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The Sony Situation: SCEA's Rob Dyer Speaks
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The Sony Situation: SCEA's Rob Dyer Speaks

May 21, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

When it comes to DLC, particularly from EA, there's a voucher in the box, and then for resale it doesn't exist. What do you think about that? Is that something that you touch on when you talk to these companies in meetings?

RD: I have very mixed emotions about it. I am a big believer in encouraging the gamer to have a reason to hold onto it and to continue to play, and for the publisher to be able to see something if there is a second sale. Because right now, for years, as a publisher, we saw nothing. Very frustrating.

As a first party, I understand why there's a second sale, but I'm not always excited about it. Look, this has been a tough couple of years. People have not been making money, and I think the used games business has been having a huge impact in that.

I'm happy to debate merits, pros, and cons with folks at GameStop and have that discussion because again, I've sat on the other side and I've seen what can happen. People need to see a way to monetize that second sale.

When it comes to your role or your part of the company, working with publishers, do you do research? Do you provide them with suggestions and alternatives?

RD: When Dante's Inferno came out with its Divine Edition of the game, [we] had a half dozen ideas. They had a half dozen ideas. Their peanut butter met our chocolate; we figured out how to make this thing work. And out of that dozen ideas, we came up with four which could go on the disc, [some] with the DLC, and how we [could] support them on the marketing. It's a collaborative process.

So, once we move from there, it goes to operations, ops. What we have is soup to nuts. We guide them through QA, help them get the stuff out, make sure they get into DADC, get manufacturing.

And then we have dev support, where if they're out saying they're having trouble implementing a certain feature or whatever, we'll send people into the studio and literally we have what we think are the biggest, brightest minds when it comes to what they can do on the PlayStation. They go in there and help solve those problems. So, that's what my world is, all encompassing.

Demon's Souls

You mentioned to me that a lot of effort and care goes into a relationship with EA, with a huge title like Dante's Inferno, but look at some of the smaller publishers that have historically had a home on PlayStation -- like Atlus. They may have a surprise hit like Demon's Souls. Is that an important relationship with you?

RD: Yes. I met with Atlus a few weeks ago. And we had meetings last week with Hudson. We had meetings with new Tecmo Koei. We will sit down with PSN-only guys [like] Creat. We'll sit down and have conversations with these guys about, "How do we make it better for you? What are the things that we can do to work with you?"

So, from my level on down, we have account execs on them. We have dev support that will go out and see them. We work with them on the PSN side in order to make sure their assets are visibly noted. Get up there. If we have an opportunity to promote them, we'll do it.

Having been a small publisher as well, when I was at Crave SVG, I know what it can be like to be ignored. But when you also have good product, you want to make sure they see it.

Network games on PSN represent a new area that's arisen in this generation, and there are some companies which could self-publish on the platform. How much relationship do you have with them?

RD: Well, we have three execs where all they do is deal with those small publishers. That's their role in life, to go out and find these guys. Second thing, we've gone out and created a fund to literally seed fund these guys called the Pub Fund -- the publisher's fund. What we do is if they come to us with games that they think are innovative, that are really going to show off the network, something different, we will go and fund these titles.

So, we've done things like Joe Danger. We've done things like Burn Zombie Burn with Kuju. We've done a deal with Paramount to get a large amount of content from them that is going to show up on the network, as well as work with us on hybrid discs in order to show what you can do with games and movies together.

These are things we are very aggressive about now because, again, we think it's easier to get on our network, you get as much access or more worldwide than you do on XBL, and more than that, it is easy to do this stuff.

What we want to do is we will handhold you through the first one, and then we want to show you how to do it yourself going forward. We want to give you that ability very cheaply in order to get this done. And the good news about the Pub Fund is you're not signing over your rights to us. You keep your IP. We're going to recoup, but you're going to have this opportunity to get something up there without a lot of risk to see if it works.

If it does, all of the sudden, now as a small company, you've got an IP that's got some value. You've got value. You own it. All we're asking is if you do it again, give us first right [of refusal]. If we can't get a deal, then fine, you go out and do it. But you know what? It's a great way to get started, especially if you've got something in a prototype that you're looking at going, "Shit, this is going to work. This is very cool. I want to go show this to Sony, and let's see what can happen."

You know, when you start with your Minis, and we're trying to graduate people from Minis up to more of the full scale PSN developer. That's kind of the progression we like to go through.

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