In an interview with Times Online, SCEA head Kaz Hirai discussed the challenges the PS3 has had in gaining a foothold in the market. In particular, the marketing hurdles of the recently-redesigned machine came into question.
From the Times Online interview:
[Question:] A marketing person once told me that the most difficult thing to sell is a Swiss Army penknife, because it does everything. Do you think you made the same mistake with the PS3?
[Hirai:] Right. That was more of a marketing issue than anything else. When I came back to Japan in November 2006, one of the first things I did was to go out with a very clear message that said the PS3 is first and foremost a video game console, before we talk about any of the other great things it can do. I think the PS3 had a bit of an identity problem.
We focused therefore in the first year and a half or so on talking about the great games and also we sent that message to all of our development partners.
I think we’ve done a pretty good job of doing that, which is why we’ve got this great raft of software coming into this holiday season. Once we’ve done that, then we can talk about all the other things that it can do in terms of the non-game video content, whether it’s the video delivery service or the catchup TV service or the movie rental service. But none of that makes much sense unless we can say first and foremost it’s a great video game console.