What is the thrust of the PSP Minis initiative now? How do you think it's gone? How do you think it's going?
RD: I think it's gone okay. My concern with Minis always has been if you have a PSP or a PS3, do you want to play small bite-sized games like that? I think the jury's still out. I think in some instances they do, and some instances they don't.
My other concern with a lot of the Minis is they've been rehashed, recalibrated iPhone games that when you look at and review it, you're like, "Really? What are you doing differently here? Not much."
There have been a couple that have been really cool, but for the most part, a lot of it has been up-resed, recalibrated iPhone stuff.
How do you get it to where you want it to be?
RD: We've got to continue. Candidly, I think the guys in Europe have done a great job in proselytizing and getting into the mobile market, going out for guys that are local phone developers, putting resources and assets against them, educating them so they feel more comfortable getting on a more sophisticated box, and giving them the tools and the ability to put something a little better.
It's not like you have to spend a lot more money in order to get something that has a lot more impact for the platform.
You're saying that it's a shame that some of them are up-resed iPhone games. At the same time, is there enough of an audience for the Minis that the developers can risk a full investment in a Mini game?
RD: Sure. There is, because they're not wildly expensive, and you still get a great split. Are you going to be rich and retire? No. But is it something you can add to your portfolio? Absolutely.
Speaking of the PSP, there's been a tremendous fall off in North America in terms of support for the system. It's still doing extremely well in Japan.
RD: It's killing it in Japan. [In North America] you have Peace Walker that I think is going to do very good numbers. You're going to have some phenomenal support from Square. They have some great stuff coming. You have some great stuff from Capcom. Again, it's a lot of stuff from Japan...
We have EA Sports stuff that's going to be coming out. You're going to have Toy Story 3 on the PSP that's coming out. There's a number of titles from American publishers that will be there, but are we getting full-line support? No. I'm not going to bullshit you on that.
A lot of the stuff that will be announced at E3 we're very excited about, because they are huge titles. And we also believe that there's a way that you will be able to, not stop, but slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days from a tech perspective. There's some code that you can embed that we've been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent.
That's been the biggest problem, no question about it. It's become a very difficult proposition to be profitable, given the piracy right now. And the fact that the category shrunk inside of retail.
We're going to fix retail. First party has done a great job of getting some campaigns in place to do that. We have some very big third-party titles, notably from Japan. We will have a good line-up this year. And hopefully, by virtue of that, we'll carry through to next year as well.
You unveiled PlayStation Move during GDC. Clearly, as with anything, that's been in R&D for a long time. When did you start talking to people about it?
RD: We started talking about it Q4 of last year. Calendar Q4. Early calendar Q4. So, October timeframe.
We've seen the Natal. We saw that tech. We passed on it. We knew what we wanted our tech to be once we settled on that. Coming out of summer, going into fall, we said, and once it was finalized, we were able to look at this and say, "Okay. Let's get it out to third parties."
This goes to the essence of my job right now. I am in a battle for resources. My entire job is convincing a third party publisher, EA and Activision, whoever, where you put your resources. Are you putting your resources against a Natal title, a Move title? Are you putting it against PSP? Are you putting it against 3DS? Where are you putting your resources? That's what I spend my time on.
What we used to be able to do at PS2 and say, "Hey, we got this great idea. Support us." Which they did. You can't do that anymore. You have to be able to go in there with a very fleshed out business model, a very fleshed out campaign.
So, when we first started that [process with Move], we didn't have that at that time. Went through, saw what the questions were right after the new year, went out again, revisited the top 15 publishers and some key independent developers, showed them what retail reaction had been.
That presentation you saw at GDC we showed the previous month all the third parties. They saw that. They saw what was happening. They had a chance to witness the games being played. They saw a lot of the same stuff that you guys saw. So it was no more of that, "Okay. It's pie in the sky." It's real.
So, going into GDC, I had a very good sense of who was supporting us, what was going to be there initially. And since then, I've now got a solid 12 month window of who's doing what.
One of the things that's come back is that third parties haven't been talking to retail because they're just now getting to a point where they can show stuff. So, you're going to see stuff at the floor at E3 that hasn't been talked about, that hasn't been announced, that we haven't talked about, that we haven't announced because the third parties haven't.
So, they're going to be there doing this stuff, and they'll be showing it to retailers for the first time because they've just now, they're going to be at that six-month point, and they're going to have something that's going to make a very big impact.
So, I'm walking into Move feeling pretty damn good about it, given how quickly people are [adjusting]. Now, if that tech was harder or if it took longer, I think people might walk away from E3 a little disappointed not being able to see stuff. I'm not going to get that sense.
|Rev. Stuart Campbell|