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Sony's Tretton: 'Disappointed' In Multiplatform  FFXIII  Through MS' 'Currying Favor'
Sony's Tretton: 'Disappointed' In Multiplatform FFXIII Through MS' 'Currying Favor' Exclusive
July 17, 2008 | By Christian Nutt, Staff

July 17, 2008 | By Christian Nutt, Staff
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    23 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



Speaking at a roundtable Q&A attended by Gamasutra, Sony's Jack Tretton has been discussing Final Fantasy XIII's move from a PlayStation 3 exclusive to a multiplatform title, suggesting Microsoft has spent most of their money "trying to curry favor with third parties".

When asked whether he was disappointed about the surprise announcement that the game would also debut on Xbox 360 in the West, Tretton noted: "I guess disappointed is clearly an appropriate term."

Tretton then launched into invective discussing Sony's decision to concentrate heavily on internal development, noting that it constituted "over half of our employee base all over the world", and adding that "...we've built up our base and that's where we've chosen to spend our dollars."

However, he warned: "I think Microsoft has spent the majority of their money on trying to curry favor with third parties" - implying that Final Fantasy XIII moving to multiplatform was more of a Microsoft-subsidized decision than one guided purely by sales reasons.

Tretton concluded: "I think software companies look and say 'there's no check big enough for us to do exclusive development' ...I think it's going to be harder and harder to have third-party exclusives as we move forward."

[UPDATE: Gamasutra now has a full write-up of Tretton's roundtable Q&A, including lots more detail on the state of the PlayStation Portable, the PS3 as a Blu-ray player as opposed to a game console, and much more.]


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Comments


Matt Ponton
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I don't get it. One minute he's saying Microsoft threw their money at Square to get them to multiplatform (but not in the region they need the most). Then the next he says that 3rd parties say 'there's no check big enough for us to do exclusive development.'

Christian Nutt
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I think the meaning behind that is twofold --



- there's no check big enough which Sony is willing to write

- there's no check big enough to go EXCLUSIVE. Square Enix is not going exclusive with FF13; they're going multi. There's too much of an install base on both pieces of hardware in 2008, for the situation to persist.

Anonymous
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The PS2 basically won its generation by having a ton of great exclusives. MS is trying to do that for itself. Tretton just comes off as a sore loser here, crying that the opponent is using "cheap" moves. This is a half step above just shouting "REPORTED 4 HAX" at them.

Kevin Keathley
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That's funny coming from Sony, seeing as how that's exactly how they've been reported to have won the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Format war. They spent more than Toshiba, and both played that game.

Logan Foster
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Cudos to Microsoft for realizing that people want to see Final Fantasy games on the 360 and throwing enough money to not only solve the problem in the short term, but the long term as well. Gamers want these games, MS wants more sales in Japan and to court Japanese developers. So all in all its a real win-win situation for everyone but Sony.



I am willing to bet that heads will roll at Sony over the loss of this exclusivity as it will probably deeply impact the PS3s ability to meet target sales goals and catch up in this round of the 'console wars'. Sony honestly should have locked this puppy up with an iron-clad 'PS3 only' guarentee and played to win, instead of playing on the hopes that the mythical features of Bluray saving their bacon.

John Johnson
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But L Foz, this move will do nothing for them in Japan as the deal to come to the 360 does not include Japan. FFXIII is still a PS3 exclusive in Japan and will sell bopth software and hardware units accordingly (read: like mad).



But yes, Microsoft has LOADS of money to throw at third-party devs whereas Sony has incredibly talented first-party game makers to utilize without having to shell out the kind of money that Microsoft has been lately.

Etienne Christophe
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It amazes me how a grown adult, working in a PR position, feels the need to take cheap shots at a competitor. Lord knows Sony isn't above greasing palms with cash to get their way. My company has been the recipient of Sony Plasma TV's to push some of their other products. I can only impagine how far they went to win the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war.



How much money do you think Sony paid Konami to keep MGS4 exclusive?



Also, seeing how Square-Enix's stock rose 5% on the news of the 360 port, It's hard to argue that SE needed a lot of convincing in the first place.



