J goes head-to-head with Kaz

Written by Wil Harris

December 16, 2005 // 1:12 p.m.

Tags: #1up #allard #hirai #kaz #ps3 #xbox-360

Companies: #microsoft #sony

Gaming heavyweights J Allard and Kaz Hirai have been pitched against each other in a new interview by the guys over at 1up. The interview is in-depth, and pretty stunning - a long four pages, but well worth it.

For those who don't know, J Allard is the cool, skin-head poster child for the Xbox 360 from Microsoft. Allegedly, he's the guy that came up with the whole roadmap for the Xbox project, of which the 360 is just one part. Kaz Hirai the head head of Sony Computer Entertainment in America, and is in charge of rolling out the PS3 there.

Here's some interesting picks from the questions:

Microsoft on Xbox Live:
"J Allard: Our blood flowed online before we even had a team or product. That's probably the biggest thing that has helped make Xbox Live so successful, [the fact] that we didn't separate it from the hardware. We didn't separate it from the development tools or first-party development. Instead, we said online is going to be a part of everything we do. If we make a first-party racing game, it's going to be online, and when you see the sales brochure, it's going to talk about online. When you go to a developers' conference, we're going to talk about online."

Microsoft on why console splits are bad for gamers:
"J Allard: It's damaging for the industry to have three different companies pursue three different theories of online [gaming]. If one company thought voice wasn't important, or another company thought that voice was paramount, while a third company thought it was all about text-that's tough for gamers. I have to decide: Am I a voice guy? Then I'll go over here, but then I can't get GTA. Am I a keyboard guy? If I am then I'll go over here, but I can't get Halo. If I'm an apathetic guy who doesn't really care about online, I'll go with that one. It's tough, and for a developer trying to make a racing game on all three platforms-it's, "OK, guess I have to make a game where you can type and talk, and I have to set up servers.""

Sony on never making mistakes:
Kaz Hirai: "If you're just talking about general business or strategic decisions over the past 10 years-I can't really think of anything as a fundamental mistake that we would want to go back and change. If you're looking at more technical things, like the holiday of 1999-would we have liked to sell more PS2s? Yeah, maybe. There are always things you want to do better, but at the strategic level there isn't one issue where I can say we should've done it differently. And, knock on wood, I think we were very lucky in not having mistakes of that magnitude."

Sony on the PS3 controller:
Kaz Hirai: "That was a prototype that was shown, and it's a tall order that Kutaragi-san ran past the designers. We've gone through two consoles with essentially the same controller design, and it's time for a fresh approach. We're going to look at the form factor, but at the same time we want it to feel familiar. It's difficult to balance the two. It's a work in progress. We certainly want to make sure that when you hold it in your hands that you've come home to something familiar."

There is a whole tonne more stuff in there too, so definitely go and check it out. On a sidenote, the graphical layout on 1up is pretty great, in my opinion. Would you fancy something like that on bit-tech? Let us know your thoughts in the News Forum.
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