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Hollywood & Games: Sony Pictures' Landau Talks Convergence
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Hollywood & Games: Sony Pictures' Landau Talks Convergence

December 27, 2007 Article Start Page 1 of 3 Next

Yair Landau is President of Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment (SPDE), an operating unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which he formed in 1999 to bring together Sony Pictures' digital artists, technologists and production software engineers to create exceptional digital entertainment for audiences around the world.

SPDE consists of Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Online Entertainment. The division produces stories, characters, images and games conceived, created and rendered digitally. Landau talked about his company and the convergence of Hollywood and games in this exclusive interview conducted earlier this year.

What was your interest in getting involved in online video games?

Yair Landau: I think that from a Sony Pictures standpoint, as Sony's audio/visual arm there was a natural extension of why Sony's in the picture interest. Sony was already in the games business and we created a lot of our own original characters and stories, and the online games business is a natural extension of that. More specifically, we saw the online games space as part of the emerging communities online and that's a business that we wanted to get in.

How have you seen new game console introductions impact Hollywood's involvement with games?

YL: What we see is as the power of the game platforms grow, the opportunity to have an experience in the game world is more like watching a movie. Obviously, Sony has fueled a lot of that and driven that by increasing processing power with PlayStation 3 and allowing us to render greater stories and greater images and deeper gameplay experiences. We have certainly been driven in part by that, but the whole game industry has been driven in part by that. Games have become a richer, deeper experience and they've become more of a mass experience.

How have you seen Hollywood influence games?

YL: I think there have been a series of steps. I'd say the largest step, in my mind, from the impact of Hollywood on the games business, would have to be Saving Private Ryan. That movie gave birth to a whole genre of video games across a series of publishers and a series of platform. Starting with Medal of Honor and moving on to Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, and Battlefield 1942.

Basically, Saving Private Ryan gave birth to a genre of gameplay. You could say there were shooter games before, but really the whole World War II game experience is more than just a shooter experience. It's a role-playing experience in a specific context that enhances the shooter experience. In my mind, that's the first time that you've seen a great Hollywood experience translated into a mass game experience.


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