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Kaz Hirai: "Thank you Microsoft"

Sony chief thanks MS for paving the way forward online - where he believes PS3 and PSP will ultimately take the laurels

Sony America's Kaz Hirai has gone on the post-E3 record with US newspaper the Mercury news, and chief amongst his musings on the next-gen battle is an acknowledgement that Microsoft has led the way into online, preparing gamers for what the PS3 will eventually be able to offer.

Although it's widely conceded that Microsoft has built a significant advantage with its Live service which is now to be extended through Live Anywhere to embrace 360, PC and next-gen mobile phones, Hirai seemed unperturbed by MS's lead. When questioned, Hirai seemed blissfully unconcerned saying, "Thank you, Microsoft, for helping us in taking consumers online."

Hirai continued, "The most important thing for us is to make sure online is an integral part of the experience. It's not a 'nice to have' feature. It enables new businesses. But we do want to make sure that we have the content for both online and offline."

Hirai seemed equally not bovvered about the concept behind Live Anywhere, implying that Sony's PS3 and PSP connectivity combo would be a superior offering due to the PSP's natural advantages over mobile phones. Hirai said of Live Anywhere, "The more interesting play for me is connectivity with portable devices. That means interaction with the PlayStation Portable and the PS3. Cell phones are not primarily designed for entertainment. We can make the PSP and the PS3 work together. That's a step up in entertainment and a new value to offer the consumer."

Despite Hirai's bullish predictions, can Sony's PS3 and PSP combo take a significant chunk of the next-gen online gaming business? We'd be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments field below.