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Interview: Sony's Shuhei Yoshida Sheds More Light On PS4

by Andrew Reiner on Feb 21, 2013 at 06:22 AM

Immediately after the PlayStation 4 press conference, we sat down with the Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida to discuss the new controller, the ambitious self publishing service for developers, and the expansion of cross-play functionality.

With Jonathan Blow being here, you kind of addressed how you are going to look at an indie market. Can you tell us a little bit more about that plan?

Yeah. Last year, the game awards were swept by games like Journey or The Walking Dead. More people and media are excited about small games. This trend is going to continue. Console games on the big stage are just going to keep getting bigger and bigger, but it has been brutal for the mid-range titles. It’s all about $60 million or $100 million budget games. If we just continue doing it as an industry, you won’t see lots of new and exciting stuff that much, especially for those young people wanting to come into the industry. They need to learn by being able to make games of their own, and have creative control. The same goes for the consumer. We work with people like Jenova Chen. They are so creative and think outside of the box. We learned, and our producers learned from them how they approach games.

Is Sony going to give these teams and people a new pricing structure? The biggest fear that indie people have had is the barrier for them getting into game development.

For the people that self-publish, it’s their product. They are the publisher. They are free to set the price from free to, you know, $30. It’s their fee. For independent publishers we work with, we are the publisher, so we make the final decision, but for our store, it’s very easy to set the price for each product, and it’s easy to make promotions or bundles. It’s very easy to do. 

You showed us how you could use the Vita as a second screen in your living room. Is that local only, or is there any ambition with Gaikai to use that as a server and get further away in the living room?

Technically speaking, it works from anywhere, as far as you have a wi-fi connection from your Vita to the PlayStation 4. It needs to be wi-fi. However, for some games, when you play or connect from far away, it accumulates latency. Some games may not be playable, like fighting games or shooting games. But some other slower paced games will be playable. As long as you have home routers anywhere in your home, you can play every PlayStation 4 game. We ask developers when they finish the PlayStation 4 product and submit a master to make sure that they have the appropriate controller mapping to work on PS Vita. All games will work – unless it is a dance game [laughs].

You talked about the new streaming technologies and being able to start playing downloads and demos immediately. There was no mention of physical media. Is that still planned for PlayStation 4?

Oh yeah. It’s going to be Blu-ray based. The same as PlayStation 3.

As far as the games you are working on, we didn’t get a Gran Turismo, which is kind of a classic reveal for Sony. Is that still as series you are looking forward to releasing?

Working toward this event has been so much fun. I’ve never had this amount of speculation. Everyone has a list of 20 things they want to see at this event. This is just day one. We have more days ahead.

You showed the camera and how it works with the controller. Are you packing in the camera with every PlayStation 4?

We are not talking about the final compilation or pricing or the release date right as of yet.

You announced a new Killzone game. Is the development team bigger or is the same size as the Killzone teams for PlayStation 3?

We’ve been supporting some of the studios to grow. Many of you already know that studios like Naughty Dog moved from one team in a studio to a multi-team studio. Our studios are growing. As far as individual titles are concerned, because of the production values you can put into PlayStation 4, games can be larger. Comparing Killzone: Shadow Fall to Killzone 3, I think the number of people working on it is slightly larger, but it depends on the title.

Is your plan that the Vita is kind of a PlayStation 4, where it supports similar titles much like Sound Shapes? Cross-play has worked well. Can you push it further using streaming?

What we’ve been doing on PlayStation 3 has been experimentation. We like the idea of cross-platform play and the ability to continue from Vita to your home and play against each other. We will continue that. It was difficult to get PlayStation 3 to do more things because the system was made eight years ago. We’ve been working closely with the PlayStation 4 system software and hardware games to make it easy for developers to do this.

Media Molecule’s demo was amazing. Can you tell us a little about that game?

They totally approached what PS Move does. It is a robust  3D input system. We’re not talking about motion gaming at all. They used the Move’s 3D input capability with their new, groundbreaking way to render images. You can just go in and create like you are playing with Play-Doh. So when they are talking about sculpting, they are not talking about professional 3D graphics, they are talking about artists molding or children playing. 

Is that the same Move controller you can buy now?

Yes. That works with the new camera. It’s going to be better because the new camera has higher resolution and has two fields. The two cameras are good for augmented reality games. On PS3, the vision was a bit blurry, right? Now, it’s in HD. One camera is dedicated to getting the best picture of you on the screen, and the other camera can work with PS Move. That’s how we use different cameras. More to come. [laughs]