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Shuhei Yoshida Interview: The Present and Future of PS Vita

James Gallagher's Avatar + Posted by James Gallagher on Dec 20, 2011 // Blog Manager, SCEE

As you may have seen from the photo gallery I posted, I spent last week in Tokyo, Japan covering the first launch of PS Vita and finally getting to see this stunning new hardware in gamers’ hands. While I was there, I met up with Shuhei Yoshida, Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment and President of Worldwide Studios, to talk about what PS Vita is set to deliver in spades: great games.

Shuhei_pic1

PlayStation.Blog: Many view the PlayStation Vita launch line-up as the best in our company’s history. How long have you been planning it for?
Shuhei Yoshida, President, Worldwide Studios: Full development of PS Vita hardware started in Spring, 2008 when the semiconductor was complete. The great thing is that we [Worldwide Studios] were there right at the beginning to express our thoughts and reactions to the hardware that was being proposed. We were there at every stage and with every prototype, and we developed game builds to prove and, sometimes, disprove how each new feature was going to make for a great game system.

When Kaz Hirai took over management of SCEI he brought in the approach of fully integrating software and hardware development. Before that, we made brilliant hardware, no question of that, but our hardware team didn’t have such a good understanding of what game developers need or what features might be useful.

It is thanks to this way of working that you are seeing such a great line-up, using so many of the system’s unique features; it’s because our developers have been working with them from the moment each was conceived.

PSB: How far ahead are you looking now and what can we expect from the second and third phases of releases?
SY: Generally we look three years ahead when we work on games. We have a fairly firm plan right up to 2013 but, because PS Vita gives us the opportunity to work on smaller titles like Escape Plan and Sound Shapes, I’m certain we will end up working on more games than we even know about at this moment. On top of the launch line-up, we have already announced LittleBigPlanet, Resistance: Burning Skies, ModNation: Road Trip, and Killzone.

In the past we launched PSP and then shifted our attention to PS3 when that came on the horizon, which we now concede was a mistake. So with PS Vita we are working on this huge range titles and planning ahead for a constant supply of excellent games.

PSB: Augmented Reality (AR) has already been used in some great games but perhaps games aimed at a younger or more casual audience. What is going to convince hardcore gamers that it’s a compelling new way to play?
SY: One thing I know about hardcore gamers is that they hate it when we try to shove new technology down their throats. There may be a perception that Augmented Reality is a gimmick, so we have to provide something that is robust and genuinely enhances the experience. You’re right that AR leans more towards a casual or a younger audience but I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I think that it helps PS Vita to be more relevant to a wider group of people. The more we experiment, I’m sure that we will see real gameplay benefits for hardcore players.

PSB: As someone involved in unearthing new development talent, does it excite you seeing smaller teams coming up with really compelling download and mobile games?
SY: Absolutely – my personal PS Vita game is a totally immersive experience called Sound Shapes (which is especially great when you’re wearing headphones). It’s made by Jonathan Mak who created Everyday Shooter all by himself, designing the graphics and even composing the music. With this new game he has some huge ambitions: he has even hired a couple of people!

I’m a fan of these small developers – The best thing is that they have experience in every part of planning, developing and releasing. It’s not like they have left school and gone to work in a team of 100, only ever working on one particular aspect of their game. They don’t follow the traditional game conventions; some of them are very vocal about trying to break those rules. They are the next generation and they will be changing the landscape of gaming long after I have retired.

PS Vita: Sound Shapes

PSB: Is there one attribute that you’re always looking for in a PlayStation developer?
SY: I don’t necessarily work on recruiting any more as there are producers in our studios reaching out and looking for new talent. Each of them has his or her special thing that they look for but passion is the one common attribute. If a developer is asking you what you want them to develop, then that is not a good question; producers are looking for people with conviction in their own ideas.

PSB: PlayStation 3 has introduced predominantly new IPs from Worldwide Studios, whereas PS Vita has a mix of the new and the familiar. What can we expect to see in the long term?
SY: People like to see their favourite franchises, partly because gaming is about learning a mechanic and developing a skill, and players want to use those skills that they have honed. However, when we introduce new hardware with unique interfaces and network options, it is almost easier to work on something completely new. Take rear touch on PS Vita – we’d rather be thinking about how we can make fresh games using that feature than figuring out ways to add it to something that already exists.

