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The Vita Interview


February 21, 2012 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4
 

Yeah, I definitely want to talk about the coming lineup. Now I know, obviously, you can't speak to what specifically is coming. I've been around long enough to know that you have to have a big splash at E3. That's how it is. What can you tell me about that? Because obviously, that's a question on people's minds.

SR: You said it yourself. Unfortunately, this is the part of these interviews that kills me, because you know I feel like I'm a gamer talking to a gamer and I just want to sit here and talk about everything I know that's coming out in the future, but I can't, is the bottom line. Just rest assured that there's a ton of things in development on both the first and third party fronts, and of course there'll be some fun announcements at E3, but there's a lot of goodness to come in the next couple of years, for sure, on the PlayStation Vita.

You said you've been working very strategically for the past three years to get the software lineup running, and it can't have all been culminating in launch, I assume.

SR: No, not at all. I think that there are some that argue that we may even have too much lined up at launch, but I know we've got a lot more in the works.

Again, referencing what you talked about for PSP, I think that there were too many droughts of killer titles. There were too many long droughts, and I think we recognized that. And we've put a serious investment into our long-term PS Vita plans, so there's a lot of stuff in the works.

Something else you have going on with this that you didn't have on the PSP and, I think, even more so than you do perhaps on the PS3, is you have different levels of games.

You have smaller, more bite-sized things in sort of the Mini vein, closer to an iOS title. You have PSN-level notable games, and you have retail games. How are you managing that portfolio, and what are your attitudes towards the different tiers, and what you need to hit?

SR: Well, I think it goes even more beyond that, when you look at there are even different tiers at retail, and that's something that's different than what we've done in the past, on consoles. And the bottom line is something that you hit on earlier: we want to have a very broad experience. We want people to eventually be purchasing very inexpensive games on the Vita, just really simple experiences, or even downloading you know free apps like Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare, things along those lines, because it's definitely a part of the portable experience that's kind of par of the course these days.

But the bottom line is it's not something that worries us. We're not sitting here with a portfolio on a giant wall in a war room saying, "Okay, we need 10 of these small games, and 10 of these medium-sized games, and 10 of these large games." That's not the way we're working this. We're actually looking at each experience individually and saying, "Is this something unique? Is this something that's special that we can bring to the market?"

And if so, and if we can wedge it into my annual software development budget, then we pull it off, and I think that that's something that we're very proud of -- that the experiences are incredibly diverse. I mean, you're not going to find a platform that has something like Sound Shapes or Escape Plan on that level, and then all the way up to a premium sports experience like MLB or like FIFA that EA is going to come out with, or Uncharted or Resistance: Burning Skies. You're not going to have that diversity anywhere else. It's something we're very proud of.


Sound Shapes

What do you think about the importance of new IP to driving interest in a system? Because you spoke earlier about how Nintendo's 3DS really did pick up, and I agree with you that this happened when Mario and Mario Kart hit it. It wasn't new IP that got people really interested in the 3DS. What do you think?

SR: It's always an interesting mix, and that's why we're trying a selection of different things. And there's still things to come, over the upcoming months, that do introduce new IP on the Vita. But it's always going to be a mix, and I think that you have to have new IP.

The new platform launch is, without a doubt, the best opportunity to launch a new IP. If you were to launch Sound Shapes in year three or four of the Vita, it could easily get lost in the crowd, and people would never notice. But when it's out there six months before, at all the preview launch title events, and when it's out there as one of the few new titles that are available on the PlayStation Store, it's going to get a lot more buzz that way. I think it's important to sell the merits of the system with new IP.

The press has released its reviews of the final U.S. hardware. There has been any number of articles in the last couple days about what people think about the system. I wouldn't want to pull out, necessarily, a dominant thread, but you definitely see a lot of, "This is a really nice piece of hardware, but can it really succeed? I'm not sure. The market's changed too much." Does that bother you? Are you sick of hearing about it? How true do you think that kind of assessment is?

SR: Well, it certainly doesn't bother me, or concern me, because that's just the press doing their job, right? Everyone has to evaluate anything that comes out, whether it's in our industry or not, and there's always going to be pros and cons for any device that comes out.

The reason I can speak with so much confidence about the Vita is because I love to play games on any device. I've seen it for the last couple of months, where we've had our early test retail devices on hand, and I'm just telling you, anyone that gets it in their hands that is a gamer, you can't get this experience on anything else that's available out there. So when you get it into the hands of people, they are going to enjoy it.

Will that be a quick escalation to the top of the market in mobile? Will it be a longer curve before more people get involved with the PlayStation Vita? That's to be determined. But what I know is that the software that's out there from first, and the stuff that's coming from third, is a great, great lineup. The machine itself is excellent. The features that are coming online are only going to get better over the next couple of years, so you know, it's just not something that I'm overly concerned about at all.


Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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