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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 2 of 6 Next

When it comes to software, certain multi-platform games might sell better on the Xbox 360, like Call of Duty. But do you see the need for differentiation where multi-platform games are concerned? You can buy them for either system, so what's the differentiator for you...?

PD: There's a couple of different ways to attack that question. One is: when companies are approaching us for co-marketing support or collaboration, then differentiation is a big deal. We like to talk to third-parties about, "Hey, if you can help us show off the unique attributes of our platform, whether it's through extra content -- the Blu-ray disc can store a lot more than our competition, and if there's ways to show that off. That's one thing we can do, or... using the Sixaxis controller with the Dual-Shock, that's another."

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.

I think if you look at some other data more recently -- and this goes back to the point of Sony providing development support. If you look at how Electronic Arts titles are indexed as one example on our platform -- versus the Xbox 360 from last year to the previous year. We're seeing now EA Sports titles overindexing [selling more copies relatively] on PS3 vis-a-vis the install base.

We think part of the reason for that is the investment that EA made in their development tools. If you go all the way back to the launch of the 360, they had a year head-start, so development tools and environments across many third parties were set up to have a head-start on the other platform.

Over time, we also were confident that people would catch up, and again I think if you look at EA Sports and drill at that data a little bit, you can see that they're now starting to overindex on our platform. People are starting to gravitate towards the PS3.

There's not a lot of differentiation in those titles; EA didn't do a lot extra to show off sort of the first part of the answer. So we're starting to see some momentum shift our way, which we think bodes well for us in the future from a third-party perspective.

Julie Han: I was going to say Street Fighter [IV] in February actually sold 300k on each platform, and what we need to take notice of is that we had less install base than Xbox. [Sony subsequently provided a document explaining this in more detail, including a number of stats on titles that sold relatively better, taking install bases into account.]

PD: So even if they're at parity now, given the install base differential, there's something pretty dynamic going on behind the scenes.

Something Microsoft talks about a lot, though, is their attach rate, because they do have a very impressive attach rate. How are you guys tracking on attach rate?

PD: I think that one of the reasons their attach rate is higher is they launched against the core gamer a year earlier, and I think our install base has always been a bit more diverse.

Perhaps this becomes a blessing and a curse for them because they've proven on the previous generation -- they never really expanded their market outside that core gamer, which meant they kind of stalled after awhile.

In the independent market, they tried very hard with content that would appeal to folks who like games besides Halo and Gears, and I don't think those games really worked well on the Xbox 360. You compare that to PlayStation, which has always been a very big tent and a platform that stood for games that everyone could have fun with.

So it's not just about Killzone and Resistance but LittleBigPlanet and Ratchet -- these are the types of experiences you have on our platform. That means that we're bringing in multiple audiences at the same time as opposed to the typical "Okay, we're gonna get the core, and then the next group of guys are gonna come in," and so on and so on, and your tie ratios will dwindle or decrease over time.

I think what we've got is a more diverse install base out of the chute. Part of that too is that some of the folks buying PS3s are probably Blu-ray aficionados. So they're buying it -- and this is probably a smaller percentage of them -- but gaming is something that they're discovering: "Oh, this machine also plays games!" That's usually the flip [side]; people are like "Well now that I've got the PS3 I'm going to expand to the Blu-ray library," and it's actually doing both of those things.

We think, over time, we'll continue to build the install base against the core gamer, whether it's things like Killzone and God of War coming up and those great titles that we'll continue with. But we'll also be broadening the market to social gamers, casual gamers, A/V aficionados that we can get involved in gaming for the first time.

Sony/ThatGameCompany's Flower

One thing is that I think the core gaming thing can be a bit limiting a perspective; there's probably more diversity in the audience potential between just core/casual or core/social. I think there's a lot of different taste ranges out there and I think that's maybe what you're speaking to a little bit.

People who would traditionally be the hardcore don't only want to play shooters, and that's a potential differentiator. I think that's kind of what the PS2 was like; there was actually a broad variety of games that were not just targeted towards sort of one silo. You think there's a more narrow targeting on the Xbox 360 right now?

PD: I think you said what I wanted to say better; you're right. We'll go head-to-head with them on the shooter genre; if you love shooters, you're going to have a wonderful time on the PS3.

But like you said, core gamers -- I believe LittleBigPlanet is a fantastic core gamer game. It's also a game that my ten-year-old daughter plays; it's always been something that touches both sides of that fence. Uncharted, Heavy Rain... I could go on and on.

We've got a lot of games that core gamers like, and it's not just with a headset playing a shooter online; core gamers do have diverse tastes. Then you get to the broader part of that message because I think whether it's my daughter playing LittleBigPlanet or people playing Uncharted for the movie-like experience and not sort of the game-centric aspects of it.

We always run out of time in these interviews where we're not diligent enough to make sure we're mentioning Flower and flOw and The Last Guy. Those games play into diversifying the audience with games that give you maybe a shorter form of entertainment but games that core gamers appreciate for their design.

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