PSB: Developers have stated that PS Vita is relatively easy to develop for, but how do you quantify that and put it into some perspective for our readers?
SY: If you’re keeping track of the third-party games that are being developed then you’ll be amazed at how quickly they are coming together. I’ve been working with our internal dev teams on launch games and they’ve had longer cycles because they were also, in part, helping to debug the early prototypes of the hardware and the SDK.

When I saw new developers coming in and getting straight to work on those systems when they had matured, I could not believe how quickly they were getting their games up and running. I have never seen anything like it before. If you want very straightforward evidence to support that, we are launching PS Vita here in Japan with 24 games.

PSB: Which games do you predict will be most popular at the Japanese launch?
SY: Actually, we collect data from retailers taking pre-orders and we know that Everybody’s Golf (note: known as Hot Shots Golf in North America) is the most popular and UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss is number two. I’m very proud that they are both Worldwide Studios titles.

PSB: It’s perceived that Japanese gaming tastes are quite different to those in Europe and the Americas. Do you see them growing closer?
SY: Japanese people traditionally have a strong local preference, particularly with the Manga style look of characters that they love. But as technology and presentation advances in games like UNCHARTED and Call of Duty, they are rightly seeing their quality. Also, it helps that SCEJ paid a lot of money to get Harrison Ford to appear on TV playing UNCHARTED!

//Add Your Own

94 Comments

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1

+ madecrazy on December 20th, 2011 at 8:13 am said:

I would buy one but they’re kinda expensive


2

+ krae_man on December 20th, 2011 at 8:13 am said:

Can I get the following question answered please:

I preordered the First Edition Bundle. Am I going to have to wait a week to play anything other then Little Deviants? Are any retail or downloadable Vita games going to be available a week early as well?


3

+ fabtrocks on December 20th, 2011 at 8:18 am said:

Games that come out 2/15; UNCharted Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Wipeout, Modnation Racers, Hot Shots Golf and Reality Fighter.


4

+ jonny2010 on December 20th, 2011 at 8:19 am said:

well price 4 vita it self is ok but they get you on the memory cards.


5

+ Heavenly_king on December 20th, 2011 at 8:20 am said:

1st day buy :D


6

+ spoonTRex on December 20th, 2011 at 8:21 am said:

I’m excited. I haven’t pre-ordered yet, but I will. I’m curious about the memory cards and the rumor that digital games will be cheaper because of the (also rumored) high price of the cards.

Also, if I get a Vita at a midnight launch (2/22) and opt to get games digitally rather than physically, what’s the chance that all the digital launch games will also be available at midnight? (I get that the games launching on the 15th will be available.)


7

+ coconutshinobi on December 20th, 2011 at 8:30 am said:

I am very looking forward to the Vita, based on videos on Youtube it looks like Sony has got its hang of it this time. I just hope there will be more native PS VITA games this time. Sony made a lot of shortened and smaller version of PS2 games on the PSP. I really hope this time that won’t happen again.


8

+ Sonicfan11589 on December 20th, 2011 at 8:34 am said:

Any chance of a list of PSP games being reworked for Vita as in use of right analog thumbstick and upscaled graphics?

Also any chance of PS2 Classics being playable on Vita as well?


9

+ xCh0z3n-0n3x on December 20th, 2011 at 8:38 am said:

day one night for me…hell…midnight buy for me fudge it!! :P:P:P:P cant waittttttttttt


10

+ David2Crazy on December 20th, 2011 at 8:48 am said:

I’d like to know the answer to #2 (krae_man)’s question as well.

Will the PS Store be accessible a week before launch, and will there be PS Vita games available for purchase/download on there?


11

+ kiratachibana on December 20th, 2011 at 8:49 am said:

Humm…still want multiple accounts support… I have this US PSN account, but I have to created a HK PSN account after relocating to Hong Kong so I can buy DLCs for Asia region games. If PS Vita can have at least 2 PSN accounts support I can buy asia region games (and its DLCs) and play it with US account like PS3. (So I can still earn trophies with US account.)


12

+ EmoSaga on December 20th, 2011 at 8:52 am said:

I got my 1st Edition Bundle Pre-ordered =) can’t wait! For those complaining about the price. Look at Tablets that are comparable in THE POWER of the VITA… and then maybe you won’t cry so much =P


13

+ Phillyblunz on December 20th, 2011 at 8:59 am said:

In order for me to buy this I would like to consider it a PS3P, or at least a PS2P.

