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Sony's Software Strategy: Shuhei Yoshida Speaks
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Sony's Software Strategy: Shuhei Yoshida Speaks

October 30, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Almost every piece of WWS software, with the exception of Gran Turismo and The Last Guardian, is coming from studios outside Japan. Do you want to expand the Japanese WWS studios to work more on the PS3 and maybe generate software more attuned to Japanese gamers?

SY: I've been working on this with management of Japan studios since last year. When I came back to Japan, their focus was shifted onto the PSP, which reflects the success of the PSP as a platform in Japan. So that's great from from a business sense, but as a first party we need to provide games that expand the market for the platform.

The PS3 installed base hasn't been as good as in Europe or the States. So we are strategizing how to bring in more resources. It's completely opposite of the way how US and European teams moved onto working on the PS3 and we see the fruits of those efforts, while Japan studios shifted their focus onto the PSP.

So they've constantly released interesting PSP games, but the PS3 output has declined. So we are now re-energizing teams and coming up with new ideas for PS3 development, outside The Last Guardian and Gran Turismo, from Japan studios.

We'll be able to show fruits of this work sometime next year.

Looking at the lackluster offerings at this year's Tokyo Game Show, it's amazing that even a major Japanese publisher like Konami has only really released Winning Eleven and Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and the systems have been out for years now. It seems Japanese developers are still struggling with the latest hardware.

SY: Those companies, including our studios, took more time and need more time to get their arms around this generation of technology. I think that you could see on the show floor that this is the year that Japanese publishers are putting more efforts in bringing their major franchises to the PS3.

When I came back to Japan, I felt that the Japanese consumers suffer the most. They've mostly played on portable systems like the PSP and the DS. Their franchises moved from consoles to portables. Publishers are now starting to move them back onto the bigger consoles again. So I can see that with the new lower price of the PS3, there's some kind of resurgence happening on the Japanese market when it comes to consoles.

In the heyday of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, there were software killer apps like Gran Turismo and Crash Bandicoot. However consumer habits times have changed over the years and it seems that the major games Sony's released for the PS3, haven't been generating the kind of brand loyalty or sales as games in the past generations. Microsoft has done well on this front, however.

SY: We are as excited with games like LittleBigPlanet as we were with Crash Bandicoot back in the day. The hardware installed base is a problem, it's growing slower, largely because of the cost of the hardware -- and we were not able to bring the price down to the level that we now are able to.

So it's taking longer to build that user base. Looking forward, this generation, as we've said often, is going to be a 10 year cycle, so we are still in the early period of this platform.

We shouldn't necessarily compare to the same timing of prior platforms. It's been more of a challenge technically for all teams to create content in this generation. However, all technical problems can be solved in one way or another. All teams are now very comfortable on the current hardware.

Many games from us this year are the first PS3 titles from their developers, like InFamous, Killzone 2, The Last Guardian... well, that one's not out yet.

These games are in development for a long time, three to four years, now finally seeing the light of day. I still feel like these are the first games on the platform and these are good looking games. Then second generation games like Uncharted 2 look even better. So I think it's way too early to make judgements.

Can you reveal the status of the Cambridge studio?

SY: They are developing LittleBigPlanet for the PSP, but they are also working on a new product that we haven't announced yet.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

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