Sony: Microsoft “punched themselves out” of next-gen fight!!!
Sony’s marketing VP tells GamePro that Microsoft may have “already leveraged all of their big assets” for the Xbox 360 in 2007, leaving 2008 wide open for the PlayStation 3.
GamePro spoke with Sony marketing VP Scott Steinberg at the Game Developers Conference in February. This is a condensed form of that discussion; Steinberg spoke at length about the Blu-ray victory, Microsoft’s 2008 game line-up, and possibilities for new PS3 downloads (including the possibility of movies, music, and PS2 games).
GamePro: So Sony hasn’t had a big splashy keynote so far this year. Would you like to explain why?
Scott Steinberg, Sony: I think the noise level has been pretty loud relative to the momentum behind Blu-ray and that hasn’t necessarily come from us. We don’t have to [give keynotes] when we have Warner, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart lining up behind the Blu-ray format.
GamePro: The PS3 has some impressive media capabilities, but the missing link is downloadable movies, movie rentals, TV shows. Will PS3 owners ever see downloadable movies and shows?
Sony: We have entertainment leverage and that means music and movies. No other company has that ability or those assets. The PS3 is the hub….you can probably connect the dots. There are a lot of opportunities and I think no other company can bring that in such a neatly tied bow and package to consumers than Sony. Stay tuned!
GamePro: The Blu-ray victory was a huge win and may represent a turning point for the PS3. What is Sony doing to keep PS3 interest high among gamers?
Sony: I think [the Blu-ray win] is a huge momentum builder for us and I think it is part of why we believe 2008 is going to be a monster year for the PS3. When you incorporate games like Gran Turismo 5, Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet, and Resistance 2…there will a great mixture of new IP and proven PlayStation brands. I think these factors are timed perfectly because our competition has already leveraged all their big assets in the first couple of years and may have punched themselves out of the fight. We are the [HD movie] standard and now we have the creativity and the products, so I think that formula is going to drive consumers to the PS3.
GamePro: Will Sony start releasing PS2 and more PS1 classics as downloads for the PS3?
Sony: It is hard not to see that as a good idea. We have heard it from consumers and we have seen it in other platforms. People love the retro games. It is a comfort food in a lot of ways. So, we don’t have any announcements yet, but there’s a very short list of companies with the breadth of catalog that Sony has. I think leveraging that catalog would be a no-brainer.
GamePro: If you were to offer downloadable PS2 classics, would you be offering third-party hits in addition to the Sony-produced games?
Sony: We love third-parties. I am sure we have already reached out to third-parties. There are different ways to get some of the last-gen games over [to the PS3]. I think there have been some ongoing sessions about that.
GamePro: What’s up with Home? We haven’t heard an update in ages!
Sony: We are still in our closed beta. Our bar is set high for Home, so we haven’t yet announced exposing more people to the beta. It would be a natural extension for us –you start small and broaden. We are in that first stage still and learning lots and taking those lessons to the engineering side and making it as ready for prime time as it can be. We have high expectations so we are not looking to expose some of the early development until it is ready.
GamePro: Obviously Home has seen many changes since its first appearance last year. How substantial have the changes been?
Sony: Beta periods are like Petri dishes of opportunity…if you talk to any game developer who has gone through a beta, they will tell you how remarkably important it is to development and the engineering roadmap, so naturally it is going to be the same way for something as ambitious as Home. It is big. There are a lot of things to learn and a lot of things to build out.
I must agree, Sony is stepping up a little. Home should be coming soon, the PSN update, and MGS4 should do some serious damage to Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 is like….bread…if you leave it out for so long it turns crusty and old, but in this case you’re not leaving it out so long– just for two years.