This means great games should be re-released for this platform.
Games I would love to see on a handheld with dual analogs:

For PS2 games:
-Starwars battlefront 1,2.
-Matrix:PON.
-Gow 1,2.
-Battlestar Gallactica.
-Mercenaries

For PS3 games:
-Killzone 2.
-Motorstorm 1,2.
-Uncharted 1.
-Warhawk.
-Mercenaries 2.
-MGS4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-MGS4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-MGS4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


14

+ KidCommando on December 20th, 2011 at 9:01 am said:

Was thinking of getting one at launch, but will probably hold off until they release the 2nd gen versions. Maybe those will come with some kind of internal HD, a few more perks, and a lower price point.


15

+ zombie9 on December 20th, 2011 at 9:02 am said:

I hope it sells well. I will wait on a little bit of a price drop though before I buy. Also I would like to add 3-D is wonderful I got to try it for the first time two days ago and regret nothing. PS3D for life(:


16

+ Phillyblunz on December 20th, 2011 at 9:13 am said:

Problems I fear for PS Vita:

-High cost of proprietary memory cards which wont work in anything else.
Why wouldnt they at least stick with their last proprietary memory cards which only work in Sony devices???
Remember Prostick duo? Throw those out now???
What pay 60 for a 10GB stick? How many games will that even fit? More then 1? Then pay another $60 for the game that fits on it? Could this be the age of $120 games? Count me out if yes.

-Focus will be on new IP’s and reimagining old IP’s. I think the smart move would be to start out by releasing all the PS2 and Ps3 greatest hits for Vita launch. They greatest hits for a reason!! I would buy KZ2 in a heartbeta, but Drakes Golden shower looks gimmicky with the tilt and touch. Tilt should be used for aiming in first person such as sniping or the grenade throw like the PS3 versions and also in racing games and games like Monkey ball not for hopping ledge to ledge!!


17

+ RidleysBox on December 20th, 2011 at 9:15 am said:

I am with you #11, but as always, these type of interviews are loaded with only questions they want to answer, that make the company look good.


18

+ Zookey on December 20th, 2011 at 9:16 am said:

Sugoi Yoshida-san! I LOVE this new approach of Sony’s–work WITH the developers! Vita is going to be amazing–only 2 more months!


19

+ remanutd5 on December 20th, 2011 at 9:24 am said:

very good interview but can you guys talk about features , i mean show us video of them all , like the web browser for example , why wont be able to download HD movies from the store on the vita? a gorgeous screen and no HD movies , weird isnt it? are we getting a youtube app ? can you guys show a video how trophies work ? new resistance burning skies gameplay video ? motorstorm RC gameplay video ? new killzone gameplay video ?


20

+ fabtrocks on December 20th, 2011 at 9:27 am said:

I talked to somone at Playstation HQ and she said that there will be both digital and physical copies of games on 2/15.


21

+ materclobber on December 20th, 2011 at 9:29 am said:

can’t wait!!!! :)


22

+ Nightmare142 on December 20th, 2011 at 9:30 am said:

Nice read. Pre-ordered my Vita, can’t wait to get mine in about 2 months, it feels like 10 months :(


23

+ materclobber on December 20th, 2011 at 9:32 am said:

what are the chances of it having a netflix or youtube app in future updates?


24

+ Pesico on December 20th, 2011 at 9:37 am said:

Can you guys fix so that we can view Vita trophies when comparing trophies with friends from a PS3? I’m now looking at someones profile. He has 17 trophies, but only two of them shows up. 2 of them are from a PS3 game, and the rest is Vita trophies (which doesn’t show up except for the numbers in the profile).


25

+ krae_man on December 20th, 2011 at 9:39 am said:

@materclobber There are toasters with a netflix app. Vita is a lock.


26

+ TheTwelve on December 20th, 2011 at 9:48 am said:

I just want it. NOW!!!!!!! —12


27

+ poweredbyzen on December 20th, 2011 at 9:52 am said:

i’m a big fan of portable gaming,
and i hope this is a breath of
fresh air for a loyal fan like me. :D


28

+ Carl-G on December 20th, 2011 at 9:57 am said:

Hopefully ‘GOD’ Kaz Hirai is cooking up some big PS4 games for day 1 when the PS4 comes out :P :P :P

+ Cool interview;)


29

+ Ethereal on December 20th, 2011 at 10:05 am said:

Only two more months! WOO!


