Father of PlayStation retires from Sony

According to Eurogamer, Ken Kutaragi is retiring from his role as CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. Kaz Hirai will be replacing Kutaragi as CEO.

I have to say, I’m more than a little disappointed by this news. Double-crazy double-K was always always good for an entertaining quote. Almost everything out of his mouth was like something from a megalomaniacal supervillian - things you can almost imagine Ming the Merciless shouting at people. The best Kaz Hirai has given us so far is the embarassing “RIIIIIIIIDGE RACERRRRRRRR!

So here are some of my favourite Ken Kutaragi quotes:

_"It will be expensive ... for consumers to think to themselves 'I will work more hours to buy one'. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else"

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_"If processors of high performance and wide bandwidth like the Cell were linked together without sufficient security, a worldwide system crash could occur with one attack."

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_"The PS3 will instill discipline in our children and adults alike. Everyone will know discipline."

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We’ll miss you, Ken.

PlayStation 3, Teledildonics and You

Talking to Cliph on IM about the PlayStation 3, we touched on the ideas of how the social space in Home will be filtered. For example, in the public area, people can talk to each other using a keyboard, the built-in phrases (“Would you like to play a game?") or via a Bluetooth headset. It’s likely that there will be a bunch of ‘banned’ words for those using the keyboard input, but will there be any restrictions on what can be said via a headset? Is there anything to stop me turning the virtual air blue with obscenities?

Sony have said that in the private space, there will be few restrictions. You will be able to decorate your ‘room’ with whatever images you have on your PlayStation 3’s hard drive. You can stream whatever movies and sound files on your PlayStation 3’s hard drive and everyone visiting your room will be able to see and hear these files. I’m willing to bet that without restrictions, there will be a thriving red-light market in Sony’s Home faster than you can say “WELCOME TO JOHN’S COCK PALACE.”

But let’s go even further. By taking the possible sexual underworld of Home and combining it with Sony’s own USB Trance Vibrator (released with ‘Rez’ on the PlayStation 2), we could be witnessing an evolution and mass-marketization of teledildonics.

I can’t wait to see what happens when you put in the Konami code.

Home (or: I think Sony just killed Second Life)

sony_home.jpg

Today at the Game Developer’s Conference, Sony officially announced “Home”. Home is so many things, it’s a little complicated to describe.

Pitched as somewhere between Second Life and MySpace, it’s a social space where PlayStation 3 owners can meet PlayStation 3 owners. They do this by navigating an avatar (similar to Nintendo’s Mii, but more realistic and with more customization options) around a 3D world. Each user also gets a private space - a virtual apartment - which they can customize as they see fit. They can invite people into this private space and launch multiplayer games, or stream music and videos from their PlayStation 3 to the other people in this room. Sony’s Home includes a virtual ‘trophy room’ where people can display their ‘entitlements’ (Sony’s answer to Xbox 360’s achievements) as moving, 3D trophies.

Oh, and it’s all free.

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This was Sony’s ace in the hole. A completely unexpected, beautifully executed masterstroke that almost makes you forget about all of Sony’s fuck-ups with PlayStation 3.

Almost.

Right now, Sony is still talking about the possibilities of Home, and although a lot of these are still pretty blue-sky suggestions, they do give you some idea of what an online virtual world is capable of when you’ve got the weight and muscle of the entire Sony Corporation behind it. For example, using its ability to stream high-def movies, there could be movie premieres (in a virtual cinema) of Sony Pictures movies within Home. And for the MySpazz crowd, there’s the possibility of in-game appearances by their favourite Sony BMG bands.

I bet the makers of Second Life won’t get much sleep tonight.

Game On, London

My girlfriend is amazing. Despite the fact that she can barely tolerate videogames, she still whisked me away to London last weekend, just to bring me to the Game On exhibition in the Science Museum, where I could play virtually every game ever made, on every system ever made. Just think about this for a second: this is like someone who is lactose intolerant having a milkshake with you, just because it’s your birthday.

Amazing.

I got to play SpaceWar*! And Space Invaders! And Steel Battalion (with the huge controller)! And the old Star Wars Arcade game! And a Playstation 3!

Actually, this last one wasn’t that amazing.

They were running a demo of the racing game, Motorstorm. When I took the controller, I noticed that the controller wasn’t set up to use the motion control. So I went to quit the current race and turn it on. Except, on this pre-release hardware, running this pre-release demo, clicking “quit” causes the machine to freeze. Hard. The PlayStation 3 itself was enclosed in a plastic box, so they started by trying to squeeze a bent metal coathanger through one of the ventilation holes to hit the ‘reset’ button. When this didn’t work, they had to get a drill to remove the plastic box.

Fortunately, my amazing girlfriend was on-hand to document the faces I made as people scrambled about with power tools trying to fix the obscenely expensive piece of consumer electronics I just broke.

PS3 at Science Museum

Yeah, she’s amazing.

More photos from my trip up on Flickr

    • running beside a PDP-1, but not on a PDP-1