15 years ago, when the original PlayStation arrived on the scene, gaming as we know it changed. For gamers, there will always be that “Where were you when…” moment of Sony’s spectacular entry into the console world. Patrick Seybold, Sony’s Senior Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media, saw the evolution of the PlayStation brand first hand, and, to celebrate 15 years of PlayStation glory, PSLS chatted with him about his thoughts on the past 15 years, the defining moments in the PlayStation brand’s history, and what he thinks about the console’s digital future.
PSLS: What was the most defining moment in PlayStation history?
Patrick Seybold: The most defining moment in PlayStation history was when we introduced the original PlayStation and shifted the consumer mindset of what they wanted from their home entertainment. Back in 1995, cartridge based consoles were the norm, and gaming experiences were confined by the amount of graphic and audio data that could fit onto a cartridge. PlayStation, with its disc based technology and powerful hardware, offered the developing community an open canvas to create masterpieces, and the whole world took notice. Right around that time, the industry was hovering at $2.6 billion in sales revenue. Today, it is up to over $20 billion, and it’s clear that PlayStation significantly impacted that growth; and it all started in 1995 with the original PlayStation.
How does it feel to be associated with a company that has truly changed the landscape of gaming?
As a PlayStation employee, it makes me proud to be part of a company that is always pushing innovation in both gaming and in home entertainment. When I look back, many of the technical innovations that we’ve incorporated into our consoles, from CDs in PS1, to PS2 being a primary DVD player for millions of households and then repeating that feat with PS3 and Blu-ray, it’s clear that we helped to make the video game console a primary home entertainment system. Looking forward, on the cusp of the PlayStation Move launch, we have another gaming medium that has the potential to permanently change the developers and gamers landscape.
How did PlayStation celebrate the 15 year anniversary?
To celebrate, we created a few fun items to tell our story like the PlayStation Timeline and Fun Facts infographics, which you previously covered, and we also shared some anniversary thoughts on our blog:
For our fans we took the celebration a step further and created free downloadable PS3 & PSP static themes (found at PlayStation Store), we are rolling out weekly discounts on select PS One titles within the PlayStation15th anniversary collection page, and then a very cool PlayStation Home commemorative Original PlayStation (PS One) ornament for fans to add into their personal spaces.
Sony has had to overcome a lot of challenges to become a leader in the gaming space. What do you think was the most significant hurdle?
There are always hurdles in successful businesses, products and brands, and of course we’ve faced our share. The beauty of our story is that despite the challenges we’ve encountered, we have continued and persevered. PlayStation was the leading console for over two consecutive generations, which has never happened before. The industry remains very fickle, and PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Network are hitting their stride, but there’s still a long way to go in our 10 year lifecycle for PS3.
While it has not been easy for the industry overall, recently we’ve been able to grow our install base and we just posted our 13th consecutive month of year-over-year growth for PS3. We’ve always wanted to empower consumers with a good quality product value that constantly pushes the envelope of innovation and an array of options for seemingly endless convenient content, and we continue to focus on that objective.
Cloud computing and digital distribution could be the future of gaming. Where do you personally see the PlayStation in the next 15 years?
Digital distribution is on the rise, in particular with the younger generation, but it’s not for everyone. We will continue to work closely with our retailers to enable them to offer our content of games, movies, exclusives whatever the medium of purchase.
While it’s very difficult to predict what’s going to happen, in the next 15 years I think that we will see a much deeper, engaging and connected experience. If there’s ever been an industry that’s been able to turn on a dime, and not only keep up with pop culture trends, but drive them, it is this industry. With all that we have on the horizon, and our heritage for really driving industry trends and innovation, I can’t wait to experience the next 12 months, let alone the next 15 years.
PlayStation Lifestyle would like to thank Patrick Seybold for taking the time to talk with us despite his busy schedule, and to Gina von Esmarch, without her coordination and scheduling this interview would not have been possible.
How has the PlayStation brand impacted you in the past 15 years? Reminisce in the comments below.