How do you feel PS3 is faring against the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii?
I think that PS3, PS2 and PSP are all entertainment platforms so I feel that our competition is not Microsoft or Nintendo, but basically any form of entertainment that is competing for the consumers’ attention. So we need to make sure we offer the most compelling entertainment – not video game entertainment but entertainment in general.
I can’t speak for their strategy but I like to think that we’ve got a very well balanced portfolio of hardware with PS3, PSP and you can’t discount the PS2.
We’ve got a lot of titles, like Buzz and SingStar, which I would consider ‘casual gaming’. Given the fact the console is so affordable, and there are so many games for PS2, we have a product for that market. Obviously we have the PS3 as well so we have a very well rounded hardware portfolio.
There’s been a lot of talk from you guys about online – does this mean you’re scaling back your commitment to retail?
I think the relationships we have with retail in all of our markets are very important and that’s something that we are going to make sure we keep intact. We need to have that relationship with retailers because you might be able to download a game but you can’t download a console.
You re-affirmed your belief that PS3 could have a ten-year lifecycle – how do you think you’ll be able to achieve this?
I think you’ve seen the strategy we’ve undertaken in years past with the original PlayStation, and certainly with the PS2.
As you progress through the years you have different kinds of games that come out. Like, for example, we’re now moving into social gaming with the PlayStation 3; we didn’t have that last year. So as you increase the installed base you want to widen the demographic.
You have SingStar, Buzz, and you migrate as the installed base grows. Having said that, you want to make sure you don’t alienate the core gamers, which has always been a key part of the PlayStation consumer base. So we’ll continue to make sure that we make games for core gamers too. Basically what it comes down to is, as you increase the installed base, you have a wider range of games that appeal to an ever widening range of consumers.
There was an apology for the delay of Home in your speech – has Sony adopted a more humble approach these days than it used to?
Well I think the fact of the matter is I’m the one that said at the Tokyo Game Show that Home would be ready in spring. It wasn’t ready in spring, so instead of me coming out and trying to spin it, basically I wanted to say sorry for not meeting the commitment that I personally made – but here’s why: I want to ensure that I’m happy with Home, as do the people that are working so hard to make it into their vision. I don’t want to put it out before everybody is happy. If it takes me having to apologise, so be it.
There was also a lot of praise in the speech for your third party partners – why was that?
As I mentioned at the Tokyo Game Show, PS3 is first and foremost a video games console. As a video game console, we need content for it. First party can’t do all the heavy lifting. We need to really have the third parties engaged and develop for the PS3 – in order to do that, we need open dialogue with them and the development community.
I think you’ve seen some of the things we’ve done, like lowering the cost of the dev kits, and also coming out with tools that improve the productivity and efficiency of the third parties. So things are moving in the right direction and that’s why we’re starting to see some great titles coming from third parties.
I also think the other thing was that there was some confusion as to what PS3 was initially – some of the third parties didn’t understand so they wanted to scale back a little and see how things went before they really put in their resources. But I made it loud and clear when I re-positioned the PS3 as a video games console that everybody got that message loud and clear.