Sony: PlayStation in the Future Will Be "a Service"

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Sony: PlayStation in the Future Will Be "a Service"

ps vita TV image

Sony's Fergal Gara says the company sees PlayStation "as a brand, not just as a box."

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of PlayStation? Is it a game? A franchise? Or do you think of one of the various gaming consoles that's born the PlayStation name since the brand first launched in the 1990s? If you imagined a console you probably wouldn't be alone. That said, Sony is intent on changing that and expanding how people view the PlayStation brand.

"We want to make more PlayStation experiences available on more devices," said Sony's Fergal Gara in a recent interview. In turn, the company is looking "to interact with the gamer in more ways, more flexible ways, and through more touch points in their daily lives." What this could potentially mean for the future is PlayStation hardware taking more of a backseat to PlayStation the service. "Whether you take PlayStation Vita TV, or the Gaikai cloud gaming technology, there clearly is a strategy here to bring more PlayStation experiences here to more people in the ways they want it," said Gara. "We're more about a brand and an ecosystem than we are about a box."

Consumers can perhaps see hints of this vision in the streaming-centric Vita TV and Sony's plans for its Gaikai cloud service, which include the implementation of a stream-able PS3 library for PS4 and Vita in lieu of physical backwards compatibility. PlayStation's future, in turn, may lie outside of consoles altogether. "We see PlayStation as a brand, not just as a box. Going out to 2013 and probably more appropriately 2014, 15, 16, 17 you'll see start to see PlayStation 4 as a brand and a service, as a set of services, a set of experiences" Experiences that will eventually take place on both "Sony devices and non-Sony devices."

Source: Official PlayStation Magazine

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Okay, it's not what I thought it was going to be. As long as they keep the gaming box as well, I can live with this. Hell, maybe I'll go digital for it.

Anytime a company starts referring to their product as a "service", they're trying to restrict how customers use their products. I suspect no one will be owning any PlayStation devices in the near future. Instead, we'll be signing up for service contracts and equipment leases.

Just like the cable company (also in the "service" industry), you're not allowed to modify their hardware and you have to return the box once you're done with it.

MinionJoe:
Anytime a company starts referring to their product as a "service", they're trying to restrict how customers use their products. I suspect no one will be owning any PlayStation devices in the near future. Instead, we'll be signing up for service contracts and equipment leases.

Just like the cable company (also in the "service" industry), you're not allowed to modify their hardware and you have to return the box once you're done with it.

If they start doing that, I'll just stop playing their consoles. It's as simple as that.

Services really bug me with some things. Software being one of them. I like being able to get away from things and turn on my console and kill my frustrations with a single player game. Service based system cramming ads down my throat restricting me to playing on their networks reporting my every action? Doesn't sound like it will relieve my frustrations. They have already killed backwards compatibility and cheat codes two things I want in favor of pushing plot-less low content meme games with "edgy graphics" and samey multiplayer leader boards achievement addict experiences that I don't want. Gaming is an experience. To bad I want the experience the pushers want to give me less and less day by day...

It's funny how things have to be more than what they are... My phone has all kinds of crazy things on it, so much so that calling it a phone is just insulting at this point. Fridges order food and serve ice/cold water (the tap just isn't good enough). Now my consoles are wanting to have more involvement in my life.

To be honest, I think things are getting too much. I don't want my console to have netflix, film 4 and more integration in my life... I want to play games on a standardized machine and nothing else

Lol wut? And what, exactly, is the "PlayStation experience"? That's beyond vague. Seriously, I don't use a PlayStation because it has some ethereal quality to it that I enjoy, I use it because it has the exclusives I want and a controller that doesn't feel like shit (IMO). There's nothing beyond that that I would consider intrinsic to the "experience". Between streaming, playing DVDs/Blu-Rays and playing games, my PS3 is already the centerpiece of my living room, but those features are not unique to the PS3. The IDENTICAL experience can be had with a 360 or *gasp* be even better with a PC. Seriously Sony, turning your product into a "service" smacks of marketing spin and smells of bullshit. Just an excuse to extort a subscription from your user base instead of letting them buy a device.
Will we get to keep the console once we stop paying for it? What if I don't have an internet connection, how will this effect my ability to use my console since you can't verify if it's "paid for"? What happens when I'm late paying my bill? How do I acquire games? If I'm paying a subscription to use your device you better believe I refuse to pay for a single game, you'd better give them out for free, every single one, like video game Netflix. Have you people given this any sort of thought at all that doesn't involve seeing imaginary dollar bills?

They turn they're product into a service that I need to regularly pay for and they can keep their shitty graphics box, I'll just dive back into PC gaming, which is more flexible, more powerful and I only need to pay for once.

stupid double-post

God all this business talk just makes me wanna puke.
They can't just concentrate on one thing. No they gotta expand and produce mediocre BS for every platform.

