Sony is “rethinking” its PlayStation strategy and moving away from the closed platform that it used for the PS1, PS2 and PS3 consoles.
Jim Ryan, the head of Sony Computer Entertainment in Europe, told MCV, “It’s definitely the case that the old model of these very siloed platforms is breaking down a bit.”
There has been a small shift already, as users who buy certain games on the PS3 can also get a Vita version for free under Sony’s new Cross Buy scheme.
“PS2 was not a connected device. PSP was not really a proper connected device. PS3 is and PS Vita most definitely is. So we have the ability now to have devices talk to each other,” Ryan added.
It looks like Sony may also be planning to provide a broader PlayStation “experience” beyond its branded console and handheld gaming hardware.
“There are obviously lots of people, whether it is on a tablet or a smartphone, playing games; sorts of people who a number of years ago were simply not doing that,” said Ryan. “We think there is a great opportunity to offer consumers a place where they will be assured of a certain level of quality of Android game, presented with a gaming format that is similar to what they’ve experienced in the past.”
Sony now has PlayStation Mobile, a unified banner for its games on the PlayStation Vita and Android tablets and phones.
Then in July, Sony bought the cloud gaming service Gaikai, which hints at a way that Sony could make games available across a range of devices but with a certain amount of control over how they will look and feel to the end users.
It also has Dust 514, a first-person shooter that is free to play and allows PS3 and PC gamers to play together through EVE Online.
“No entertainment industry can just carry on the way it was,” admitted Ryan. “For our industry to thrive and prosper it has to evolve and it has to innovate.”
It’s likely that a yet-to-be-announced PlayStation 4 will still be at the heart of Sony’s gaming platform, but it may not be so isolated from the rest of the world.
How open it can really be, however, will be heavily affected by what other operating systems permit. Apple’s iOS is a tightly closed environment for developers. Windows 8 may also impose its own restrictions, something that Valve and Blizzard have both been highly critical about in the last few weeks.
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Images: Sony & CCP Games