30

+ wamninja on December 20th, 2011 at 10:18 am said:

Not getting one.

Pros:
4 cores
Double touch pads

Cons:
1 user account only
Low battery life with no removable battery
Proprietary memory card / No MicroSD
The software is too cute for Sony. If I wanted cute, I would buy a Nintendo. I want something hardcore. You can’t play CoD or Uncharted on this. You would get laughed at.

Maybe make a grown up version. The PSVita S. Include a larger battery, MicroSD, Software with an app drawer or make the bubbles, squares. Something like Windows Phone 7 or Android. Not Apple clutter. Dynamic live wallpapers would be nice too. If you are marketing to little kids, you should lower the price. If you are marketing too everyone that currently own a PS3. Make it more usable.


31

+ alexh4319 on December 20th, 2011 at 10:27 am said:

Wait games to 2013?


32

+ Budapesti on December 20th, 2011 at 10:28 am said:

I swore off purchasing any more physical PSP games, what with the Vita coming out in a couple of months.

Then, this past weekend I found Invizimals and the PSP camera for $20 at Fry’s. Now, I can say the AR function is my most anticipated feature of the Vita. Invizimals is ridiculously fun (AND it has the awesome Brian ‘Gordon’s Alive!’ Blessed in it!) and if that’s what can be achieved on PSP, the Vita AR stuff could be incredible.
Can’t wait!


33

+ pudgenet on December 20th, 2011 at 10:32 am said:

@wamninja Did you really say you can’t play Uncharted on it? Really? Have you seen the game footage of Uncharted on it?

And funny, this looks much more like Windows Phone 7 than iOS to me. And Android looks almost exactly like iOS, and almost nothing like Windows Phone 7. And I consider Windows Phone 7 to be very cluttered, and iOS to be very uncluttered.

That said, I agree the proprietary (read: expensive) memory card and power are big problems.


34

+ JH-FallenReaper on December 20th, 2011 at 10:36 am said:

i want one of these but cant afford one and im low in cash so im going to start saving for the PS4 since rumor has it itll come out in like 3 years and want to get it at launch and please make KILLZONE 4 a PS4 game please!for launch and ill definately buy a PS4 on launch with it!


35

+ Butters360 on December 20th, 2011 at 10:38 am said:

I’m so ready for this. 2 more months to go till the PlayStation Vita is mine!


36

+ Teflon02 on December 20th, 2011 at 11:11 am said:

I Need VITA, I’ve been waiting. my Main game to get is ModNation Racers: Road Trip it looks like they fixed the crashing and spin you the wrong way problem and hopefully that if you hit the fall wall on a sharp turn your stuck there for a bit problem to.
Please let me know though if ModNation will need a memory card because i have over 16GB in psp and ps1 games and want almost all on my vita so i have to get a 32gb memory card, but i won’t be able to get both same time most likely so i need to know can i save and update that specific game without it.
oh yeah can we get a PS BLOG app on the VITA so we can go on here and do whatever and be notified when we gget replies :) thanks
also we all know NetFlix will be on VITA no doubt but can you guys please tell us some info on it like will it be available at launch because my brothers 3ds has it and it plays decent (small screen) and i’d love to see it run off my vita next year so when i’m in college waiting for classes to start or something i can watch Soul eater and what not :P


37

+ JohnRomer on December 20th, 2011 at 11:16 am said:

Zookey:

“I LOVE this new approach of Sony’s–work WITH the developers!”

LOL! LOL! LOL!

110 million PS1s worldwide and created the modern third party console developer world

160 million PS2s worldwide with the greatest and largest first and third party library in gaming history.

72 million PSPs worldwide

And now the PS3 is the third fastest selling console in history with developers putting out games that destroy the nightmare to develop for Xbox 360 in graphics and gameplay.

And someone is actually dumb enough to try to claim Sony has a new approach???

LOL! LOL! LOL!


38

+ JohnRomer on December 20th, 2011 at 11:17 am said:

Zookey:

“I LOVE this new approach of Sony’s–work WITH the developers!”

