SCEA President: Cheaper Broadband is Critical for Future Consoles

Sony Computer Entertainment America’s (SCEA) president, Kaz Hirai has said that broadband, and cheap broadband too, is going to be essential for future of games consoles – and you can bet he’s talking about the PS3.

His presentation to the Congressional Internet Caucus focussed on Sony’s content strategy for their next iteration of the absurdly popular PlayStation console brand. Sony, and indeed most console and games manufacturers, are placing a lot of emphasis on online gaming as it carries a lot of potential for microtransactions – a constant stream of small charges for extra content, access to games and services. The notable exception here is Nintendo, who have done their best to hide the fact that there is a broadband adaptor for the GameCube and will even happily prosecute UK games stores if they dare try to sell one.

To encourage the growth of online gaming, and therefore the microtransaction business model, Hirai argues that broadband subscription fees need to be cheaper.

Hirai emphasised Sony’s commitment to online gaming by saying “For the next generation console, online is going to be like air conditioning in a car. You’re going to need it.”

Kaz Hirai’s presentation

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?