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Catching Up With PlayStation: Peter Dille On Sony In 2009
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Catching Up With PlayStation: Peter Dille On Sony In 2009

April 21, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 6 Next

This isn't really your realm, but you can probably comment on it at least a bit: In terms of developer relations, a big part of the equation is you look at some of the really successful third-party games. Some say that Fallout 3 is not as good on the PS3. Technically, sites like GameSpot claim it's inferior, and the game doesn't support DLC. Those are big hits for a game that just won the Game Developers' Choice Game of the Year Award. You don't want to see games like that handicapped, so how do you address those issues?

PD: Well, I can't speak to if the game doesn't play as well on PS3, but whenever we have a situation -- if something's not supporting our platform from a DLC perspective it certainly gets our attention. We try to work aggressively with our third-party publishing group to understand what the issue is.

Sometimes the issue is that our competition has paid people a lot of money for DLC; there's some notable titles that fall into that category. Sometimes they're things that we have to be smart about, and we're working to improve those types of situations. If our model or our platform is creating questions for publishers that they'd like to work with us in a different fashion, we want to be open to that.

The days of Sony saying, "This is the only way it's going to work; it's our way or the highway." that's not the way we want to work; we want to make sure that the publishers have an opportunity to make money on our platform, and so we want to hear their feedback. But I can't speak specifically to the Fallout situation; I'm sure that the answer is there.

As you alluded to earlier, there had been complaints about the difficulty of developing for the PlayStation 3 compared to the Xbox 360 -- or the tools not being mature compared to the 360 -- because they had a year head-start, and also because the PS3 has a very unique architecture.

PD: That's exactly right. We've tried to address the tools, and I think we'll continue to do that. I just spoke about this big studio organization; when you're specializing in PS3 development, they're coming up with some great tools and dev support. Rather than just hoard those so that our games are better than everyone else's, we're looking to release those to the community and share them so they can raise their game too.

On the network side -- again, the PlayStation Network has not been around as long as Live. There's things that we've learned since we launched; I think that the PlayStation Network is very different than it was on November 17, 2006, and it will get better a year from now as well. At this point, we think it's a great experience; it's got a wonderful content offering and user experience, but there's also things we can do better, and we're focused on that.

When I hear myself say things like that, sometimes I'm like, it sounds rehearsed, but I can tell you I spend a lot of my time working with our third-party group and our development teams and our network team obviously to improve what's going on with the network to make it better for consumers but also better for our publishers.

I guess this is kind of a different way of asking this, but this sort of comes together alluded to by some of your answers: You've said essentially that the PlayStation 3 is not going to drop in price, and there are good reasons for that. I can accept that, but how do you change the public perception and make them aware that this is actually worth what it costs?

PD: Well, what I've said is that it's not going to drop in price today, first of all.

Right, sure.

PD: I'll be candid with you. One of the things that we're spending a lot of time on is our marketing approach. The PlayStation 3 is a complicated machine that does a lot of things. What we find again and again when we do focus groups is folks don't understand everything it can do, and that's on us.

We've got got make sure people understand everything that the thing can do because if you're asking people to spend $399 for a premium piece of consumer electronics equipment, then they need to understand everything that it can do.

We're looking to change our playbook and change our advertising approach to be a little bit more explicit and specific about the hardware. The model in this business is directly software drives hardware, and I think that's still true; that's why it's important that we have those exclusive titles I just talked about. But there's something about the PS3 that requires us to educate people about the hardware itself so hardware sells hardware.

We say this a lot and we joke about it, but if we could go door-to-door and talk to every consumer and explain to them, invariably they'd kind of, "Well, gosh! Why would I buy something else?" The conversation flips, and no longer is it a discussion about price being a concern; it becomes the value inherent in the device even at its $399 price point.

When they understand Blu-ray and a hard drive and Wi-Fi included and free online access, again you stack those up to the competition and what you have to pay extra for versus the PS3 -- a light bulb goes off.

It's hard to include all that into a 30 second commercial. I think the marketing that we've done to date hasn't really hit the mark; we're going to try to do a better job of that going forward, and I think you'll see created from us this year that reflects a different approach.

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