Former vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison was interviewed by EDGE magazine , where he spoke about the problematic launch of the PlayStation 3 and its reasons. In particular, Harrison noted that at that time Sony did not take its competitors seriously enough.
The company did not see Microsoft as a worthy competitor, especially in Japan.
“To be honest, I don’t think Sony cared about Microsoft as a serious competitor. In the Tokyo office, everyone thought Microsoft didn’t exist at all, although they were a major force in the US and Europe. But in Japan, nobody cared about the original Xbox or the Xbox 360. Hence the distorted notion of just how important and powerful a competitor the Xbox would be”.
Harrison did not ignore the much more important reason for the PS3’s initial failure – its astronomical price at that time.
“Kazu Hiari was unlucky enough to announce the PS3’s price at E3, and I think the audience sigh in the audience nearly knocked him off the stage. The price was unprecedented and reflected in two ways. The first is the enormous cost of manufacturing the console, which simply required a high price tag. The second point – some components, in particular, the Blu-ray drive, which was also expensive and difficult to assemble. In addition, there were simply few drives, so the starting price allowed us to keep up with demand”.
In addition, the former vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios acknowledged problems with the architecture and hardware of the PS3, which prevented many developers from getting the most out of the console.
“We’ve definitely made life harder for most developers and publishers with console hardware. At that time, I was practically not involved in supporting third-party developers, but we realized that we had miscalculated with technology and tools”.
Harrison added that Sony has done a great job with the PS3 Slim, in-house studios and external partnerships. The company has also grown a lot in terms of online.
Harrison is currently developing Google Stadia.