May 2nd, 2013, 00:28 Posted By: wraggster
We speak to Shuhei Yoshida on a Friday evening as he sits in his office on the 16th floor of Sony’s corporate headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The office working environment changed dramatically when the company relocated from Aoyama, Tokyo, to this building a couple of years ago. The 1,000 or so employees of SCEI, which has led PS4’s development, were spread across 17 floors in the old building, but are now crammed into just two, with roughly 500 to a floor. Each room feels as big as a football field, with no high partitions, and you can see from end to end.Yoshida doesn’t mind the layout feeling crammed. He found it a chore to take the stairs and elevators between all those floors in the old building anyway. The new setup is more efficient – he can walk the floor and have quick chats with numerous different people. The new office also gives SCEI better access to other parts of the company. “We are very popular here,” says Yoshida proudly. “Many different Sony groups and people want to work with us, so that’s great. It helps with collaboration.” And nothing pleases Shuhei Yoshida more than collaboration. For him, it’s at the heart of the whole PS4 project.Can you take us back to the beginnings of PS4 – was there a specific decision made that started that process, or a person who decided it was time to start that process?As soon as we launch a platform we have small number of tech people move on to planning for the next. So I’m sure it was the same for PS3. You know PS3 is now [on sale since] 2006 so as soon as it launched I’m sure some parts of the company, especially those hardware people who work in R&D and the semi-conductor [area] must have started the R&D effort. And 2008, as Mark mentioned in the New York event, was the time when the initial project was formed, not by just the R&D people but including different parts of the larger, more cross-sectional team.Up to PS3, the development was pretty much done by the hardware group in Tokyo. And the keys had been given [to us, after that project], so to speak. So it was Kaz who succeeded Kutaragi-san in 2006, who decided the process had to change. And he trusted the hardware team here to start involving the software team of Worldwide Studios. That was about the time we started another project, PS Vita, as well. So PS Vita was a shorter project compared to PS4 but Mark [Cerny], both Mark and Worldwide Studios were involved in both projects and we worked on both projects simultaneously.
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