Sony's PS3 'magic wand' out next spring

Sony to make loss on initial batches of PS3 Slim
Sony to make loss on initial batches of PS3 Slim

Sony Computer Entertainment chief Kaz Hirai has confirmed that PlayStation's "magic wand" motion controller has been pencilled in for a spring 2010 release date, and that Sony is also set to make an initial loss on each new PS3 Slim sold this Christmas.

The PlayStation boss was clear that the new PS3 motion control hardware and – crucially – some decent gaming software would be available next spring.

"We are slating it for spring of next year," Hirai told The Times. "One of the things is that we just don't want to put out the controller. We need a great software that supports the controller at launch. It's something that we've been working on for the longest time."

While reiterating Sony's original stance that the PS3 business plan has always been that of "a 10-year lifecycle" Hirai has also expressed a desire to see Sony's overall corporate culture follow his team's lead at SCE.

"Nobody questions whether we're a hardware company or a software company [at SCE], and that's the way I think Sony needs to move as well," Hirai notes.

PS3 Slim making losses

Somewhat unsurprisingly Sony will originally make a loss on each PS3 Slim unit it makes, Hirai's told the Times Online.

"If you're just talking about the hardware alone, the quick answer is yes," he said.

"That makes good headlines, but I don't actually know that that's the true nature of the business that we're all in, whether it's PlayStation, Xbox or the Wii.

"I think the better indicator is to look at the business as a whole platform, to ask: are you profitable in terms of the hardware, software and peripherals. And the answer to that question is yes on a gross profit level since the last fiscal year."

The PS3 is only three

Hirai niftily dodged questions of whether the PS3 was or was not underperforming by telling the interviewer that it was "kind of difficult to say whether a platform has been successful or not going into our third anniversary" and that, "the fifth anniversary and beyond is when we really start to say how's our trajectory looking?"

However, Hirai did admit that when he took over the Sony Computer Entertainment reins from Ken Kutaragi, the "PS3 had a bit of an identity problem" hence his focus being heavily on the gaming capabilities of the console.

"I think we've done a pretty good job of doing that, which is why we've got this great raft of software coming into this holiday season.

"Once we've done that, then we can talk about all the other things that it can do in terms of the non-game video content, whether it's the video delivery service or the catchup TV service or the movie rental service. But none of that makes much sense unless we can say first and foremost it's a great video game console."

Check out TechRadar's recent PlayStation news for more on Sony's plans for the PS3 video store in the UK

Via Times Online

Adam Hartley