Although this year's PlayStation Experience was strongly focused on the software, including The Last of Us Part 2, Uncharted 4: Lost Legacy and even remasters of Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy, Parappa the Rappa and WipEout, the rest of the year has very much been focused on hardware.
Whether it's the pair of new consoles, the PS4 Slim and the beefed-up PS4 Pro, or even the ground-breaking PS VR headset, Sony has definitely had a busy year.
So when Digital Spy was granted an exclusive audience with Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, at PSX, we had to discuss everything hardware.
DS: The PS4 Pro appears to have had a very successful launch. Reports claim PlayStation sales in the UK have tripled and that it outsold Xbox in the US on Black Friday. Is the PS4 Pro meeting your sales expectations, or even exceeding them?
SY: Yes, it's selling very well. We were hoping that people who purchased a PS4 day one would upgrade to PS4 Pro, and people who have a 4K TV would see it as their console of choice.
We need more time to analyse the situation, but it seems that more people who are buying PS4 for the first time are choosing PS4 Pro. I think that's driving a larger demand than we had anticipated. In many markets it's sold out and hard to find.
DS: Does this open the door for more incremental hardware updates?
SY: PS4 Pro is an incremental update from a hardware standpoint, but making PS4 Pro is not an easy thing to do. We have complete compatibility; it is part of the PS4 Ecosystem. So the system is very carefully designed to maintain that one community between the standard PS4 and PS4 Pro. So we don't talk about future plans, but doing something like PS4 Pro takes a lot of effort. We are very happy with PS4 Pro, and we're happy with the reaction and analysis of the games that have already come out, analysed by lots of professional tech-driven media. So you can't just talk about numbers, you really have to see the games that are designed to work well on PS4 Pro to see the value of it.
DS: Talking of numbers, you haven't released sales figures for PSVR yet. Why is that?
SY: It's not my role to make that decision.
DS: Are you able to give a broad indication of whether PSVR has met expectations?
SY: Well, it's selling out pretty much everywhere.
DS: What have you made to its reception?
SY: Very, very strong. I couldn't be happier about the situation. I was hoping that when we launched PSVR there would be games that people could enjoy and games that took advantage of VR. I was anticipating that it would take some time for developers to experiment and understand the best uses for VR. I still believe that's the case, but even the games which have already come out – some of them are amazing to play on PSVR. So I'm very happy, and people are continuing to purchase more games for the system, so that's a very good sign.
DS: Is there anything that's surprised you about the way people are using it? Have you learned anything yet?
SY: What was surprising was the amount of time that people are spending in VR. It's kind of a strange thing to say, but because VR games can be intense, I was anticipating that people would spend some time, but not many hours in VR. But looking at the data, people are spending many hours on the system every day. So that's a great thing to know.
DS: 2017 will see the launch of another new console, Nintendo's Switch. What do you think of it, and where do you see it sitting in the console ecosystem?
SY: I think it's a very unique system. It's very interesting that they've designed the system to work well with more conventional games in terms of inputs and buttons. So I think it's good for core gamers and their marketing message focused on that.
DS: Do you still see Nintendo as competition in terms of hardware sales, or do they now exist in a completely different market?
SY: I think they're going to cover a new market for themselves.
DS: Nintendo are also making big moves into mobile gaming. Super Mario Run comes out soon and Pokemon Go was the success story of the year on mobile. Is this an area Sony will be looking to move into?
SY: Not like Nintendo is. But the mobile is a great tool to connect with our fans and might be a good place to allow new gamers – or non-gamers – to become familiar with our IP. So we will look at opportunities to make use of the device.
DS: What might those opportunities might look like?
SY: Actually, we released a mobile companion game for Uncharted 4 – it's a puzzle game you play on mobile. You can unlock items or currency to use in the main game. Things like that.
DS: But can we expect standalone games with big Sony IP?
SY: I don't think we have announced anything like that, but in the past we released a LittleBigPlanet-themed running game – that was pretty fun and was popular on mobile.
DS: So games along those lines might not be outside the realms of possibility?
SY: It's possible…