I guess Tretton thinks Microsoft can single-handedly manipulate the Japanese stock market as well.

Steve Watkins
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I love the management at Sony. They crack me up every time they open their mouths! We understand Execs can't admit gaffs and give props to the competition ... but they take it the extra mile !



Tretton whining about M$ doing the exact same things Sony has done. Stringer - CEO Stringer - spinning the Nintendo angle so he looks like he has no grasp of reality. This is classic stuff! You'll all be sorry when they get fired ! You have to go back to the Tramiel Family for stuff this funny.



Stringer / Tretton - Keep it coming guys! I love it !

Anonymous
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Sony spokesmen always come off like sore losers when they talk about the competition. Like somehow Microsoft is now a big jerk who takes Sony's lunch money for leveraging the obvious benefits a multiplatform Final Fantasy would bring for them. If it's such an issue for Sony, then maybe they should have put more effort into securing their interests instead of calling "cheap shot" when someone does better than them at the game they're both playing.



What Sony needs to do is stop pretending like they're still on top of the industry, stop pushing new software that's more gimmicky than useful (Home, anyone?), and get some fresh, exclusive IP that will get the consumers interested again.

Anonymous
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Tretton is just speaking the truth. Seriously, how could Star Ocean 4 become the 360 exclusive? It would make sense if the Wii was getting the game but it's xbox360, the least sold console in Japan. Square Enix will realize how stupid they are, when even they can't move units on the xbox360 in Japan. and more than likely will lose may Japanese fans.

Anonymous
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Final Fantasy XIII isn't even coming out on the 360 in Japan, so clearly this is a move targeted at "where the money's at" alone, and not some ploy to push consoles in Japan. Microsoft knows that since it's on the PS3, it would just sell on that system if both options were available to Japanese consumers.



For Tretton to say he's "disappointed in multiplatform FFXIII through MS 'Currying Favor'" is just Sony trying to pretend like "they've still got it" and deny the actual truth: they dropped the ball on this one.

Christopher Plummer
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I'd be disappointed too. A game that was supposed to be taking advantage of the PS3 hardware is coming out even later than anyone expected in the 2 most contested territories. To put salt on the wound it was confirmed that its base platform is the PC and that SIXAXIS and other PS3 specific gameplay were never included. Pretty telling that this has been in the works for awhile.



IMO, everyone loses. By the time this game hits the US, the number of 1st party games making full use of Blu-ray and the Cell in their 2nd and 3rd PS3 games, will make Square's first PS3 game (PORT) feel a bit lackluster in comparison for PS3 players.



Microsoft's expected console lifetime is at 4 years, thank to the XBOX precedent and the Wii's continued dominance, and they are already in year 3. FFXIII didn't give a Japanese release date yet so Holiday 2009 or 2010 doesn't seem too far off from the mark for US release. Which means Microsoft will already be moving on to their nextBox when the game is ready.

Matt Ponton
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Lots of assumptions on their console life Chris. Going merely by the life of the late-to-debut Xbox isn't a good measurement.

Christopher Plummer
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Matt, I agree that I am assuming. But I'm just going based off of their history in consoles. Sure the 360 is selling better than the XBOX was at the same point; although a 5 million unit difference isn't too spectacular considering they were first to launch and the market is bigger. But when you add in that the Wii is doing better than the PS2 was at the same point and that the PS3 has gained a lot of ground in sales, and finally that Microsoft decided to change up their console image at this E3 then I can't help but think I'm not too far off the mark.



My point is that at E3 2010 (May), if there is still an E3, I expect to see the hardware makers announcing details about their next hardware offerings. A FFXIII US release date at this same event will annoy me in the same way FFXII did. Sure, I get a good game but it feels dated and it won't have the same impact on the industry that FFVII did because of it.

Benjamin M
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Chris < Based off their history in consoles? You mean console don't you? I highly doubt Microsoft will ever undergo a 4 year console cycle ever again. The average has always been about 5 years and as technology progresses we've been seeing them extend beyond that. I can't speculate why they had such a short life-cycle their first go round, but the original Xbox still had plenty of potential left in it. Microsoft at this point will AT LEAST do a 5 - 6 year cycle on the 360. PC technology has evolved, but not enough to render new console hardware. They can't justify the need for a GPU upgrade because in this "HD Era", you're not going to much better than this for awhile, IMO. I say we see the next X in 2011.

