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Phil Harrison on 1080p, TGS games, Microsoft, and Blu-ray.<br/>Jack Tretton discusses corporate strategies. |

In the past few years Phil Harrison seems to have become the public face of the PlayStation, appearing at practically every conference and usually appearing as the most approachable of the company’s spokespeople. He does come in for some stick from certain corners, but for the most part he says what needs to be said. And you wouldn’t argue with a 6 foot 7 inch tall Brit would you? 😉

In his latest interview at TGS with GamePro Harrison is faced with a few tricky questions, but answers with aplomb, providing some interesting new details:

#Sony went “radio silent” after E3 and kept the development of PS3 titles out of the public eye to make the improvements at TGS as clear as possible. Harrison also notes that what was shown at TGS isn’t simply “it”, and that there are more refinements and improvements to come from PS3 titles.

#Harrison again points out the the PS3 is the only console capable of TrueHD (no longer true, but you can understand his confusion- Microsoft’s conference was almost as odd as Sony’s in that respect), but also goes on to remind the interviewer that a nameless competitor remarked that there would be no 1080p games on the PS3 this year so that’s why they made such a big play of it. Harrison actually believes that certain games look better at 720p depending on their style and design. I suppose this highlights the choice available to developers though.

#The conversation turns corporate and Harrison addresses the question of arrogance and what makes Sony standout from Microsoft. He firstly makes it clear that Sony does read feedback (in forums and newsgroups) from its millions of users and fans who want the company to do a good job with their products. Harrison also praises the input of other companies supporting the console. Harrison goes on to highlight that Sony’s internal development studios, according to Merryll Lynch, are as large as Microsoft and Nintendo’s. Combined. That encompases 14 studios and 2200 people, sharing common technology and tools to the benefit of Sony’s platform; Harrison is the boss of this division. He also praises Ken Kuturagi as a challenging visionary and highlights the role PlayStation 3 has a as a multi-function device so that people can get more out of the system.

#Harrison makes it clear we ought to expect PS3 software functionality to grow over time as it has on the PSP through firmware upgrades. He also addresses the issue of hardware upgrades (extra RAM and so on), saying that if Sony was to go down this route they would guarantee nobody would get left behind.

#Finally Harrison picks a last question from the journalist’s notebook, addressing the Blu-ray drive. He emphasises that its inclusion was purely a game based decision and that using it for movie playback is subordinate. He again mentions Resistance’s 20GB+ size and warns that they will be pushing the 50GB by the end of the PS3’s lifespan. To be fair we’ve seen both arguements for and against the inclusion of the Blu-ray drive, but I’m steadily coming around to thinking that Blu-ray will really begin to shine later on in this generation and present some big advantages making it well worth the money.


In a separate interview SCEA’s Jack Tretton discusses where Sony stands in the games industry as of now (how well the PSP is doing in the States relative to the DS- the figures confirm it has sold better over a shoter period of time, despite now been behind following the DSLite’s release- and how Microsoft is under performing with the 360). Both parts contain bits of controversy, but its worth remembering this stuff is for the benefit of the games industry and not focused on us so much. In that vein however at the end of the interview Tretton re-iterates Sony will not be forced into using rumble by Immersion and that developers have responded more postively to Sony’s open network than Microsoft’s closed one. It’s a very interesting read!

GameDaily Biz

  • I wonder if Phil Harrison reads PS3Blog….

    It was a risk, Sony staying quiet until TGS. but the games spoke for themselves so it was a risk that paid off, despite all the criticism that was hurled at Sony.

    I’m pro BD for games use as we can only benefit from it’s inclusion & over time it’s impact will be more telling.

  • I don’t see how people can argue that the BD’s capacity isn’t needed for this upcoming generation of consoles. If you put a restriction like 9GB on a game company, they have to stay within it. But if you tell them they have 50GB, then they’ll expand their efforts to make use of it.

  • I would argue with him (and I am only 5’9”)… I mean… As a German I just have to, dont I?

    Btw BD.

    Todays PC Games usually effortlessly fill up a DVD5 (for some time I might add) and this course of action WILL continue. I dont think, a game of a caliber of Unreal Tournament 2k7 or whatever is going to be DVD5 anymore, AT LEAST DVD9, if not 2 or more discs.

    But that set aside…

    Hehe, Immersion… Didnt they just release the Survey (which I have taken) which was so biased (I strongly remember the question whether I would buy a 360 or a PS3 game, if I had both consoles and the games were EXACTLY the same except rumble. I mean, I a company has the chance to use the motion sensor, why wouldnt they?) its unbelievable…

    I am GLAD rumble got thrown out, it was a nuissance (except for MGS and GT, where I dont mind it anymore since I got my FF wheel) and totally misused by many games (FF-X anyone?).

    I dont think Phil Himself reads here, but his collegues do for sure. Hi there 😀

  • WonderSteve

    A lot of people are going against Sony this time. Quite a bit of them are biased though.

    Look at kotaku, that site is just so biased that it’s not even funny

  • matt

    The basis for needing more space is obvious but I STRONGLY believe that the industry is working harder to compress data than it ever has been before. I base this on a few things. 1) HDTV is very limited right now. Band-width issues limit the amount of channels that I have and that needs to change. If Cable companies want to survive they have to find a way to compete with Verizon (telephone company who is doing fiber optic from source Into the house)

    2) Sony has even spoken about BR being the last hard format ever needed. If files get larger the amount of storage that would be needed gets larger. Also everything would need to be downloaded. Internet speeds have gotten better but no-where near fast enough to download movies and games, let alone HD movies.

    Compression seems to me the fastest and best way to speed up the processes of eliminating discs. The industry want this to happen and sometime it will.

    Also I am so sick and tired of 1080p being refered to as TrueHD. Sony get your heads out of your asses and get real. So few people will ever have the need for 1080p because of the HDTV size that they have. Most people are buying 37″ or smaller HDTVs that have absolutely no need for 1080p. You are hyping a technology that might apply to 1% of your potential fanbase. I don’t care about 1080p. I will when I buy the 70 inch HDTV I want in a year or two when I actually have a need for 1080p. The 50″ 720p DLP I own right now looks absolutely gorgeous and it didn’t cost me my left arm.

    I personally think Rumble will be sorely missed. I love rumble and a lot of people will miss it when it isn’t there. If Sony can create enough games that use the motion controller than they might forget.

  • Habs9

    With the addition of HDMI to the 20GB configuration what is the advantage of the 60GB if a person already has a home network, media readers with wifi and plenty of storage capacity? I have heard many say that it makes the budget bundle the most desired which means that Sony really just knocked $100 bucks off most peoples hardware costs even without the price cut in japan that hasn’t been offerred to North America yet. Am I missing something? This makes the PS3 quite a deal. Best technology and best price point for all features you get. I think the future is very bright for Sony.