In an interview with Industrygamers.com, Sony’s Worldwide Studios VP Scott Rohde says that there is a huge confidence from within Sony that the PS3 and the latest tech thats associated with it, the Playstation Move and 3D gaming will excel the company to the heights they strive for.
He talks about various subjects including Sony’s competition the Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the momentum that he hopes we will see from all of our partners in the industry at retail and third party partners. Check out the full interview below –
IG: In terms of the handheld competition, have you seen or played around with the 3DS?
SR: I haven’t been able to touch it at all.
IG: What are your thoughts about the 3DS, just having seen the announcement then?
SR: To me, I love how the industry evolves. People come up with new ideas. It’s an interesting idea for a technology. I’m, personally, very curious to see how it takes hold with the marketplace, whether people are into that experience or whether it’s just a little too foreign to them. It’s going to be a great experiment.
IG: I’m kind of curious, because obviously you guys are the ones pushing 3D, so I’m wondering maybe the next thing for PSP is to also go 3D?
SR: No, no plans for that. But again you mentioned what Sony does when you sat in the press conference, there’s so much. There’s so many different things. We just chose to focus on the big 3D in the home. Again as you pointed out, as a larger corporate initiative, it’s important to us to push that out there and be on the bleeding edge of it. That’s the focus for this show.
IG: It seems like you guys are banking on the fact that a number of consumers are going to actually upgrade to 3D televisions, and when you factor in the glasses that are like $100 or $150 a pair, it seems like a very, very expensive proposition for the average consumer. Is that a concern for Sony, in terms of the actual 3D initiative?
SR: Not a concern. It’s a strategy. The best thing I can relate this to is the Blu-ray launch. I think this is like a rewind for me, a lot of the same questions, where people were saying, “I’ve got a huge DVD collection; why would I upgrade to a new type of media?” And someone has to push it out there to show it’s a superior technology and to show that it can achieve widespread adoption over time. You know, Sony’s been very good at sitting on that bleeding edge and pushing out products that show that, “Hey, there’s a 3D Bravia you can buy, but it’s not just for watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs in 3D.” You can play interactive entertainment in 3D so it’s a full experience. It also goes back to the promise that [SCEA CEO] Jack [Tretton] made a few years ago about a future proof box, and the fact that 3D TVs are taking hold globally, not just from Sony, but from other manufacturers, and here we are sitting here basically saying, “I told you so.” You know, a quick software update and now your PS3 can play movies in 3D and you can experience games in 3D. So, it’s a distinct strategy that we’ve chosen to take to be on the bleeding edge and drive the market into these new experiences. So we’re not worried about quick adoption rate. We’re driving people to adopt period.
IG: In terms of the online initiative, one of the big announcements was PSN Plus. Maybe I haven’t heard enough about it yet, but from the little bit that was announced it seems that it’s not something that really justifies subscribing. Paying the fee to subscribe when you can still get online play for free doesn’t make a lot of sense. How is that taking shape, because it looks like it’s still something that’s very early stage for you guys? What is the growth plan for the actual subscription service?
SR: Well, first of all, to address some of the other comments that you made, I think that there’s a lot of content that’s offered for free when you subscribe. Not sure how much detail you heard at the conference, but there’s a couple hundred dollars worth of content over a year’s worth of subscription. There’s a lot of stuff that’s offered both in terms of some existing PSN games, and when new games come out there may be offerings that are exclusive to Plus subscribers; things like that. Whether it be avatars, or dynamic themes, or also actually DLC that directly relates to the game, it’s going to change on a monthly basis, what’s offered. So there’s a lot of actual gaming content that’s a part of that subscription. There’s also the fact that we’ll push updates to you, kind of appointment style, and I think that’s a pretty nice feature. When you really kind of take a step back and think about what the service is offering, discounts, free content, pushed services, and an evolving set of services in the future and realize that it’s three or four bucks a month, that’s pretty cheap. If you are a big PSN fan and you just want to go a little bit more and just get some more, that’s why it’s there. That’s why Jack overemphasizes the fact that were still there offering everything we always have for free because we believe that’s the right method to bring online gaming to consumers, but if you want a little bit more, if you want to be a part of the club, this new offering is out there.