LOL! LOL! LOL!

110 million PS1s worldwide and created the modern third party console developer world

160 million PS2s worldwide with the greatest and largest first and third party library in gaming history.

72 million PSPs worldwide

And now the PS3 is the third fastest selling console in history with developers putting out games that destroy the nightmare to develop for Xbox 360 in graphics and gameplay.

And someone is actually dumb enough to try to claim Sony has a new approach???


39

+ KILLO31 on December 20th, 2011 at 11:49 am said:

Prob won’t get one untill the summer.


40

+ SlaughteredNinja on December 20th, 2011 at 11:53 am said:

I wonder what BLEACH is gonna be like on the VITA.


41

+ Nanomoss on December 20th, 2011 at 12:01 pm said:

Good interview keep up the good work


42

+ luvtoseek on December 20th, 2011 at 12:41 pm said:

@16, Phillyblunz- I know, new memory isn’t pleasant. However, you can always store your games on the PC/PS3 (I think) & take what you want to play digitally. Some sizes taken from the Jap. Psn Vita store:

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – 1350 MB
Uncharted Golden Abyss – 2777 MB
F1 – 1435 MB
Katamari – 744 MB
Little Deviants – 869 MB
Army Corps of Hell – 598 MB
Dynasty Warriors – 1485 MB
Dungeon Hunter – 1057 MB
Virtua Tennis – 1241 MB
Blaz Blue – 3180 MB
Disgaea 3 – 1699 MB
Hot Shots Golf – 1100 MB
Ridge Racer – 561 MB
Lord of Apocalypse – 1427 MB

@ 24, Pesico- what’s up Pesico from ps3trophy forums!:)

@30, wamninja- I agree w/ the single user acct. limitation. However, battery is REMOVABLE (see the manual, it’s a multiple screws though…) & COD is announced but it’s TBD.


43

+ alexh4319 on December 20th, 2011 at 1:01 pm said:

Can someone please tell me what they mean when they say games to 2013 , are they gonna stop making games for it or what?


44

+ MTK4355 on December 20th, 2011 at 1:23 pm said:

@ alexh4319

They have a “fairly firm plan” of games to be released into 2013, he does not say they are only producing games into 2013.


45

+ alexh4319 on December 20th, 2011 at 1:43 pm said:

So your saying that he meant that he has a list of games to be released in 2013 not that there going to stop making vita games in 2013 right?


46

+ subadictos on December 20th, 2011 at 2:18 pm said:

I suppose you can play on Vita: Minis, PSOne Classics and digital PSP games, right?
If the answer is yes, I think I’ll have a lot to play when I buy it… ;)


47

+ Brain723 on December 20th, 2011 at 2:38 pm said:

@42, there is no doubt that there are ways to work around a smaller memory card, but they all seem like an unnecessary pain. If it is in Sony’s best interest to encourage digital download, it seems really stupid to make the memory cards that expensive. I like Sony a lot and I am really excited about the vita, but I don’t understand why this company makes certain business decisions. They are going to loose more money in sales thanks to the expensive memory cards than they would if they either dropped their memory card price or allowed the use of generic memory cards. It is choices like these that make Sony seem somewhat unfriendly and dense. If I could combine Nintendo’s customer service approach with Sony’s desire to develop new tech and IPs, I would be very happy.


48

+ Brain723 on December 20th, 2011 at 2:41 pm said:

@45, You are correct, he is saying that they have a pretty good idea about what will be coming out through 2013. They will certainly continue to make games after that point.


49

+ Brain723 on December 20th, 2011 at 2:49 pm said:

@46, unless something changes before the U.S. launch, don’t count on being able to play your PsOne Classics for at least a while.
http://www.joystiq.com/2011/11/28/psone-classics-and-other-game-archives-wont-work-on-vita-at-lau/


50

+ cjstokyo on December 20th, 2011 at 3:00 pm said:

Even the proprietary memory cards I can live with, since that’s just a matter of cost. But I was all set to buy one last weekend until I found out about how it’s effectively locked to a single account. That was the game killer for me.

So I’m sticking with my two PSPs for the moment. But Sony really seems to be trying to drive me towards an Android phone (and clearly not an Xperia Play, where they want me to pay again for all the PSOne games I’ve already bought from PSN).


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