Kaz Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, has called into question the lifecycle of rival consoles, pointing to the continued success of the PlayStation 2 as evidence that Sony is backing the PS3 for at least ten years.
While sales figures may show that Nintendo and Microsoft are ahead of Sony in regional hardware sales, Hirai said this generation is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's too early to call who will win the console war.
"I know some people have been talking about who will be number one in this generation, and what have you, but before we get into that question, what about the lifecycle management?" said Hirai in an exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
"We certainly don't do the consumer the disservice of basically saying that the consoles have gone by the wayside because we have a new one. Right now, a prime example? PS2 is nine years into it. Where's the Xbox? Where's the GameCube?
"Same thing with the original PlayStation. At some point we looked around and asked what happened to the Saturn? Where's the N64? So if we're doing that, let's compare apples to apples, and for me, because we're on a ten-year lifecycle, unless we're talking ten years it doesn't really make that much sense to me," said Hirai.
It's not just about the first party success. Hirai pointed out that looking back from ten years will show how the industry has changed, how third-party publishers and retailers have been able to benefit from the growth of the home consoles.
"It's really a matter of looking back after ten years minimum and asking what you've actually accomplished in terms of the installed base, in terms of the business that you generated for the internal first party studios, in terms of the business you've generated for the third party studios, in terms of the business you've generated for the retailers.
"And that's when you actually look back and say, 'Yes, this platform was successful, it wasn't successful, it was so-so,' - whatever the case may be.
"So we're still only two years into the PS3, and I think the true test is really like the situation we find ourselves with PS2, where nine years later and 130 million units later we can look back and say, 'Yeah - it's been a pretty successful platform.'"
The full interview with Kaz Hirai, where the Sony boss answers the same questions pitched to Microsoft's Don Mattrick, can be read here.