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Hirai: Game-Specific Devices Will Stick Around For A While

If you're thinking that game-specific consoles and portables are going to disappear, one executive tells you to think again. Buttons still rule.

In speaking to The Verge during the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai says he believes consoles and handhelds are here to stay:

"I think that based on the consumer feedback that we've been getting, there is certainly a very large segment of the video game market that is interested in playing immersive games on a game-specific device, as opposed to playing casual games on smartphones. There is certainly a market for that as well, but again, there's that market where the physical buttons and the controls are very important for that intuitive and intricate gameplay control."

That response was mostly geared to the PlayStation Vita, which hasn't performed up to expectations. Specifically regarding consoles, Hirai said they "aren't going to go away anytime soon," either. Personally, I've never understood how anyone could have the same precision and exactness using a touchscreen as compared to pressing a button. Maybe that's just me...

Tags: sony, game consoles, video game consoles, gaming industry

1/9/2013 9:41:33 PM John Shepard

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Comments (11 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 @ 11:08:44 PM
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I think casual gaming and on the go gaming pretty much go hand in hand, Vita could be the last portable trying to be as hardcore as console gaming. I think most people like to play their major productions with controller in hand and big TV not too far away.

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Axe99
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 4:45:21 PM

Most, but not all - I'm hoping that the Vita or similar concept lives on for a niche audience. Sony's approach of having games on PS3 also turn up on Vita would mean you could maintain a decent library on it as well.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 1:51:55 AM
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I hope he's right. I just really don't like the idea of fiddling with PC settings all the time and I still think of iPhone games as mobile games... and I do not remember them fondly.

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PSTan
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 2:07:00 AM
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Touchscreen gaming is generally better for 2d games, while more intricate 3d games require buttons and sticks (judging from my experiences anyway).

Issues like precision and latency will always be present; the best games are the ones that are specifically designed for certain control inputs.

I enjoy a healthy dose of both types of gaming; hence, the vita was a godsend for me. Being able to move from a casual time killer like jetpack joyride to a more immersive and demanding experience such as persona 4 on the same device is exactly what I wanted in a portable system.

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sawao_yamanaka
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 2:10:12 AM

Couldn't have said it better myself. I keep switching from jetpack joyride to ninja gaiden all the time! Can't wait for ninja gaiden sigma 2 plus. That will take up some of my time :).

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Beamboom
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 3:36:03 AM
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Speaking of the Verge, they also had a very interesting interview with Gabe, where he outlined his thoughts on motion sensing gaming:

"Motion just seems to be a way of thinking of your body as a set of communication channels. Your hands, and your wrist muscles, and your fingers are actually your highest bandwidth -- so to try and talk to a game with your arms is essentially saying ‘oh we’re gonna stop using ethernet and go back to 300 baud dial-up.’"

That is just such a precise and well put comparison. Can't wait to hear more about the Steambox.

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Axe99
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 4:50:54 PM

Gabe's (not unusually) being a little narrow here. While motion gaming does a terrible job for traditional games, for things like Sports Champions or dancing games, where it brings your body into the game in a more natural fashion (ie, instead of emulating the movements with an avatar, through canned animations, you are the avatar and rely on your own animation), motion gaming is brilliant. But motion gaming was only ever going to be a niche field, because most games involve behaviour that isn't appropriately controlled by 1:1 avatar stuff (at least sensibly, lol).

Motion gaming on Wii/PS3does also involve using the controller as a pointer as well, which has worked very well for other niche games (RUSE/Under Siege), and that's hardly low-bandwidth stuff.

Of course, Gabe's constituency (PC gamers) have a mouse to cover the pointing, and are generally pretty disinterested in the motion gaming niche, so it's hardly surprising he's not interested in that. Unfortunately, Gabe has a habit of bagging things that he's not interested in, rather trying to see the other point of view - he's getting better, but he's still got a ways to go.

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___________
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 6:22:05 AM
Reply

of course theres always going to be a market for gaming specific devices.
i wish things would go back to being much more specific.
why do we need netflix, utube, facebook, twitter, and all this other BS on the ps3?
we already have said services on phones, tablets, computers, portable devices such as the vita, isent that enough?
i wish console manufactures would stop wasting time and money on developing these things and worry about putting those resources to something customers actually will use!
technology is coming to a point where theres 100000 different devices yet they ALL do the same thing!
a tablet is a over sized phone, so why do you need a tablet?
and laptops are over sized tablets, so why do you need a laptop?

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Excelsior1
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 8:07:16 AM
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All the great controls in world get you nowhere without a steady stream of games to back it up. The Vita's 2013 software line up is embarrassingly thin.

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Axe99
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 4:52:29 PM
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Here here! I can't see us losing game-specific devices anytime soon (or, indeed, ever - as we'll always need game-specific controllers of some description, even if processing power gets so cheap and operating systems so standardised that our internet-connected sofas can run our games).

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SaiyanSempai
Thursday, January 10, 2013 @ 10:59:53 PM
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I agree Ben. Game specific consoles are definitely needed. I consider those smartphone games as little time-killers, not deep gaming experiences. Something to do when you're SO BORED you want to stab yourself in the aorta just to have something to do. Never have I ever said, "I can't wait to get home and play (insert smartphone game here)."

But I find myself saying that with my Vita.

Last edited by SaiyanSempai on 1/10/2013 11:03:16 PM

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