It’s no secret: Sony takes pride in its lengthy hardware cycles. Six years into its genesis, the PlayStation 3 generation continues to be pocked with PlayStation 2 releases – most recently this week’s FIFA 13. And while officially the last PlayStation One title produced was FIFA 2005 in October 2004, we wouldn’t be surprised if someone was still kicking around their own personal development project.
With the latest comments of John Koller, PlayStation’s VP of hardware marketing, believing the PS3’s run of relevance to be any shorter seems all but impossible.
It was only a year ago when Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, then the President of Sony Computer Entertainment, committed the PlayStation 3 to a 10-year life cycle – the system was entering into a late-life “second renaissance,” he said at the time. Speaking in an interview with Gamespot this week, Koller reaffirmed Sony and Hirai’s objective to support the PS3 well into the future, saying that the system has quite the auspicious lineup in place for the next 2-3 years:
“A lot of great content is coming. And over the next 2-3 years, the PS3 has got an incredible lineup. That consumer coming in this fall is going to really have an opportunity to have great content and what we believe to be the best content in the industry.”
Naturally, such a time frame would place PS3 support well past the PlayStation 4’s release by any stretch of its expected arrival (which is largely anticipated to be Holiday 2013). Koller attributes this to a thriving development scene, a “hot-running spigot” (we’ll go with that) which continues to pour out demand for more production on the console. Chances are it won’t turn off by 2015, either:
“We’re going to continue supporting the PS3 for the next few years. Absolutely. And we’re going to continue supporting it not only that long, but as long as there is a development spigot that’s running hot. And I can tell you right now, the development spigot for PS3 is very hot. A lot of great games coming.”
It wasn’t specified which “great games” Koller was referring to, but even if many – like, say, a future Assassin’s Creed, or the platform-ubiquitous FIFA – are also in hot demand on the Xbox 360, Sony has gone the extra mile recently to ensure it has the more immutable system. Just this week the company released a new, “ultra-slim” PS3 sporting an even greater memory storage, a slick aesthetic redesign, and the steadfast intent of drawing more consumers into the PS3 market.
But what of the potential ramifications for the next-generation?
To a certain extent, Koller’s comments underline why new generations can get off to a shaky start in terms of software quality: It’s far easier for developers to produce games at the end of a console’s life cycle – when they know a system’s inner workings like the back of their hand – than it is at the very beginning of one, when no manual exists for harnessing the hardware’s true power and smoothing out every potential bug. Many of the developers Koller expects to stick around may well be those who feel more comfortable on ten-year-old technology, aren’t prepared to quickly abandon their existing range of customers, or simply appreciate the environment Sony seems dedicated to fostering.
Still, with PS4 and Xbox 720 rumors abound, and developers from Infinity Ward to Ubisoft, from Rockstar to BioWare gearing up for next-gen projects, progress, at some point is inevitable. The spigot won’t turn off; the water will just be redirected.
Ranters, are you more interested in Sony’s continual support for the PS3, or are you ready to move on to the next generation?
Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.