"People in Europe always complain that they're last even when sometimes some things are exclusive to European consumers," Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida told me earlier tonight following the PlayStation 4 reveal in New York.
I say "tonight". It's 01:22 where I am and it's probably Thursday morning where you are. I have such an abstract relationship with time at this point, having flown out from London at 9am on Wednesday, that I don't even understand what the two meals are that I just missed.
Anyway, that quote above? That's pretty much what Yoshida said.
Well, actually, no, it is what he said. But I am hesitant to call it an exact quote, and for a very good reason. I'm hesitant to call it an exact quote because it misses out the bit in the middle where I shouted at him, semi-jovially but also with sadness in my heart. I shouted:
"We are always last!"
The original PlayStation:
Japan: 3rd December 1994
North America: 9th September 1995
Europe: 29th September 1995
Japan: 4th March 2000
North America: 26th October 2000
Europe: 24th November 2000
Japan: 11th November 2006
North America: 17th November 2006
Europe: 16th March 2007
I can vouch for the last two. I was probably just a glint in the milkman's eye when PSX hit its peak but I bought PS2 and PS3 on day one. They cost me £725 in total. Actually, I bought a Japanese PS3 for £700 on import so I could play Ridge Racer 7 in November 2006 as well, so I guess I'm pretty much bankrolling the empire now. I might hit David Perry up for some pocket money.
Anyway, after a while with Sony launches you just sound like that guy off of The Day Today at the swimming pool. After all, in 1975, no one died. 1995: Always last.
2000: Always last.
2007: Always last.
I'm not sure that people who haven't grown up being last in gaming really get this. I grew up with a PAL Super Nintendo. Within months of getting one, older friends introduced me to the delights of JRPGs, so I learned to love things like Secret of Mana and Zelda III.
I spent the next four years - which is not a trivial amount of time at any age - pining over Chrono Trigger (couldn't afford the import) and Final Fantasy III/VI (which Super Play magazine assured me would not render the end sequence through my Datel cartridge region converter). My parents wouldn't buy me a US SNES because I had a European one. Final Fantasy never came out on the SNES in Europe.
So yes it matters quite a ****ing lot that we get this ****ing PlayStation at the same time.
Will we be last again, Shuhei? Will we? Because Edge says we will, and Tony Mott worked on Super Play, and Super Play is why I am a games journalist (Tony's Yoshi's Island review is worth rediscovering), so they wouldn't lie to me.
Anyway, I asked Shuhei Yoshida whether there would be a split PS4 launch or whether it would be aligned or whether it's too early to say:
"It's too early to say," he said, leaping onto the one option I shouldn't have given him. (Did I mention the 25 hours I've been awake at this point?)
"For one thing the system has to be complete and we have to understand the manufacturing pace of it. Then we have to kind of look at the demand predictions and we have to decide whether we can go global or like [the rumour]. So it takes more time for us to know that."
But it's a possibility?
Yes that Europe would be last or...?
"People in Europe always complain that they're last even when sometimes --"
-- We always are last!
"-- Even when sometimes some things are exclusive to European consumers."
Oh but we want the console first! It matters the most!
"For us, Europe is an enormously important market. That's no question. So I hope European consumers can play PS4 as soon as it's available somewhere, but I'm not making promises."
I always get the impression with Shuhei Yoshida that he is being as honest as he can be. Maybe he knows more but can't say, but he tries to help you out. And I don't mean he tries to help me out - I mean he tries to help you out. He knows you're reading this and that's who he's talking to. He's a good guy. Honestly, I've met some game executives who are complete dicks and Yoshida is not one of those guys. I think he does hope PS4 launches simultaneously in Europe. As do we all.
Hopefully we will learn more soon.
Because I don't want to be last again and you don't want to be me in 20 years.
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