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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 6 of 6

Yeah, I think you're probably going to be made fun of for the rest of the system's lifespan for babies crying oil. [laughter] It was like, what? But whatever; live and learn.

So what we haven't talked about really much at all is the PlayStation Portable. The thing that's always been very confusing for me, at least, is that the system sells well all the time -- it's selling better -- you never see software in the top 10. Ever. Can you give any insight into that?

PD: Yeah. I'm glad you brought up PSP because it's another platform that we're very excited about. We actually spent a lot of time at Destination PlayStation talking about the PSP and the big year it has in store for it.

To talk about the software picture, I want to go in the wayback machine for a minute, 18 months or so. Prior to the PSP-2000 getting introduced and the resultant surge in sales from a hardware perspective, it's safe to say that most third-parties were just about ready to jump off the cliff and pull support for the platform.

We spent a lot of time over the last 18 months evangelizing the platform, helping them understand what types of games make sense because there was a perception that -- because the PSP was so close in architecture to the PS2 that you could do a port.

Consumers don't want ports on a portable system; they want a different game. A lot of these people owned PS2s as well, too, and they didn't just want one for home and one to go; they want a different experience. That was something that we didn't do a good enough job of explaining at the outset; once we did start to explain that third-parties got on board.

But in 2008, the development pipeline was such that those titles weren't showing up yet; they're going to show up in 2009. We were talking to retail about -- we spent a lot of time with the third parties in advance at DPS even though it's not a PR event; we wanted to make sure we cleared the decks.

Because we usually can't announce our third-party publishers' titles for them, but we wanted to make sure in February that they weren't saving these announcements for E3 because the retailers needed to understand what was coming and the fruits of our labor. Another long answer, but it was a complicated problem because of the development timeframes.

This year I think you're going to see one of the best years on the PSP from a software perspective that we've ever had, and I think we'll have games like Dissidia [Final Fantasy], Assassin's Creed, Rock Band... again, I should go on and on about some great, great support for PSP.

We didn't have those games last year, and I hope that if we're sitting here next year -- let's make a date of it -- that we're having a different conversation about the performance of the PSP. There's another aspect, though, that I want to touch on, and it's something that we're very concerned about and spending a lot of time thinking about, which is piracy --

Sure, you beat me to it. [laughs]

PD: I'm convinced and we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP. It's been a problem that the industry has to address together; it's one that I think the industry takes very seriously, but we need to do something to address this because it's criminal what's going on, quite frankly.

It's not good for us, but it's not good for the development community. We can look at data from BitTorrent sites from the day Resistance: Retribution goes on sale and see how many copies are being downloaded illegally, and it's frankly sickening. We are spending a lot of time talking about how we can deal with that problem.

Sony's Resistance: Retribution

It's a difficult problem to solve because the hardware's fundamentally on the market and has sold millions. So even if there's a solution, there's 50 million potentially compromised units out there already.

PD: Those numbers are correct. There's a lot of hardware out there; toothpaste is out of the tube. We're not going to get that hardware back into the toothpaste container.

But hopefully we can have a multi-pronged approach -- it's going to require legal; it's going to require education. I think gamers, if they understood if this meant that a platform would go away, can we convince gamers to pay for their content?

I'm not naive, but I do think that most people are inherently honest. We learned a lot from the music business, and it became so easy and so common to download illegal music -- everyone was doing it. It's almost like people lost sight with the fact that, well, "If everyone's doing it, then it can't be that bad."

But, it actually is bad; it's bad for the platform. Again, I'm not saying that that's a magic wand; I think that we have to make sure from a technological perspective that it's not as easy as it is to do that.

If you look at some of the games from last year from PSP, they did sell well -- Crisis Core and God of War, I think, are probably the two big examples of successful games on the platform. Is there something that you see in those games that is a lesson?

PD: Absolutely. It goes back to this to show, games that were made specifically for the platform... Gamers will respond to things that they like, and if something's good enough they're going to go out and spend money for it. So the first job is to make sure you make a great game.

I think, again, whether it's Rock Band on the PSP -- which is such a terrific adaptation of that IP for the PSP platform -- Assassin's Creed, Dissidia... There's just some really, really great stuff coming that I think will show off the platform very well, and I would expect those titles to sell very well.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

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steve roger
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"The fact that every PlayStation 3 has a hard drive, and the DLC -- our competition doesn't have that type of environment where every unit has a hard drive. Those types of differentiating factors are a big deal when we're talking about some of the co-marketing."

