Sony Computer Entertainment America president Kaz Hirai has told an American senate body that cheaper and more widespread broadband will be essential if the next-generation consoles are to reach their full potential.
In one of the clearest signs yet that Sony's plans for the PlayStation 3 see a broadband connection as being a core element of the console's offering, Hirai compared high-speed Internet access to the all-pervasive nature of air conditioning systems.
"For the next generation console," he explained to the Congressional Internet Caucus, "online is going to be like air conditioning in a car. You're going to need it."
The metaphor might not carry over all that well in Europe - where air conditioning is somewhat less common than in the USA - but Hirai's meaning is clear, and he went on to expand on his point at some length.
Broadband in the USA needs to get cheaper before entertainment companies and consumers alike can benefit from it fully, he warned the Caucus (a political group made up of US senators and congressmen whose aim is to educate American politicians about the Internet). He pointed out that at present, high-speed internet access in the USA costs around $40, with online gaming or other content often charging an additional fee above that.
While the PlayStation 3 is unlikely to arrive before late 2006 - by which stage the broadband industry will hopefully have matured significantly - Hirai's warning should serve as a wake-up call not only in the USA, but also in Europe.
While some European states are extremely well-progressed in terms of broadband roll-out, others lag far behind other developed countries. If, as Sony expects, content delivery such as games, movies and music moves online in the coming years, this could leave those states at a significant disadvantage.