Another Jack Tretton interview. The last one really caused an uproar with the haters. Anyways, here it is.
I cant find a picture of the actual interview, so i will put a picture that represents what took place durning the interview.
We ask SCEA president and CEO, Jack Tretton, all our burning questions about the PS3 at Sony's 2007 Gamer's Day.
Table of Contents
GamePro: So we all know you're pushing the 10-year plan with the PS3, but when do you think the PS3 is really going to explode? Is it going to be this fall, 2008?...
Jack Tretton: I'd like to think we'll made some serious headway this holiday season being the first holiday that you're able to have adequate supply and software support. We've certainly seen it on the other Sony platforms like the Psone, PS2 and more recently with the PSP. While that launch period is exciting, it is loaded with anxiety and you cannot win. First we get tortured by not having enough supply at launch, then we deliver and people take pictures at retail and say,"What are we going to do about this?"
And regardless of how good the launch lineup is, the popular conception is that there's no such thing as a good launch game. And I look back at things like Crash and Twisted Metal or any the products we've done a launch on any platform, and it stands the test of time. I really believe that games like Resistance and MotorStorm will be looked upon fondly years down the road. Everyone just assumes that if it makes it out in the launch window, that it can't be technologically superior.
GP: What do you think has been the single best achievement on the PS3 so far?
JT: We've delivered technology that I personally couldn't have imagined a year ago, and I think we've made tremendous strives with the PlayStation from where the market was in the 80s and mid-90s. People said you can't compete with repeat with PS2...there's no way any company ever dominates two generations in a row, and we delivered another quantum leap.
Then we were up here in the clouds and how do you top the PS2? And quite frankly I was expecting PlaySation 2.5...an improvement on PlayStation 2, but not this huge leap. But the fact that we've got Blu-ray, Cell, RSX, Wi-Fi, memory card slots...as quiet as it is...zero problems with returns or overheating. It's that sleek and that effective, for $599, is amazing. And if you looked at it in that context, you'd think it'd be $999, not $599. At least that's the way I look at it as a consumer.
But if you live in the world of $299 platforms...wow that's double the previous platform Sony asked me to buy back in 2000. I think the technology is far and away the thing that impresses me the most, and it's just so intuitive. The fact that I can pop in memory stick and load up a slideshow with pictures I just too...heck, I don't know how to make a slideshow on a PC, but I don't need to know how to do it on a PS3. And then I load up my Ludacris CD and now I have a musical soundtrack to go with my pictures. I guess I could have figured it out on a PC, I just don't have the interest to do it, but it's made so easy on the PS3. So would I spend $600 to just make a slideshow on the PS3, no, I want it as a gaming system, but you might say, "Wow, that's cool, or this Blu-ray movie looks great." With the PS3, it delivers to me and pays me back, just as I think the PS2 did that. This multi-functionality and next-gen technology is blowing me away. And I think the longer you're in this industry, the more jaded you become and it's increasing harder to be impressed.
GP: How important is third-party support for the PS3, and what's the single most important third-party game for the PS3?
JT: I think it's extremely important. We would ideally like to have about 25-30% of the market, and we'd like third-party to occupy the rest just in sheer number of units. I think the third parties have been a tremendous key to our success, not just to one game but also about a breadth and depth of library. I think we need to do a better job of getting the tools in the hands on the third-party development community so that they can know what we know. I think they'll get there with or without us, but we're definitely working on that right now.
I think the game that we're most excited about that we've seen from the third-party community is probably Metal Gear Solid, that's the one people talk about the most. I think recently Ninja Gaiden Sigma is looking pretty cool, and Devil May Cry 4 is looking good, too. The Japanese developers are really producing some great stuff, which is evident by these games.
GP: The PlayStation Network (PSN) is still in a somewhat early state? When is it going to really kick into gear?
JT: Very, very soon, almost to the point of being overwhelming. We have 41 games in development devoted to the Network, not just talking about PSone games being enabled. We're talking about games developed specifically for the PS3. I think because people are seeing the traction from the movies studios and what the trailers can do for them, there is going to be a lot for downloadable content in that area. So, really it will happen this fall...we'll get there well before the holiday timeframe. Every month you'll just see more and more content on there it'll get to the point where it's be really rich by September. And I think that will be timed really nicely with the advent of Home as well.
GP: How big a role do you think Home will play in the movement of PS3 consoles?
JT: I don't think it will move consoles, but it will move a consumer who's been intimidated or disinterested by online into the online world. I think it lends itself into a more common social experience. If you're into the online community, you get the text-based experience, but if you're not into it, it's very easy to visualize, "Oh I get it, I'm talking to that guy...I'm going to go over there and see what EA has for new games, then I'm going to walk over there to see what new shoes are available from Nike, then we're going to play a game, and maybe talk while we watch a new Bond trailer." To me, I get that. You do it everyday in the real world. But I think the online world appeals to a very limited audience that are very passionate about it and they love it, but there are so many people who just aren't interested.
So I think Home will bring a lot of people into the online world and I think that will just enhance the console experience. Maybe as a backhanded result it will sell more hardware. We want to chain people to that hardware device and give them more and more reason to sit there and only play your PS3. Obviously no one is going to give 24 hours a day, but we want your break to be doing something else with your PS3.
