat underwhelming."
Killzone 2, a FPS promoted as a flagship title for the console since the PS3 was announced, was delayed yet again, this time to February 2009.
It is remarkable that a Sony executive has made such frank admissions to the public, yet they were within the context of a broadly optimistic view of the PS3's prospects. Mr. Hirai believes that the PS3 will have "at least a ten-year life cycle," and he had some facts to support his claim.
While he did not cite examples, he stated that more and more developers were switching from Xbox 360 to PS3 as their lead development platform for next-gen games. And with an install base of over five million consoles, there are now more PS3s in the homes of European Territories than Xbox 360s, even though Sony's console launched significantly later.
Most ambitious of all, Mr. Hirai declared that the PS3's focus was now to foster communities driven by user-generated content, mimicking the success of YouTube and Flikr. The potential for gamers to create their own levels in titles like LittleBigPlanet and Buzz is certainly limitless.
One this point, Mr. Hirai was quite insistent:
"You will be inspired by the richness and the relevance of our content."
So while he admitted to the PS3's failures, the overall theme of Mr Hirai's keynote address was one of confidence, of a console ready to take over the world. The question now is whether the public actually takes advantage of these new ways of sharing their creativity.