"to interact with the gamer in more ways, more flexible ways, and through more touch points in their daily lives."
= Facebook, twitter and other social media shit kids these days can't live without. Because the customer nowadays apparently wants to be able to play, get status updates about their and their friends scores and archievements, at every free minute they have in their daily lives.

This is how I read it: "In the future, you won't use PlayStation".

I don't want a service. I want an actual gaming system. A piece of hardware that I can pay once and use however I want to. And games that I can buy once and play them offline. Anything less than that is unacceptable.

Sounds like spyware to me. Gunna see a lot of ads.

Adam Jensen:
This is how I read it: "In the future, you won't use PlayStation".

I don't want a service. I want an actual gaming system. A piece of hardware that I can pay once and use however I want to. And games that I can buy once and play them offline. Anything less than that is unacceptable.

That would be a PC

Wow... and already the knee jerk reaction to the term 'service' is on full display. This author's intent with this article is clear enough, especially with a title like that.... Come one, come all and behold the poisoning of a well. The term 'service' is no longer innocuous. No, no, now it heralds the oppression of the consumer by his greedy corporate overlords, an oppression he's been buying into for the past twenty years.

Cool your tits, people. I'm sure someone in Sony's PR department is dying over the slip of this particular term in a public statement. So many are locked into hate now, because the last time someone mentioned 'service' as it relates gaming, they were fucking with game ownership, under the mantra that games were a service to be enjoyed rather than a product to be purchased. This is not that, marvelous how the English language works, neh? This is 'branding.' Another term that smacks of corporate buzz speak but entails a system 90% of the populace has already bought into wholeheartedly. It's way too late to start bitching about it now. How many years has it been since Apple sold only computers? How many years has it been since Goggle was just a search engine? How many years has it been since Facebook was the exclusive purview of college students? Welcome to the world rampant consumerism has won you, for good and for ill, where the only holy writ is 'Diversify or Die.'

Let Sony do its utmost to expand the range of 'services' it provides, more power to them. Tar and feather them if their hardware suffers for its effort. Flog them with all your impotent, forumite rage when and if they conspire to charge you beyond your capacity to bend over and take it. Get angry when someone tries to sell you bad shit, don't fume over something this broad and undefined, that's a waste of energy and it devalues whatever insights you may bring to the table.

I think you concentrated on the wrong aspect of what the guy said. He really is talking about diversifying, not games or gaming machines as a service. Essentially, offering service on top of the games and gaming machines they already sell. Not really what I'm looking for, certainly, but it doesn't warrant this terrible of a reaction. Unless he really does mean that the future Playstation will be a service (which it can't, hardware simply cannot work that way).

EnigmaticSevens:
snip

While I agree, even with my above statement, the vagueness of the announcement is part of the problem. "In the future, PlayStation will be a service" is dangerously vague. And as far as branding is concerned, what else is there? They've already made consoles, handhelds, phones and associated peripherals. The already have their own digital distribution service through PSN. What more is there to do? Even Apple doesn't really do more then that (computers, tablets, phones and a digital distribution service; which is the same thing on a different scale). What kind of "service" could they possibly perform, or "brand" that could create that they don't already provide? An online only, cloud-based Netflix-like distribution system where you pay a monthly fee and gain access to your library is only one option, but a realistic one. Making it so you can play your games on multiple platforms barely qualifies as a "service". Adding tons of social networking features is not providing a service so much as it's taking advantage of other people's services. So yeah, speculations is just that, speculation, but unless they follow up this statement with something more concrete, all we're left wondering is what the hell they're talking about, since they've already done much.

I hate to bring this up, but why is it that Nintendo seems to be the only company not trying to work its way into facets of my life that don't have to do with gaming? Sony and Microsoft both seem rather eager to have me using their products and services outside my gaming, and especially across platforms. It's getting creepy guys, I need my space.

Does that mean some of its exclusives will come to pc as a service

This... does not bode well. I don't want to pay monthly fees for a service. I want to own a product. As long as Sony remembers that then the happy relationship we've enjoyed for almost two decades will continue. Don't pull a Microsoft on me Sony, you've done well by me so far.

When I buy video games I'm looking to purchase products, not services.

Whenever I hear about video games as services, all I can think of is how much history we're going to lose when those services inevitably close down.

As long as it stays as optional as PS+ and doesn't ruin my future PS4 experience, I'm fine with it. Also, after the Xbone PR disaster, this guy probably should've avoided using the word "service" at all costs, just to be on the safe side.

translation: "like cable, we can't afford to support our really inefficient distribution of products, so we're resorting to demanding money for control over your entertainment"

yeah guys, just continue shitting on nintendo and embracing the future

Knee jerk reaction much?