Matt Ponton
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We must be disagreeing then about what the "change [to] their console image" does. To me, it seems like it's a restart (second chance), not a sign of death.

Daniel Lam
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I think that with today's demands for high-end graphics, it is becoming exceedingly difficult for developers and publishers to meet that demand profitably.



Production values have gone up so much for top-tier 3rd party developers that the risk becomes incredibly high. Reducing that risk any way possible is in the industry's interest at this point.



Rehashed formulas were one way, now multi-platform "more bang for buck" is another way.



The only group of people that exclusives benefit are the console manufacturers. Nobody else. A developer would want to see increased sales anyway.



So in a way, it's true, especially when it comes to royalties - no check is big enough for exclusivity.

Benjamin M
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You can bet your bottom dollar that Microsoft and Sony both will have next generation consoles for tomorrow and beyond. This industry produces too much money for them not to create next gen consoles. I don't think Nintendo could manage to deliver the hardcore content that hardcore gamers need, so there's be a whole untapped market out there. Even if it isn't Microsoft or Sony that steps up to the plate then somebody will. I'm all for seeing Sega make a hardware comeback. That would be friggin' GREAT!

Benjamin M
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*Oops typo!



You can bet your bottom dollar that Microsoft and Sony both will have next generation consoles for tomorrow and beyond. This industry produces too much money for them not to create next gen consoles. I don't think Nintendo could manage to deliver the hardcore content that hardcore gamers need, so there would be an untapped market out there. Even if it isn't Microsoft or Sony that steps up to the plate then somebody will. I'm all for seeing Sega make a hardware comeback. That would be friggin' GREAT!

Anonymous
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I had my first look at the PS3 over the weekend, and frankly the network components are embarrassingly bad. Clearly Sony either took no time or effort to make them usable, or they did put the effort in but failed miserably.



The funniest thing here, though, is that throwing their money around "currying favor with 3rd parties" is exactly how Sony initially bought themselves a place at the video game table battling against Sega and Nintendo, so to hear this guy complain about Microsoft doing it now is laughably hypocritical. You're the ones who showed Microsoft it was a viable tactic in the first place, Sony. As you sow, so shall you reap....

Joel Ford
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the network components are bad....in which way now? you mean...the store? or...the chat...? or...messaging? or....media server access? these are all very easy to use, if your thumbs are working. the only thing lacking for me is the ability to easily send group messages.



i think he's just upset because Sony doesn't have the money to throw around for games anymore, they've got to use their resources wisely.

i think the fact that FFXIII Versus is still exclusive will do a lot to keep playstation final fantasy fans loyal, so no one's really been screwed here.

Ryan Schaefer
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I think Tretton is right on the money. 3rd party exclusives are already a lot harder to find than they were just a few years ago and that's not likely to change.



I also don't think MS had to throw around a lot of cash to secure this; the people who come out ahead here are gamers and Square-Enix who just netted a 200% increase in their consumer base in North America. Keeping the game PS3 exclusive would mean deliberately throwing away revenue from AT LEAST another million or three copies of the game that the 360 version will sell.



If the 360 version out performs the PS3 one, then I think this will get interesting.

Anonymous
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well, I only looked at it for about 20 minutes, and I don't have it here in front of me, but are you kidding me? it's a usability nightmare. there's no consistency in the interface whatsoever (this screen uses the dpad, that one the analog stick, this button does one thing on this screen and another on a different screen, etc.), once you've selected to download something you have to go somewhere entirely different to view its progress or cancel it, the browser is an absolute farce ("yes, I would like to use the plugin to view this video, just like the last dozen times you asked me!!!"), there's nothing even approaching a tutorial for using any of it... and that's after just 20 minutes! I have no idea how they expect newcomers to be able to figure the damn thing out and use it. It's called USABILITY! Look into it!


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