In an interview with Gamespot today, Kaz Hirai discussed the PS3 launch, the PSP, E3 and more.
After re-affirming that Sony is looking to November 17th for the PS3 launch in the US, North American Sony Computer Entertainment President, Kaz Hirai went on to discuss the PS3's manufacturing status. "We haven't started manufacturing yet. Some of our ops guys were actually just in China, and also in Japan just reviewing the [production] lines and everything else. But they are, again, preparing as we speak to get the manufacturing going. We've not announced and we haven't set really a specific date to say: 'As of this day we're going to start manufacturing.'"
Hirai went on to confirm that the PlayStation Network Platform (PNP) will be launching alongside the console to compete with Microsoft's Xbox Live. When asked for more details on the service, he said, "We're not ready to announce exactly the service features of the online service just yet. But, I think I talked about this at the E3 press conference as well, as far as we're concerned--online, offline, it doesn't really matter. It's basically another form of delivering entertainment. Some things are better done offline. Some things are better done online. It's really not a differentiating factor to basically put all of our eggs in the online basket, because I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense at this point in time. So it's basically just a matter of balancing the two--that has always been our strategy, as opposed to basically putting all of our eggs in the online basket."
The potential for a PSP price drop and re-design has been floating around the net for some time. Hirai stands by the system, stating that there will not be a price drop or a new version of the portable anytime soon. "I think we cleared 20 million units worldwide within the first what, about 18 months or so. And in the US, we've already cleared 5.2 million. Again, it's only been in the market a year and five months, so we're obviously very happy with the technology we've packed into the current PSP, and we don't have any plans to redesign the PSP at this point in time," he said.
Read the full Gamespot interview here.