I can already see some of what they are saying here. The roots are already there with the Vita and the PS3. Remember how they said, you could have one account across your PS3, PS4, and Vita? I'm certain that is at least an element of what they mean by this. And that, is a good thing.

As for the rest of it, it is far too vague to say anything one way or the other. But, I don't see any reason to believe this means DRM, online requirements, or any of the idiotic nonsense that some other companies tried to cram down our throats.

Honestly, I don't care if the system supports Facebook or Twitter. Or anything else. As long as it plays games, everything else would be icing on the cake at best. And a feature that exists which I don't use, at worst.

I am curious about the "non-Sony devices" line, though. I remember seeing an ad with someone ordering games for their PS4 over their phone and even talking to people playing games via their phone. I wonder if they could have some sort of Sony App in line for iPhones and Androids. That could be an interesting touch. Admittedly, I am basing that on nothing but a short ad I saw a while back.

I'm only going to do this once, as an exercise in reasoning.

JamesBr:

While I agree, even with my above statement, the vagueness of the announcement is part of the problem. "In the future, PlayStation will be a service" is dangerously vague.

Dangerous in what sense? Dangerous in the sense that the over-caffeinated, ill-tempered, slow-witted public might misconstrue a statement and make a fuss over a load of nothing? Please don't lend credence to the marketing mantra that customer is a child and must be spoon-fed. We're grown folk, we can handle a touch of the unknown without jumping to conclusions. That statement lacks context (even more so since it's not even a direct quote of the man, but a statement based on a quote), context will come, when it does, evaluate it and create an informed opinion.

And as far as branding is concerned, what else is there? They've already made consoles, handhelds, phones and associated peripherals. The already have their own digital distribution service through PSN. What more is there to do? Even Apple doesn't really do more then that (computers, tablets, phones and a digital distribution service; which is the same thing on a different scale). What kind of "service" could they possibly perform, or "brand" that could create that they don't already provide?

Your imagination =/= Sony's, for one, you're not a group of well paid but overworked Japanese men. Again, don't fear the unknown, and for god's sake don't get mad about it. A certain wariness is reasonable, but let that caution preclude vitriol as surely as it does hope, because apparently hope for the future just isn't cool anymore. And as far Apple is concerned, you obviously haven't perused CNET in the past few months... it's all about watches, mate, watches and curved smartphones. *sigh* I rather wish I was joking....

An online only, cloud-based Netflix-like distribution system where you pay a monthly fee and gain access to your library is only one option, but a realistic one.

You mean like the kind that gives you a body of free games to choose from so long as you maintain the service, the very same provides you discounts on various upcoming titles and early access to beta releases? Do you mean PS+, the little mongrel that inspired an extension of the service provided by Xbox Gold? The console services that maybe, just maybe, will one day evolve into Steam? Hype the good, and see what comes of it. It's a much better use of your time than speculating about a nonexistent, retrograde system. 'Realistic' is hardly the term I'd use considering the current market clime.

Making it so you can play your games on multiple platforms barely qualifies as a "service". Adding tons of social networking features is not providing a service so much as it's taking advantage of other people's services.

Tread very carefully, that first statement smacks of the worst sort of entitlement, especially when ten years ago, the though of playing a console game on a handheld was a pipe dream. The second statement is silly, that's like saying AAA isn't a service because it takes advantage of the Government's roads, services piggyback off of one another all the time, and any potentially helpful activity is by definition a service.

So yeah, speculations is just that, speculation, but unless they follow up this statement with something more concrete, all we're left wondering is what the hell they're talking about, since they've already done much.

If they've done so much, give them the benefit of the doubt.

I just want a game console and physical games both of which I can own is that really so much to ask?.

Lots of cynical conclusion-jumping up in this thread. They barely even actually said anything.

Calm down.

MinionJoe:
Anytime a company starts referring to their product as a "service", they're trying to restrict how customers use their products. I suspect no one will be owning any PlayStation devices in the near future. Instead, we'll be signing up for service contracts and equipment leases.

Nah, I don't think it'll be like that.

Do you remember the Xperia Play? The phone with a slide-out PlayStation controller? You could play PS1 games on it. I think this 'service' mentality is about allowing you a wider range of access to PlayStation. If I had to guess how it'll work, it'll be the same concept as owning a console, only it could be your phone, or TV, or whatever else.

Thank you for the warning Sony.

Glad I have the skills to improvise for the future.

Well... they certainly did everything they could to make themselves sound as unappealing as possible, didn't they? I am even somewhat considering cancelling my Launch PS4 pre-order now, or selling it on ebay. The only thing stopping me is remembering how much worse Microsoft is being about this.

