Hirai: We're the "official" industry leader

Reckons PS3 will finish in front.

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai has dismissed Microsoft and Nintendo as competitors because he sees PlayStation as the "official" industry leader.

"This is not meant in terms of numbers, or who's got the biggest install base, or who's selling most in any particular week or month, but I'd like to think that we continue official leadership in this industry," Hirai told Official PlayStation Magazine.

"It's difficult to talk about Nintendo, because we don't look at their console as being a competitor. They're a different world, and we operate in our world - that's the kind of way I look at things.

"And with the Xbox - again, I can't come up with one word to fit. You need a word that describes something that lacks longevity," he added with a laugh.

Brandishing Sony's commitment to The Ten Year Plan, Hirai said he wants customers to feel confident their PlayStation console will not "fall by the wayside in five years" - a milestone Microsoft has yet to overcome, he pointed out.

"And," offered Hirai, "unless things go really bad, there's no way that at the end of a life cycle our competition is going have a higher install base."

Hirai also addressed the complex architecture of the PS3, which developers have openly struggled to get to grips with.

"We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that [developers] want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?" explained Hirai.

He picked God of War to show gameplay changing during long life of the PS2, and said that sort of learning curve will be the same with PS3.

"So it's a kind of - I wouldn't say a double-edged sword - but it's hard to program for, and a lot of people see the negatives of it, but if you flip that around, it means the hardware has a lot more to offer," he said.

Wrapping things up, Hirai said the PlayStation 3 "won't radically change" over the next few years in the same way the New Xbox Experience revamped the competition.

He hopes PlayStation Home will help there, by growing to a point where one type of consumer buys the PS3 solely for the virtual world, before discovering that there are are some games on the games console.

"We want to expand the demographics from just a videogaming audience to something that's a little bit more massive," Hirai concluded.

You can read the full interview in the February issue of Official PlayStation Magazine.

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