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Sony CEO on PlayStation 4: Gamers come first

Unlike Microsoft's Xbox One pitch as a device for all, Sony's Kazuo Hirai tells the D11 crowd that the PS4 will be first and foremost a gamers' console.

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai speaks at the company's Tokyo headquarters on May 22.

In sharp contrast to Microsoft's vision of the Xbox One as a device for everyone, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is pitching his company's PlayStation 4 as a device first and foremost for gamers.

"The most important thing we need to make sure we do at least initially is that we all agree and understand that the PS4 is a great video game console that appeals to video gamers," Hirai said at the D11 conference Thursday, according to AllThingsD's Ina Fried. "If we miss that part than I don't think we get the initial establishment of the console."

The PS4, set to come out this fall, will have non-game applications, Hirai added. But the company won't highlight those at launch, Hirai said.

He also noted a change in Sony's retail efforts, including the addition of smaller-format stores and kiosks, according to Fried.

San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York joined Hirai onstage to tout the Sony gear that will fill the new stadium being built for the team in the heart of Silicon Valley. The aim is for the stadium -- set to open in 2014 -- to connect fans who come out to the game in far more ways than the typical big screens.

"We want to be a software-driven stadium, not a hardware-driven stadium," York said, according to VentureBeat's Dylan Tweney, who as at the conference. "We want to build out the infrastructure so you can plug into the stadium any way you want," York said.

On the mobile front, Hirai said that while Sony has been successful in rebuilding its phone business around the globe, its U.S. efforts remain a work in progress. And to a question about when higher-resolution 4K television will take off, Hirai said it will be awhile.

"It will take time, just like HD didn't happen overnight," he noted, according to Fried, saying it was the work of content producers, device makers and others. "That's exactly what happened with color television."

Hirai was the last speaker at D11. Click here for more coverage.