Thank god for my wiiU and PC.

I really despair at the constant attempts by companies to put leashes on their consumers, to take away the straightforward relationship in which they have a product, I have money and if I want the product I buy it. Generally if companies talk about a "Service" the word "Sunscription" is lurking somewhere nearby so in that sense it won't be something that apeals to me, I don't even plan to take up a PSN subscription when they start charging for it with the PS4.

That said even if it was free I don't think it would make much odds to me. My PS3 already does 101 things I don't need it to, I have netflix, singstar and a dozen other bits of rubish that i have no interest in but that it won't let me delete kicking around in their taking up hard drive space.

Why isn't it enough to make a good console that plays good games? Who is all the rest of this for?

See, now that's how you do it people, you let Microsoft catch all the shit while you quietly execute the same plan for the future of gaming/entertainment, looking just a little bit less evil, in an attempt to slip by and become the new norm.

Well FUCK YOU TOO Sony!

Fuck you right in the wallet, you arn't getting anything from me but my hate.

I'm really not sure what they're trying to say here. It's not like they're getting rid of the consoles, but they're not really adding much new either.

So...I guess now it'll be easier to look at your account or whatever on other devices? Like, synch your friends list and trophies and whatnot?

That's cool, I guess.

E3: We're going to be only about the games. Microsoft is stupid because they're trying to be an everything entertainment device.

Now: We're going to try to be an everything entertainment device.

I don't go to a car dealership when I need a place to live. I don't go to the grocery store when I need clothes.

I DON'T GO TO MY GAMING CONSOLE TO WATCH FOOTBALL OR CALL MY FATHER-IN-LAW. DO WHAT YOU DO AND KNOCK THE REST THE FUCK OFF.

JamesBr:

While I agree, even with my above statement, the vagueness of the announcement is part of the problem. "In the future, PlayStation will be a service" is dangerously vague. And as far as branding is concerned, what else is there? They've already made consoles, handhelds, phones and associated peripherals. The already have their own digital distribution service through PSN. What more is there to do? Even Apple doesn't really do more then that (computers, tablets, phones and a digital distribution service; which is the same thing on a different scale). What kind of "service" could they possibly perform, or "brand" that could create that they don't already provide? An online only, cloud-based Netflix-like distribution system where you pay a monthly fee and gain access to your library is only one option, but a realistic one. Making it so you can play your games on multiple platforms barely qualifies as a "service". Adding tons of social networking features is not providing a service so much as it's taking advantage of other people's services. So yeah, speculations is just that, speculation, but unless they follow up this statement with something more concrete, all we're left wondering is what the hell they're talking about, since they've already done much.

Potentially they could be thinking of having a Playstation Store on Android etc to buy games from, which considering they are doing a PS app for tablets etc does make some sense. But as you said it's extremely vague and at a time where Microsoft has turned service into a bad word they should have explained what they mean more.

Fox12:
This... does not bode well. I don't want to pay monthly fees for a service. I want to own a product. As long as Sony remembers that then the happy relationship we've enjoyed for almost two decades will continue. Don't pull a Microsoft on me Sony, you've done well by me so far.

Who said anything about monthly fees? A PSN store on android offering games or other such extras are services and their only cost is buying a product if you decide to do so. I understand Microsoft has made service a bad word though.

The only hypocrisy I see in this, is that they gave Microsoft buttloads of shit for announcing an idea very similar to this at E3, and now a couple months later they come out and say they had plans for something like this too.

Stay classy guys.

Yeah, no. The only place you really can get away with being a service in gaming and being successful at it is on PC. And that's because there is a variety to choose from, even with Steam's ridiculous amount of market share in digital distribution. When someone buys a console or a console game, they want a product. Physical discs, and so on. Simple as that.

PS+ caught on, because it's not essential to the console functionality and purpose. It's an optional service.

Anyway, I wouldn't get too worked up. They basically just threw out a bunch of buzzwords that don't mean anything. But I don't blame anyone for being skeptical. Sony's made some dumb decisions in the past.

Oh God, I hate, _hate_ the whole concept of just getting some sort of streaming service, mainly because I live in a country whioch is happy to censor everything. You can import a boxed game, but you can't import a streamed game, at least not in a playable state.

Actually just some weeks ago an album from some rap artists got banned here and suddenly you couldn't listen to it on spotify anymore (naturally). I imagine gamestreaming working out like that too.

This felt less of "we are goign to restrict" and more of "we are giving you more options to play playstation without having the box". as long as i can stream those few PS3 exclusives to my PC that are the only thing i care for PS3 to begin with im fine. If not, well, there are plenty of other games out there.

Capcha: little sister
did you mean big brother by chance?

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