GP: Are you satisfied with the way Sixaxis has been received so far, and are you happy with the way it's been implemented in games as of right now?
JT: I'm happy with what the controller can do, but I think we're at day one of showcasing that technology. I think when LAIR's out there and Warhawk's out there, more developers are going to take advantage of it. What I love about it, though, and I think Ratchet showed it very well, is that you're still controlling Ratchet, but you're using the Sixaxis to control the tornado. To me that's really cool, because now you're complementing a game control that you're used to.
You're not saying don't use the analog stick, use the Sixaxis -- instead you're giving more control over a game. Let's face it, to me, it's much easier to move a controller up, down, left and right that it is to move an analog stick especially in something like a flying game. So I think games like LAIR and Warhawk will really showcase that.
I guess the answer is that I'm satisfied with the technology, but I don't think we've got as many proof points as we'd ideally like, but they'll be there by this fall.
GP: Is rumble/vibration coming, and is there a chance at a next-gen rumble feature?
JT: I think there's certainly an opportunity for vibration to be there, but the thing that I like to do is take people to the past, right. We started out with this really cool form factor in the PlayStation controller and everyone really knows and loves the feel, and that lives on today in the PS3 controller. But there were no analog sticks initially and now that we've got them, we have trouble living without them. And there wasn't vibration and then the Dual Shock came out, and that was a really cool feature.
So I think the Sixaxis is a nice next-gen evolution of the PlayStation controller, and I think just as we've done through that time period I talked about, you'll see continued evolution in the Sixaxis controller, whether it's a separate controller or whether it's a progression in the Sixaxis controller through analog sticks, vibration...you name it. Nothing to announce, but certainly a natural progression that I'm sure you can envision.
GP: How important is gaming 3.0, user-generated content and community experiences for the PS3, and is that the wave of the next generation?
JT: It all goes with having this very passionate relationship with the consumer and I think Phil's talked about it and I completely appreciate it. You work so hard to establish a relationship with the consumer whether it's to sell them a piece of hardware or software, but every time they walk out the door, that relationship typically gets severed unless you communicate with them through an online community. The ability to add expansion packs, to have the Home environment, or to have the user-generated content are ways to have every piece of software live and evolve until there's no longer consumer interest in it.
That's a really interesting thing we've seen on the PS2, for example with SOCOM, and there's still a very active SOCOM 2 online community, and those users engage each other and we engage with them, much more than an offline gaming experience that we know how many units have been sold, but we don't know how much the game is being played or what interest is left in it, and that's why you have to invest marketing dollars in focus groups and research like that.
When you have user-generated content and an active community, you're getting constant feedback and I think that's worth its weight in gold.
GP: Folding@Home has been a big success. There have been rumors that Microsoft wants to participate, too. Aside from any medical benefit that it might produce, would it be smart from a business standpoint for Microsoft to do join in considering the under-power of the Xbox 360 CPU compared to the PS3's Cell?
JT: I think what's very important to us, and I think is great for our consumers, is the pride that it gives you as a company to say that we're helping to fight and research Alzheimer's and that 250K people signed up in less than 60 days. And what we're doing takes 30 times longer on a PC, and that's a great testament to the PS3, but it's more a real feel-good thing to take your machine when it's idle to help contribute to that cause.
So if other companies can help contribute to that, I think that's great. But let's face it, if your motivation is for PR, to me, that's a little shallow. We go out of our way, correctly so, to make sure that we don't try to sell PS3s on Folding@Home. We try to look at it for just what it is, which is great community service for a great cause, and I think to look at it as a marketing platform is something that a company certainly wouldn't want to do. I'm certainly not insinuating that's Microsoft's motivation, but I'm not even sure how relevant it is to what were doing.
Would they be even having this conversation if we weren't doing it? I don't know. I would guess that the medical community would take help from anywhere they could get it, but the commentary that I heard is that Stanford isn't sure that [the Xbox 360's processing abilities] would help them very much, which is odd to be because if it helped at all, it seems like they would welcome it with open arms.
It's really ugly territory to get into, but let's take fighting a disease and see if we can get some credit for that. It's not a cool game to play one way or the other, so I don't want to even give the impression that that's our motivation and I'd be very disappointed if they're looking for PR value or to try to suck off some of the goodwill that we're doing.
GP: It seems Sony is focusing on creating new IPs and new game franchises? What's the underlying strategy?
JT: That's always been the case, and if heard my presentation earlier, I was talking about Nintendo and Sega had these great gaming heritages, and how we've been a great consumer electronics and hardware/technology company, but software is going to be very, very key. We invested heavily, and when companies like Microsoft said let's leave sports gaming to EA, we said no and that we have to be in it more than even because what's EA's motivation if they have no competition?
They have to build the best sports game on our platform if they have to compete with us. And so we've always believed that we have to set the bar for the third parties to basically keep them honest. Maybe that's not the right term and I certainly don't mean it that way, but if you can deliver good first-party content, then you're not a slave to third-party support. Then, it compliments what you do and doesn't define what you do, and that was very important to us.