IG: Right. The one thing… I’m trying to remember the exact number; I’m sure you probably have it, but the registered PSN accounts.
IG: So one thing I’m always curious about when I hear these stats about 50 million registered PSN users, and correct me if I’m wrong here, I think some people can have multiple accounts on one PS3, so it almost seems like a slightly inflated number, a little artificial inflation…
PR rep: It’s not artificially inflated. I’m sorry, Scott; I’ve got to jump in on that one because it’s a PR number. The thing that people forget is PSP is also a connected device to the network, so they just naturally assume that it’s only PS3 and the install base there, without taking into account the PSP install base. So, the number’s actually not inflated in the sense that, yes, if you have a PS3 and it’s three of us, we’re three brothers sharing one unit and we all have our own ID, yes.
SR: That’s what I was going to say. I mean even in my household, I’ve got two boys. And yeah there are three accounts on there, but we all have our own different experiences on there, and our own game saves and everything, so it’s just nice to have those separate accounts. I don’t view it as inflated.
PR: And that’s why we do say accounts. I think the thing we do need to do a better job, on my side, is making sure that everybody knows that is not just segmented for PS3, that it does actually take into account the PSP as well, because I had my PSP account name before I had my PS3 account name, and now I’ve got my debug account name. It’s a different experience, but i essentially have two accounts – one for my [PSP]go, because I couldn’t remember the password when I signed up, and one for my PS3.
SR: And, personally, I share across both because a lot of times I’ll download a PSP title on my PS3 and then just go, you know, grab it on my PSPgo.
IG: In terms of the overall console race, Sony has had a lot of good momentum ever since last September when the Slim model came out with the price reduction. How do you see the next couple of years going? There’s been speculation from some analysts that PS3 could potentially overtake Xbox 360. How confident are you as to where the PS3 is headed right now?
SR: We certainly hope that’s going to be the case. We are confident that we have a huge amount of momentum and we see that from all of our partners in the industry at retail and third party partners. The buzz is about where the PS3 is headed in the future, and I truly believe that future-proof message is a big part of that. A lot of developers, a lot of publishers out there are saying, “Wow, we like what the Move is offering, we like that you guys are on the cutting edge of 3D, so we’re going to get involved now, because when the PS3 really hits its stride we want to be there with it.” So we’re very confident that we’re in a very good spot right now. And our partners are echoing that sentiment back to us.
IG: Looking at the relations with independent developers out there, like Insomniac, which just signed a deal with EA… Was there some push from Sony to maybe get whatever that new IP is, to make it PS3 exclusive? Insomniac has been Sony exclusive for as long as I can remember.
SR: Specifically, with Insomniac, we’re still very excited about all the products that they’re planning to work with us on moving forward in the future.
IG: But they have to because those are now Sony owned IP.
SR: Yeah, but my point is more about the relationship between us and the developer. If Ted [Price] were sitting right there, he would say how excited he was about his continued work with Sony not just because he “has to” but because they’re Sony owned IP, and because he doesn’t have to. It’s a choice that he makes, he loves the relationship, he loves the amount of freedom that, strategically, Sony and Worldwide Studios has always given to developers to build the types of titles they want to build. So, that’s why he’s with us, not because he’s contractually obliged; he wants to retain this relationship. For that particular one, it’s almost a bit like a family-like relationship between Ted and all the folks at Sony, so that’s a good one.
IG: One of the other big announcements for you guys at the show seems to be more of a push for exclusive DLC. I guess the age of exclusives in this growing industry is pretty much dead. It’s very hard to get a console exclusive because developers want to be multiplatform. It’s almost like the new trend now is to get the exclusive for DLC. You guys made a few announcements at the show. How hard is Sony pushing with all the publishing partners to get all sorts of interesting DLC exclusives?
SR: That’s a mutual thing that, you know, our head of third party works out with all of our different publishers, but you’re very right; it’s proven to be a good strategy in lieu of, “Hey, can you get a full game exclusively on a platform?” It doesn’t happen as often as it used to. That’s a nice substitute and third parties are happy with it, consumers seem to be happy with it, we’re happy with it as a publisher, so we like this strategy in general.
IG: Thanks again Scott.
Thanks again to Industrygamers.com for the original article.
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