Sony's Shuhei Yoshida Confirms A Desire For Subscription Based Gaming, And Thoughts On The PS4's Future

February 25, 2013


In a recent interview with The Guardian’s Keith Stuart, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida opened up about a few things regarding the PS4, like the philosophy regarding streaming content, how Sony is circumventing long downloads, and where Yoshida sees the PS4 in a couple of years.

Below are a few excerpts of the interview:

Guardian: I really expected you to announce a “Spotify for games”-type service, allowing gamers to sign up and pay a monthly fee to access as many titles as they like. Is that something we can look forward to?

Yoshida: As more and more services and contents become available digitally, we’ll have more of an option to create attractive packages. So hypothetically we can look at different models – like a cable TV company. We could have gold, silver or platinum levels of membership, something like that. We can do subscription services when we have more content – especially now that we have the Gaikai technology available. With one subscription you have access to thousands of games – that’s our dream.

G: This whole idea of removing the barriers to content seems to be a vital one. People can just switch on a TV and watch a programme, but deciding to play a game can be an arduous process of finding it, downloading it, downloading updates … Do you think that can all be consigned to the past?

Y: Absolutely. Yes. I find myself spending more time playing Vita games and I think part of the reason for that is it’s immediate. I can stop at any time without quitting and it’s instantaneous to start again. I don’t have to quit out or reboot. It’s wonderful. That’s one part of immediacy – the other is waiting for downloads. That’s ridiculous, that’s crazy! We want to get out of this madness with PlayStation 4. The games are big, they’re 50GB; download isn’t instantaneous. So we’re making purchase available from any device, so when you’re at work, you can spend a couple of moments looking at PlayStation Store and choosing a game, and straight away it starts to download at home. It may take a couple of hours but that’s okay because you’re still at work.

Also, similarly to progressive download on some movie services, you don’t have to wait for all the data to download before you start playing. Once you have the minimum amount of data downloaded you can begin the game, and while you play, the remaining data downloads. It takes some engineering input from developers so we’re talking to the community. We’re evangelising it.

G: In a year’s time, what will the PS4 gaming experience look like?

Y: In a couple of years I’d like to be playing PS4 games on all my devices, with the main experience on the big screen, and smaller sections on mobile screens … It will all be connected.

During the press conference, Sony mentioned communicating with as much of the industry as possible on how to build a better machine that meets both the developers’ needs, and the gamers’ desires. Yoshida confirmed to the Guardian that they really have done something like that since the development process of the PS1, which may be why Sony made such an unfriendly architecture for developers with the PS3. With the PS4, they sought to rectify that mistake and make sure that their console was easier to design for without forsaking power.

Yoshida also answered why Sony decided to not show the console at the conference: they ultimately decided that since their final designs for the consoles weren’t ready yet, they simply didn’t wish to show the prototype yet. They also didn’t think there would be as much demand to see the box as there would be to see the content and power inside.

How do you feel about the PS4? Does Yoshida paint a future in gaming that you’re interested in? How much would you be willing to pay to have access to thousands of games? And to be able to game anywhere on any device? Let us know in the comments below.

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Masoud House

Born and raised in video games and "geek culture," Masoud has been bred off of fantasy worlds his entire life and doesn't see anything wrong with that. He loves RPGs (especially TRPGs), sandbox games, the sci-fi genre, dieselpunk, art deco, and anything that allows him to create. Having graduated from John Jay College with a degree in English and a minor in Creative Writing, Masoud hopes to one day pen the same novels, comics, movies, and video games he enjoys escaping into when the real world gets too boring.

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