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.