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Playstation 2 Future

Vision for Playstation platforms includes an expansion of capabilities in portability, motion-tracking technology, and online console gaming

Playstation 2

In his keynote address at the 2004 Game Developers Conference this week, Sony's Andrew House discussed a range of topics including hardware and software innovation that continue to reinvent consumer experiences, and first party software innovations that attract new game players and forge new gameplay styles. Highlights of the keynote address included details about: the 10-year lifecycle for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and its benefits to the industry; online gaming as key to the future; and a progress report on PSP, the company's yet-to-be-released portable entertainment platform.

"Innovation is absolutely the key to driving this industry forward," said Andrew House, executive vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America during today's keynote address. "We are committed to developing the creative pallet with an open philosophy that enables developers to freely innovate. Together, this approach builds an audience, drives the market, and expands and reinvents consumer perception."

House highlighted the importance of sustaining platforms lifecycles, showing how the 10-year plan for PlayStation has forever altered expectations for platform longevity, and outlining the company's plans to mirror this strategy with PlayStation 2. Now in just its third year, sales of PlayStation 2 are already 38 percent ahead of the original PlayStation for the same time period. Such an unprecedented hardware adoption rate provides positive implications for PlayStation 2 sales: the company anticipates more than 60 percent of PlayStation 2 sales are still to come. House also emphasized the company's commitment to investing in future technologies that expand the capabilities of PlayStation 2, pointing to the Eye Toy USB camera and its revolutionary motion-tracking technology. American Idol favorite William Hung joined Sony Computer Entertainment America on-stage to provide the audience with a demonstration of the first dancing game to utilize the technology, Eye Toy: Groove, scheduled for release in April.

With more than 10 percent of the North American PlayStation 2 installed base now network ready, House articulated the company's plans to expand the audience for online console gaming even further. Defining online console gaming as the new frontier for future generations of gamers, House outlined the company's online plans including creating additional revenue opportunities for developers and publishers. House stated that compelling software content continues to drive adoption, and with more than 52 new online-enabled titles scheduled for release in 2004, the company is focused on migrating the massive PlayStation 2 audience online.

House also provided a progress report for the highly anticipated 21st century portable entertainment system, PSP. Scheduled for release within the company's fiscal year ending March 31, 2005, PSP will target early adopters and teens, with a focus on gaming as the killer application. Emphasizing widespread content development for the platform, House provided details regarding PSP support plans.

Chris Charla, senior producer and Mike Mika, creative director, Backbone Entertainment, joined House and provided a first-hand account of the PSP software development process. Charla emphasized the unique opportunities PSP provides developers including the ability to bring the home console experience to hand-held systems for the first time, and the ease of development for the platform. Mika then demonstrated the power of PSP with a premiere unveiling of Death, Jr. and announced that the title will be a PSP exclusive.