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Why  Vib-Ribbon  owes its new lease on life to Sony's E3 gaffe

Why Vib-Ribbon owes its new lease on life to Sony's E3 gaffe

November 18, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

"Sometimes it's convenient to be the president, because you can make a call like that, and no one's going to say, did you run the ROI on that? Nope: I want it done and I want it done now."
- Shawn Layden, president and CEO of SCEA, explains how Vib-Ribbon came to be released on PSN.

Last month Sony rereleased the 1999 PlayStation cult classic Vib-Ribbon on contemporary hardware. It was the game's official North American debut, and Sony Computer Entertainment America chief Shawn Layden told the story of how it came to pass in a recent interview with Wired.

"You have to get me Vib-Ribbon," Layden told Sony's David Thach at E3 2014, the day after Layden had mentioned the game onstage during Sony's press conference as a way to "prove his nerd cred" without any concrete plans to rerelease it.

Community response to his comments inspired him to reconsider his plans, and fast. "You've got to find out how we're going to get this thing to market, get it emulated," he reportedly told Thach. "If you can get the CD-swapping thing to work, great. But don't let that be the game-stopper."

"Just get this thing to market."

PlayStation 3 and Vita versions of the game did indeed come to PSN early last month, and the response from PlayStation owners has reportedly been decent; Layden says downloads so far have been "pretty good", though he acknowledges that "everyone who screamed at me on the internet should make good on their scream and go buy it now."

Going forward, Layden says the company plans to continue making a show of responding to calls from the community to rerelease titles from its archives.

"Now everyone wants me to bring out Parappa the Rapper, which we are looking at," says Layden. "But thatas a more complex rights package."

For more of the Sony chief's excerpted comments, as well as some technical details of the challenges Sony faced in trying to emulate the original Vib-Ribbon for release in North America, click on through to the Wired website.

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