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PlayStation turns 20: Sony exec talks PlayStation's past, future, and relationship to PC and mobile gaming

John Gaudiosi | Dec. 5, 2014
As the PlayStation brand celebrates its 20th anniversary, Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida reminisces on 20 years of Sony video games.

How have you seen the importance of story evolve in video games, especially on the PS3 and PS4?
The game teams are hiring lots of people from industries that can introduce special knowledge and capabilities to make games better. There are a lot of similarities with the movie industry because the tech in the 3D graphics and using motion capture and computer graphics. There are lots of people who are good at directing the cut scenes and creating life-like computer graphics characters. Now we're able to make use of these Hollywood techniques to create stories in our games on PS4 in real-time.

A good example is The Last of Us, which came out last year on PS3 and is now available on PS4. Over the course of the PS3 period, developer Naughty Dog continued to develop and improve performance capture, creating stories that you play instead of just watch, and make people feel about the characters that you are playing with. I bet there will be more and more game developers that will introduce stories as an important element of the interactive experience, and a lot of developers are getting better at doing so.

last of us 100164833 gallery
Naughty Dog's The Last of Us is a zombie game that gives you feels, in no small part due to the terrific acting of the lead characters.

What role do you see performance capture technology playing in bringing these stories to life in games?
Performance capture, as a technique, has improved with the PS4. Developers are now using actors' voices and acting and facial acting at the same time, and it shows a clear difference in the clarity when we used to capture one person at a time and we just record voices after the fact, or we used to animate facial expressions after the fact compared to now.

We have the group of actors spend time doing rehearsal before they go into the motion capture to understand the emotions of characters in that particular scene, and develop the rapport among these actors so that they can bring out their emotions through the capture session. That shows in the final game. This tech is well understood and shared among the studios in the industry and it just gets better and better.

What do you feel is the secret ingredient to the success of console games even with the proliferation of mobile devices and affordable gaming PCs over the last few years?
ps4 vs ps1
The 20th Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4 (left) next to the PlayStation One (right).


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