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Junji Shouda discusses PSN

Sony online head things the term "online game" is a thing of the past.

 

4gamer posted an interview today with Sony Computer Entertainment's Junji Shouda. Shouda is head of Sony's domestic strategy for PSN and recently discussed the service during a lecture at the OGC 2009 event.

There wasn't really anything big said in the interview, but here's a quick summary:

[end_p text="Continue reading for a full summary of the Junji Shouda interview" /]

Shouda came to Sony after having worked at Electronic Arts' Japanese branch and on the Japanese management of Ultima Online. He joined Sony after being asked by SCE Japan president Shawn Layden to help him make the PlayStation's network service more robust. He first took the helm around March 2008.

The 1.9 million PSN account figure disclosed by Shouda at the OGC 2009 event includes both PSP and PS3 accounts (this is also true for the 2 million figure Sony later formally announced for the service). Shouda would not break down the figure between platforms. He did admit that PS3 users are still main, though.

On Ad-Hoc Party, Shouda said that real work on the project started around the beginning of 2008. Even prior to this, though, there had been an internal theme at Sony about promoting PS3 and PSP connectivity.

The response to the Final Fantasy XIII promotion movie was "Extremely huge," said Shouda. 4gamer asked if downloads of the trailer topped a million, but Shouda said that because its content from another maker, he couldn't give an exact number.

4gamer also noted that despite the obvious interest in the trailer, the PSN service did not see any major hiccups. Shouda responded that this is due to Sony having two years experience with the service and having built up a stable infrastructure. "We have confidence in this area," he said.

Asked about the difference between managing a consumer service like PlayStation Network and a PC online service like Ultima Online, Shouda said, "At the fundamental level, I don't think there's too big a difference. I get the feeling that perhaps PSN has more light users, but I don't feel there's a difference in what's wanted."

One difference he would mention is security. PSN security is comparatively high.

Touching in a similarity between PSN and other online services, Shouda said that the operators of these services all have access to a large amount of data and can see things like what interface changes lead to more logins, what promotions had a big effect, and so-forth. He admitted that the current PSN service isn't "the best," but said that by using figures like these, Sony's staff is working daily to improve the service.

The 4gamer interviewer pointed out one feature of PSN that he likes. The Game Archives download service now lists in each game's description the events that were happening at the time of release, both in the game industry and around the world. This idea came from a female staffer whom Shouda refers to as the "Life of the Game Archives."

Switching on to Home, while Shouda announced a 350,000 domestic user figure for the service in his OGC speech, he would not give an actual "active user" figure. Regarding the future direction of the service, he'd only say, "We'll take a variety of challenges."

The conversation closed off with Shouda suggesting that online support has become such an obvious feature for games that the term "online game" will be a thing of the past, much like the term "3D game" is no longer used.

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