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Tretton Discusses Platform Pricing, PS3 Hitting Its Stride

Tretton Discusses Platform Pricing, PS3 Hitting Its Stride

April 5, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

As the company prepares to launch a PSP successor in the next year, Sony Computer Entertainment America's president and CEO Jack Tretton shared his philosophy on platform pricing and his belief that the PlayStation 3 is just hitting its stride.

"I think when you're buying a platform, when you're buying technology, you're hopefully buying a device you're going to enjoy for many, many years," said Tretton in an interview with Fast Company. He compared the purchasing of a handheld or console game system to other gadgets like the iPod or iPhone.

"People are used to spending several hundreds of dollars to get a portable device. I think in the long run, when you look at that total investment in a platform, the amount of money you spend on the hardware is a relatively small percentage of the total investment."

Though SCEA has warned that production of its upcoming PSP successor, codenamed Next Generation Portable, could be delayed due to damage to its Japanese facilities after last month's earthquake and tsunami, the company is expected to launch the system worldwide within the next year.

The platform holder hasn't announced pricing yet for the NGP, but analysts predict it will be more expensive than its primary rival, the Nintendo 3DS, which debuted in North America last month for $250 -- the same price at which the original PSP and PSP Go launched years ago.

"It's not to say the price of the platform isn't a consideration, but I don't think price makes or kills a platform," said the SCEA boss, speaking about consoles in general and not the NGP specifically. "Something that's lousy, that's very inexpensive, is not going to be successful, and something that's pricey will ultimately find its audience if there's enough value there."

Tretton also told Fast Company that he feels SCEA is "just hitting [its] stride" with the PS3 -- a sentiment he expressed for the PlayStation brand three years ago. He said the financial investment Sony made with the PS3, and the technological innovations of Move and 3D, is something the company will "reap dividends on for many, many years".

"We're not in cruise control mode; we're still in growth mode. Fortunately, it's been steady growth for the last four years, and we anticipate strong growth again in the next fiscal year," said the CEO.

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