PS4 vs. the world: How Sony’s new console fits into the modern gaming market (interview)

GamesBeat: So discoverability on the PS4 will come from the community, from your group of friends. How do you prevent a rich-get-richer type of situation? For example, when Grand Theft Auto V came out, when Call of Duty: Ghosts came out, those sorts of big games start dominating my friends list. How do smaller games like Contrast not get overwhelmed by the triple-A titles?

Boyes: I think it all depends on who your friends are. [Laughs] I have a bunch of people that I know are kind of the cutting-edge people, the people who are always checking out the new stuff. Over time, I start to understand that I always love whatever content that person loves. I think we’re going to get a lot of it from that.

On the platform side, we’re trying to do as much as we can to make sure you see a vibrant array of content. It’s not just, “Here’s the only game you’re going to see.” You’re going to see different updates from different games, which is really important.


Above: Can an artsy indie game like Contrast stand out with the PS4’s new social-sharing features? Or will those feeds be dominated by the Call of Dutys and Grand Theft Autos?

Image Credit: Sony

GamesBeat: Let’s move on to the Wii U. With the PlayStation Move motion controller, the PlayStation Camera, it seems the PlayStation platform has gone more mainstream and family friendly lately. Is Nintendo a competitor there? Can you do some things right in the market that they’re not doing well?

Boyes: I have huge respect for a lot of their first-party [intellectual properties]. What we’re focused on is not only making sure that we deliver amazing gourmet content but also providing all the tools for [developers] to bring a broad range of content.

[Indie adventure game] Octodad is a perfect example. I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old at home. I try to bring as many things home as possible to play with them. With Octodad, they sat there for 20 minutes, and they were more engaged. I’ve played a lot of Nintendo games with them, and they’re like, “Cool, dad, whatever” within 10 minutes. But with just one of the scenes in Octodad — you have to deliver milk to a little girl from the fridge, that’s it – they were just mesmerized.

I think the way in which you create a console, to deliver as much broad content as possible, that helps a lot.

I just love that these guys — the Octodad team, Young Horses in Chicago. We sent them a PS4 development kit very early on. Within four weeks they sent us back [an early demo of the game]. To me, that said that we’ve really made it super easy to develop for our console, whereas in the past you never could have done that. If you look back six years, it was never possible for a team to be that agile. That’s what has informed a lot of the policies that we’re trying to make and improve.

GamesBeat: What are your thoughts on what Steam is doing, especially in the living-room space?

Boyes: I have a ton of respect for them. They’ve done a good job of creating a great platform. What they’re doing is interesting, with the controller and stuff like that. Again, I think that if you want to have the best VIP experience in your living room, I still think PlayStation is the place to do that because of the breadth of content and things like that. Steam still plays a very important role in the ecosystem within many people’s gaming experiences, though, whether it’s the den or the bedroom. I play a lot of stuff on Steam. I’m a big fan.

Steam Controller

Above: The Steam controller.

Image Credit: Valve

GamesBeat: Do you think a Steam console could live side by side with the PlayStation 4?

Boyes: I just don’t think that they’re in the hardware game. They’re trying to create services. What we’re doing is trying to make that whole entire living room experience, and then you start extending it with PS Vita and Remote Play and what we’re doing in Japan with PS Vita TV. We’re creating more ubiquitous ways to get the content.

Once [cloud gaming service] Gaikai comes online, you’ll see a lot more of the stuff we’re doing there. All of a sudden it becomes a lot clearer that we’re trying to build out that content to as many screens as humanly possible. That’s where creating that ubiquity to that gourmet content, being both a hardware company primarily and then also with software … it’s just a different slant that we’re taking.

GamesBeat: How about Xbox One?

Boyes: We’ve been focused from day one on gamers and the best video game content for games. I think [Microsoft has] been focused on a broader reach. PS4 put gamers first from the start. We learned our lesson on PS3, when we went a bit broader. Now we’re back to the basics of making the best console with the highest performance humanly possible.

GamesBeat: Reading between the lines, you’re obviously referring to when Microsoft first revealed the Xbox One. It talked a lot about the TV side of things — its integration with cable. Does Sony not see that as a priority?

Boyes: No, we’ve talked about it. At E3, we talked about the stuff we’re doing with Sony Pictures. We’ve recently announced all the great video services we’re going to have online. So that’s absolutely part of it.

But primarily the focus is to have amazing game content. That’s why we put so much focus on putting in the GDDR5 [graphics memory], putting in a great GPU [graphics processing unit], being able to push as many pixels as possible — to deliver all that. I think we’ve built a really great ecosystem [with second-screen functionality with the PS Vita and companion apps, and with social sharing] that continues to extend that core gaming experience. We’re going to have other stuff here and there that complements smaller, bite-sized content, but that’s really our focus, and we’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.

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Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony. The company was... read more »

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