CN: The 40-gig PS3 has been out in Europe for a little while now, and the numbers shot way up.
MR: Well, good for Sony. When I said
they were going to have a good Christmas, I didn't necessarily mean
because of our game. They've got a lot going for them right now. It's
a great Blu-ray player. They're going to push that really hard.
BS: I got Phil Harrison to admit that the PS2 was not the best DVD player in the past, but the PS3 is a great Blu-ray player.
MR: And a great DVD player, too. They did a really good job on that. It really feels like it was designed for that kind of thing.
CN: They do that multimedia thing...
MR: But it can confuse people.
CN: I think it kind of backfired with the PSP to an extent, because people found out that they could do things besides play games with it, and they're not selling much software on it.
MR: Well, I don't think it's necessarily
a bad thing. I think if you have a large install base, you have an ability
to sell software, and if you have a large enough install base, the publishers
will, if they feel they have a big title, they will put the money behind
marketing it. I think there's nothing wrong with the Trojan Horse strategy
of "let's get this device in the living room, and it can play music
and DVDs and high-definition movies." The Xbox 360 does that too.
So I don't think there's anything wrong with having a good Trojan Horse strategy, because there's nothing better for us as game developers than having a huge install base. Publishers will say, "Hey, there's ten or however many million of those. Let's spend a little bit extra to buy our disc and stick it in." I think once it's there, there's the temptation to play games on it, regardless of what your original meaning was. If people buy it as a Blu-ray player, they so will play games. When the big ads come out in August for a new Madden game, they'll pick up Madden. They've got the equipment, so why not. They've made the investment.
BS: Speaking of giant install bases,
do you think Nintendo hardware is still out of the cards for now?
MR: For what?
BS: In terms of engine development and that sort of thing.
MR: The sweet spot for our engine is really a much higher hardware spec than the Wii, and there's so many things that we're still going to do to improve our engine. You see how much faster it is now on PlayStation 3 than it was six months ago, and it's better now on Xbox 360 than it was six months ago, and obviously it's way better on PC than it was six months ago. All of our efforts to make the game on a lower-spec hardware is aimed at the PC. Even then, the lowest spec we've run on the PC is still considerably more graphics power and memory than the Wii.
It's not something that we're especially good at. Making a low-end engine is not something I would think would be a good use of our time, because there's still so much more high-end improvement we can go after on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. There's Xbox Live Arcade, there's PlayStation Network, and there's also all these PC downloadable game services and things like that that it's perfectly well suited to. I really don't see where it's an effective use of our time.
I'm not saying we couldn't make money
there, but I don't see where it's an effective use of our time to be
looking backwards to the Wii, in terms of what our hardware spec is.
People are so amazed that we're not out like a big Pac-Man gobbling
out all the money on the Wii, but you have to stick with your strengths,
and you have to focus. I think it's smart for us to stay focused, and
chasing down a couple of dollars is probably not a good business plan.
BS: This is pure speculation on my part, but I talked to Bing Gordon a while ago, and he was saying that RenderWare didn't really make it to the next generation properly. Why don't they just take that engine and make it a Wii engine? You know, why not? It works fine on PS2?
MR: Why not Wii? It is a Gamecube engine, right? RenderWare was used a lot.
BS: They should license that out.
MR: Wii is an enhancement to the Gamecube. Most of the people who are making games for the Wii are using technology they already had for the Gamecube, so it's not like they have to go license a new engine and learn something new, because they didn't have to do that. It's like... think if you had a really old PC, and you're running Unreal Engine 2 on it and it runs great, and you get a little more graphics power but a little more CPU load, you'll keep using Unreal Engine 2, but you'll be able to deliver a little bit better experience because there's a little more horsepower there. I don't see where people need to go changing.
You hear the Gamebryo guys say, "Well,
now we run on the Wii!" Well, you always ran on the Gamecube, so
it's not like... anything that runs on the Gamecube also runs on the
Wii, so they made an announcement out of nothing, I guess.
BS: Yeah. Well, you're allowed to make announcements!
MR: Well, that's good. That's good business for them, I'm sure.
CN: Probably more people are going to be buying Wii technology than bought Gamecube technology.
MR: Well, of course. Now you wouldn't want to make Gamecube games anymore, obviously.
BS: It's a grammar shift.
MR: Exactly. Before they were selling
the Gamecube engine, and now they're selling the Wii engine. They have
enhanced it for the Wii. I'm not trying to take anything away from that.
The Wii is more powerful than the Gamecube. But it's a superset.