Famitsu has published an interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment executive vice president Itou Masayasu in which he discusses the Playstation 4, which recently saw the fifth anniversary of its release.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) 2019年2月25日
The interview begins with Itou saying how glad he is for the support shown to the PS4, with its 91,600,000 sales worldwide. He says that when development on the PS4 began, they did not focus on figures, but rather on how to regain the momentum of the PS1 and PS2, and attributes their success in doing so in having the PS4 take a completely different approach from the PS3.
Itou says that the PS4 was made with ease of use for consumers, and ease of development for creators in mind, and that this lead to creators supporting the console and releasing more titles for it, which resulted in added support from consumers. The interviewer brings up how Crash Bandicoot’s Mark Cerny was involved with the PS4’s development and asks if feedback from creators contributed as well, and Itou acknowledges this, saying that he got a great amount of ideas from a developer’s point of view through talking to Cerny.
Opinions of third party developers also contributed to the development of the PS4, and an example Itou brings up is of how the console was initially not going to have 8 GB of memory. Many creators provided them with feedback saying that the initial amount was too little, and so even though it was difficult to realize due to costs, they ended up cutting costs in other areas and released the PS4 with 8 GB of memory. Additionally, previous Playstation consoles used their own chips and system architectures, which creators said was hard to use, and in prioritising ease of development, they made the PS4 with the same architecture as PCs.
The interview next moves on to the topic of the PS4 Pro. Itou says that launching a completely new model- Not just a change to the console’s form (slim versions)- Within a console’s life cycle was a first for them, and this was due to the advancement of technology in recent years getting faster, with smartphones and PCs getting new models each year. While new models for a console annually might not be possible, they thought that something close to that might.
The PS4 Pro remained within the format of the PS4 but implemented things such as graphical improvements and HDR. HDR was also later added to the regular PS4 with an update, and Itou says that this was possible because they foresaw the coming of HDR while developing it and included the physical requirements with the original PS4’s release, making it possible to enable HDR with an update. They did not promote this at release as they felt it would not have much of an effect, as most TVs did not have HDR compatibility at the time.
How the PS4 Pro is not being sold as a replacement for the PS4, but rather alongside it is also brought up. Itou says that this is because they wanted to give consumers a choice between the Pro for core users and the regular version for people who want to spend less.
Itou is next asked about the PS VR, and he says that R&D was handled by a specialised team, and that he was only involved with turning the results into a product, but that this was wrought with its own issues. For example, in the test phases, the headset was very heavy, and also unbalanced, with most of the weight being in the front of the device, tiring users after just ten minutes. He thus had to figure out how to balance it out, and also how to make it easily removable. The PS VR reached 3,000,000 sales as of 2018, and Itou says that its success has him feel that the direction they took has been vindicated.
The interviewer points out that new technologies will likely be born in the coming years, and asks if they will be using these technologies, like they did VR. Itou’s reply is that the Playstation has always taken the stance of implementing the latest things ever since Kutaragi Ken made the first Playstation, and that this stance has not changed.
The last question posed to Itou is of what games stood out the most to him. He says that he feels that games that are using the PS4 to its full potential started coming out in the last two years, and says that he thinks that Horizon Zero Dawn was the first to do so, with Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, and Monster Hunter: World following after. The interview concludes with him saying that more games are coming out that can be enjoyed not just as games but for their visuals, and hopes that users enjoy the PS4.