House: Having Kaz Hirai As My Boss Is a Help and a Curse
Posted by Sammy Barker
PlayStation president spills the beans on Sony gaffer
Andrew House’s tenure as PlayStation president couldn’t have gone smoother so far. The British businessman’s first major task was to announce and release the PlayStation 4, which has already gone on to surpass the organisation’s lofty expectations. However, as part of a candid interview with EDGE magazine, the Welsh executive has admitted that reporting to former Sony Computer Entertainment chief Kaz Hirai isn’t always ideal.
“Well, it’s both a help and, I have to say, sometimes a curse,” the suit said of the current Sony gaffer. “When you’re giving presentations to a boss that has held your role previously, you [get] an awful lot more detailed questions than you’d get from other CEOs. Joking aside, Kaz having come through the PlayStation organisation and understanding the fundamentals of what makes a strong platform has been enormously helpful in supporting our efforts. The result, of course, is that the PS4 is flying.”
House continued that Hirai was an early believer in the push that the platform holder’s made for a more socially connected console. “Can you pinpoint the key decisions you made that brought [the PS4] such instant success?” he pondered. “One was – and we did, if not agonise, then give an awful lot of consideration to this – the degree to which we incorporated the Share button, placing a lot of emphasis on broadcasting and sharing.”
Interestingly, the manufacturer also battled to increase the machine’s memory to 8GB GDDR5 RAM, after it initially planned to incorporate just 4GB of the super speedy chip. “With considerable financial implications, doubling the size of the core memory was a very hard-fought decision,” he continued. “Mark [Cerny] and myself and [Masayasu] Ito were just convinced that this would be the step change. It was an absolutely fundamental example of where we really did listen to what developers were telling us.”
Allegedly, it was Gearbox president Randy Pitchford who told third-party chief Adam Boyes that the PS4 would be “done” if it didn’t include 8GB GDDR5 RAM, and this eventually prompted the platform holder to change its mind. When the figure was announced at the system’s coming out party last February, most developers weren’t even aware of the improvement. Of course, it’s all worked out for the best, as Sony’s next-gen system has become the lead console of choice for most developers.