You started your Games Convention conference by talking about ‘losers becoming winners’ – could you explain what exactly you were referring to?
I was talking more about the industry – I think the industry in general has not been viewed in a good light. I remember when I joined the company in ’95 – Nintendo were here and Sega were here and it was a struggle.
So what we’re doing is opening up the market and whereas before gamers were seen a little bit like losers, now they aren’t. Now people say ‘can I come to your house and play SingStar,’ or ‘can I come to your house and play Wii Fit’ – it’s true. I think that the video games industry is now a winner. That was the intention.
PSP 3000 was a big surprise – are you happy with how the console is performing, and do you feel that the success of DS has meant that people have overlooked PSP’s solid hardware sales record?
Yeah I think there is that perception, but I think you can also see the smile on our faces when we talk about what we’re offering at this price and the games that are available. We’re very, very happy and comfortable with our PSP business.
And I don’t think we’re necessarily in the shadow of DS – they have different types of games and we have a different positioning for PSP which is not just about gaming, but Go Explore and everything else that comes with it.
So we’re very very happy with its progress and the more and more we go to publishers with it the more they are coming on board.
Another PS3 SKU was revealed too – is this going to be the last time you tweak your hardware offering?
To make it clear we’re making the transition from the 40GB to the 80GB. The 160GB is a limited edition that we’re doing to see how it goes in all the territories because if you look on your site, people are responding to the news by saying ‘I want a 500GB PS3′ and then other people saying that ‘I haven’t filled up any of my hard drive’. You’ve also got to remember that hard drives worldwide are a commodity.
To answer your question – that is the line-up for the year.
What are your thoughts on the current trade show situation? Is Europe now the priority in terms of making announcements given what we’ve seen at E3 and Leipzig?
I was not negative about E3 – I quite liked it, I found it actually very civilised. I think E3 will re-invent itself and wherever it will be I think it will become bigger. I can really only talk about what we’ve done here – we were here at Leipzig at the very inception when it was a German show.
It’s suddenly become more important because people realise that once they get here and find a hotel it’s actually a great show; it’s real gamers getting real hands-on time. Leipzig itself has its limitations logistically in terms of getting here and the number of hotels. I don’t know what the numbers will be this year, maybe 200,000. Cologne will double that. It will be around 400,000 in its first year.
I’m not saying Cologne will be the big worldwide show – E3 will re-generate itself. I think what you’re going to find is that there will be four: E3, one in Europe, Tokyo Games Show and another big one in the far east. I know the Leipziger Messe organisation are putting something on there. Don’t underestimate how big that market could be.
I really don’t think we should have just one big show – I think it’s important to have different types of shows through the year – there’s not just one big motor show, after all.
Is there any update on Home?
There is no new news, and it’s completely on track. The closed beta has just ended and the open beta will launch in Autumn. Now when that will be announced, I’m not actually sure – we just didn’t have anything new to announcce here. But it’s all on track and we have lots of third parties on board.
Sony has said in the past that PS3 has had a difficult birth – do you feel you are up to full speed with the console now?
I think that now we have established the hardware, we know what the price is this Christmas – I don’t think we’ll change it around – and we know which bundles are out. But more importantly, we have our landing lights all lined up – we’ve had GT5 Prologue, GTA IV and Metal Gear Solid, then we have LittleBigPlanet, Resistance, MotorStorm, Pro Evolution Soccer, FIFA, Smackdown, Call of Duty and many more until we get to Killzone and at the end of next year Heavy Rain.
We’re very clearly on the rails. I think it is very clear with consumers that they have game after game after game coming. And then there’s the sprinkles on top with the music services and then, next year, the video downloads service.