Few people know the Japanese gaming industry as well as Hirokazu Hamamura, former Editor in Chief of the massively popular gaming magazine Famitsu and now President of Enterbrain and Director of the whole Kadokawa Group.
A few days ago Hamamura-san held a lecture titled “Fall 2013: Present and Future of the Game Industry” to an audience of journalists and industry analysts (The full lecture was reported by Famitsu.com). During the conference he expressed some interesting views on the future of the PlayStation brand, and while he remains cautious on a few elements, he seems to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Talking about the PS Vita he mentioned that in the first six months of the fiscal year it had smash hits like Toukiden and Dragon’s Crown, but unit sales were quite flat. With the launch of the new PS Vita there are many new colors, but the price is almost unchanged. Hanamura-san asked himself if it’ll be really effective, and while initial results are unexpectedly good, and there’s a similar track record with the PSP (the PSP-2000 launched without a significant price reduction as well), software remains crucial.
For the future he mentioned that God Eater 2, Final Fantasy X|X-2 Remaster and Monster Hunter Frontier G are coming, and they’re going to have a positive influence, but overall the upcoming lineup is still small. Hamamura-san hopes to see a good boost from them.
PlayStation 3 had a big hit with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle, but that didn’t change the situation of the console much. Incoming hits like Gran Turismo 6 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will grant a last boost before the coming of the PS4.
This winter will see the release of the PlayStation Vita TV, and according to Hamamura-san it’s still a little hard to understand its actual purpose. It may become the “hardware that fills the gap for the PlayStation platform to be unified.” He also mentioned that if PS4, PS3 and Vita get truly integrated in the future and the wall between the hardware disappears, the rules will change.
In addition to being able to play old software thanks to Gaikai, the PS Vita will be able to play PS4 games via remote play, and the future also sees a tendency to have cross platform games between PlayStation consoles. The ability to play the same software in some way on every PlayStation platform might create a new situation.
More specifically, if you can play the PS Vita outside, the PS4 in the living room, and the same gameplay can continue in another room thanks to the PS Vita TV, it creates a continuity where PlayStation software can be enjoyed anywhere. This creates the possibility of a game/life-changing “Borderless Sony Platform”
It’s hard not to see Hamamura-san’s point here, and it’s hard not to be excited about it. The ability to enjoy the same game absolutely anywhere, no matter in what room of our house we are, or even if we are outside, on a train, on lunch break, or basically anywhere else, definitely paints a fetching picture for the future. Will it really come to fruition? We can definitely hope so.