Does he think that everyone is so stupid that we would find such an argument persuasive? Let's see, a lot more 360s have been sold with hardrives than PS3s. There are many more users of Xbox Live than PSN. So how is the fact that EVERY PS3 has a hard drive and the DLC a big differentiating factor? What an a**hole.

Christian Nutt
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@Edgar -- Maybe you shouldn't take it so personally.

Rob Bergstrom
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Completely unreasonable flame comment, Edgar. What's the big deal? We're talking about videogame systems, my friend, intelligently, if at all possible.

Roberto Alfonso
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It is just marketing speech. Company representatives speak the truth only during earnings release. Also, the PSP is a great platform, but Sony never cared too much about it, and third parties left the boat once it was clear the NDS was getting the software and hardware sales. Right now it is in a N64 state, poor hardware sales and poor software sales, although of high quality.

Curious about how Rock Band for PSP would play. Music games are fading away. Also, the fun of those games is sharing it with others... having to bring four PSP together when playing... I am skeptical.

Doug Poston
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@Alfonso: You don't need four PSP to play Rock Band Unplugged, it is a single player game, like Frequency. See for details.

Roberto Alfonso
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Interesting. So they basically took away what makes the Rock Band experience unique (bring four friends together to play) and printed the game. Why I feel there is something wrong there...

gren ideer
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"So how is the fact that EVERY PS3 has a hard drive and the DLC a big differentiating factor?"

Games created for systems usually must adhere to the lowest common denominator. So a 360 game engine cannot assume there is a hard drive to help optimize performance, while a PS3 game can. That's not to say a 360 game can't make use of performance if a hard drive is available, but it is more difficult.

The point that is trying to be made is that there is a lot of value to a PS3 console, whether that comes from a built in hard drive, internal wifi, free live play, etc., and he wants to educate consumers on that fact.

If you are personally a 360 fan and don't like the PS3 then there is nothing wrong with that.

Yannick Boucher
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thanks gren ideer, that,s more constructive. Devs have to factor that even if ONE SKU unit of 360 doesn't have a harddrive, they can't count on their game using the harddrive, that's how it works.

Tom Newman
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I am hopeful that Sony will make a comeback. Personally, I feel that the PS3 exclusives are high in quality, but few in quantity, and both are important. Cross platform releases always look better on the 360 on my tv (56" 1080p Samsung DLP projection set). This can be argued (especially the 360's 1080p sometimes being not "true" 1080p), but with my personal setup, I've yet to see a PS3 title that looks better, so with all cross platform titles, I go for the 360 version.

I still play a lot of PS2 games (which look great upscaled on the system - THANK YOU Sony for that!), and what I am hoping to see are more 3rd party exclusives, especially the niche titles like all the JRPGs and SRPGs that make the PS2 library so unique.

...also I feel Sony needs to bring back backwards compatability. They did a great job with the first-gen PS3s, and one close friend of mine is holding off on buying a PS3 until this feature returns.

steve roger
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Sorry about popping off. I will check myself, as they say.

I do understand the single SKU consideration for developers, but while they can't count on every single solitary 360 having a hard drive, they can count on the lions share of them having one. And they can count on having more 360s with hard drives than the raw number PS3s. This makes his claim that "Those types of differentiating factors are a big deal when we're talking about some of the co-marketing." seem spirious and disengenious. (By the way I actually favor the PS3 as a better value than the 360, if I could only have one, I would have the PS3).

However, he uses a qualifier with his differentiating claim of being significant in terms of "co-marketing." However, what does he mean by co-marketing here? Why is this important when the numbers themselves don't support his premise? I am baffled by the use of co-marketing here.

Bob McIntyre
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Tom, I agree. They definitely need the BC, and their console is actually really good, despite their best efforts to make everyone hate them and avoid buying it. I'd love to see such a good piece of hardware enjoy the same success as the previous two consoles from them.

Harold McNew
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I cannot comment about the PS3, as I don't own one, but Sony has disappointed me with the PSP. I love my PSP but at times I almost regret buying it. It seems like Sony has been more interested in touting how great the hardware is than making sure that there are games that people want to play. Microsoft has succeeded, when few thought they would, by concentrating on content. I know that Sony is trying to turn this around but that does little to make up for years of rarely seeing any PSP games that I was interested in buying. Sony's promises of great games in 2009 does not garner much enthusiasm from me; I'd like to see them do something that makes me feel like they really appreciate their customers. The current strategy doesn't accomplish that, all they are really doing is what should have been done three years ago. It feels like someone expecting you to be excited about getting a birthday gift that is 6 months late.