PlayStation U.S. chief: We shall overcome.

November 16, 2006

Reuters chatted briefly with Kaz Hirai, president and chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America, a few hours before sales of the new PlayStation 3 were set to begin in the U.S. Speaking by phone from a taxi in Manhattan, Hirai remained optimistic about PlayStation retaining its long term status as the king of the $30 billion video game market, despite early development delays, shortages, and a few hiccups near the launch.

kaz2.jpgReuters: Given the long journey to this launch, what is your mood now?

Hirai: Looking at the crowds that were lined up at Sony Plaza (in New York) yesterday, we are very excited. Everyone is looking forward to the clock striking midnight.

Reuters: Are you concerned that shoppers who camp outside a store but miss out on a chance tomorrow to get one of the limited PS3s available, might be instead buy a Microsoft Xbox or a Nintendo Wii?

Hirai: Most of the retailers have one way or another to get people wristbands or something so that they are not waiting in line only to be turned away. I think these are devoted PlayStation fans. If they are not waiting on line to get one today…they will eventually.

Reuters: How do you feel about experts’ suggestion that for the 2006 holiday season, PS3 will not sell as many units as the Wii or the Xbox?

Waiting in line for the U.S. release of the Sony Playstation 3, in Westminster, Colorado Hirai: I think (in time) the PlayStation will take the leadership position. The proof-in-the -pudding, in terms of consumers making choice, is when all three are in retail. When that happens, consumers will make their choice based on what kind of experience they get.

Check out Reuters’ full coverage of this latest phase of the Game Console Wars here.

Also see Reuters Video of the PS3 launch, including an interview with Kaz Hirai. Lastly, watch one of Sony’s high concept — and somewhat puzzling — commercials for PS3.

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