April 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM ET
With the launch of the PlayStation 4 just months away from its planned 2013 holiday release, Sony has still been exceptionally tight-lipped when it comes to key details like how much the new console will cost and what it even looks like. But as the British gaming site MCV points out, the Japanese gaming giant has at least owned up to some mistakes it made with the launch of the PlayStation 3 in 2006.
In an interview with Edge this week, Sony Worldwide Studios vice president Michael Denny said, “We listen and learn and take the judgment from every console launch we ever have and we have to be informed by what the strengths of our PlayStation 3 system have been, but also the challenges of that."
Speaking as indirectly as possibly to not give any specific information away, Denny nevertheless suggested that one of the key "challenges" to the PS3's success was its prohibitively high launch price, which debuted in North America at $499 a year later than Microsoft's cheaper Xbox 360 console had been released.
“We want a system that can reach as broad a gaming audience as possible but whilst being a system that’s deep, connected, rich and immersive and is going to give a very focused and differentiated experience than anything else that’s out there," Denny said.
The PlayStation 3 launch is widely regarded as one of the greatest botched opportunities in the history of video game consoles. While the PlayStation 2 was an undisputed market leader in its console generation, the PlayStation 3 arrived too late, and at too high a price point, for many gamers. In addition to the high price tag, its availability in certain regions like the U.S. was also severely limited, hurting any potential access to the new console's ecosystem and discouraging developers already frustrated with its high development costs. An early review from Business Week said that it was "more impressed with what" the new console "could do than with what it currently does." And a year after its launch, Valve's Gabe Newell called the console a "total disaster on so many levels"
Sony has since acknowledged these mistakes and aggressively rebranded the PS3 as a slimmer, faster, and cheaper machine. But will it just start the PS4 out that way? Gamers, and developers, would certainly hope so.
“We’ve got lots of information yet to give out on PlayStation 4," Denny concluded. "The initial announcement phase that we’re in now is just to explain the vision to everybody."
"Part of that vision is we have created a console absolutely focused on gamers — and we want that to be gamers in the broadest sense as well. I think to some extent I can ask you to draw your own conclusions.”