Sony CEO Talks Evolving Media, Expanding PSN Beyond PS3

It's a dynamic world out there for technology companies, and Howard Stringer wants to bring Sony into the 21st century.

by David Radd on Monday, May 11, 2009

Sony CEO Talks Evolving Media, Expanding PSN Beyond PS3

Speaking to Nikkei Electronics Asia, Sony CEO Howard Stringer talked about his company's focus during this tough economy. He noted that it's difficult to come up with new product concepts, and added that TV might have to evolve to keep its customer base.

"It's clear that customer preferences are changing, and I think this fact indicates what the next steps in TV evolution are likely to be. We'll never recapture our customer's hearts by merely offering better color or higher resolution," said Stringer. "We developed brand new, absolutely incredible technology for the PlayStation 3 (PS3), but the cost was high. We've adopted a slightly different approach now, and are evolving the PS3 into a platform for Web services. TV development is also in a period of transition; the fact that sales volume is growing for the Apple TV, a kind of set-top box, might be evidence of an emerging trend. "

While talking about understanding the consumer, Stringer was very complimentary of the Wii. "Understanding customers will also help us uncover hidden customers. The Wii from Nintendo Co of Japan is an excellent example," asserted Stringer. "They didn't develop any unique technology; they just realized that there was potential demand out there for something different from conventional games, and thought about how to satisfy different demands from different age groups. They attained results that the PS3 hasn't; namely, generating profit from hardware sales."

Turning to content distribution, he mentioned how the PlayStation Network in particular would need to evolve. "A lot of people thought Sony's content download service was doomed, but it's in a pretty good place right now in the form of the PlayStation Network, available to PS3 users for network gaming, video, etc. The DRM is based on Marlin, an open scheme developed by consumer electronics companies and other companies," commented Stringer. "What does all this mean? Very simply, it means that Sony has begun the transition from a closed system to an open one."

"Next we will be expanding the PlayStation Network to hardware other than the PS3, because the number of PS3 units sold puts a limit on the scale of the network possible," he added. "Sony has a vertical structure for each product line, an organizational structure that resists change, so it will take time to achieve this network growth. However, a large number of employees share my opinion on this." via gamedaily

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