Phil Harrison, Ex-PlayStatin, Predictions

Posted by at 3:58 am on June 20, 2011

Former SCEA head Phil Harrison predicted in a recent interview that Apple could dictate gaming within a decade. Asked where he saw Apple in ten years, the PlayStation pioneer told Edge there was a “pretty good chance” iOS could “be the games industry.” Its sales rates were very rapid, and Apple wasn’t tied down by a need to please game retailers that have threatened retaliation should companies like Nintendo and Sony drop physical game sales.

“You see something on the App Store, you click a button, the product delivers to your device,” Harrison explained. “That end-to-end shopping experience, if you want to call it that, has been so elegantly built by Apple and they will continue to refine it… console companies run the risk of becoming a little antiquated unless they change their business model.”

Microsoft and Sony could move to digital-first on their new systems, he suspected. Nintendo might be behind, in part because of the timing of the Wii U as the first next-generation TV console. Most of the “smart silicon innovation” would still be going into mobile.

The statement would contradict the view of Harrison’s former employer, which has been counting on the PSVita as a return to form in the mobile world. SCEA’s current president Jack Tretton wants Vita to be important enough that it could be considered as important as a phone to some gamers. Apple’s advantage has been widely credited to making multi-role devices where gaming is just one of several roles.

Regardless of the category, Harrison saw the industry moving increasingly to cloud storage and the web, to the point where the idea of centralized local storage would be “a joke” in two decades and the browser would be near-invisible. He saw displays moving more towards fast refresh rates for things like 3D than Retina Display-level resolutions. Biometrics could play a large role in measuring even subtle conditions of a user, and companies like Nintendo or Sony could turn into pure services as local hardware becomes less important.

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