Interview with Game Pro. (THE NAME OF THE INTERVIEW IS THE NAME OF THIS THREAD) http://www.gamepro.com/sony/ps3/games/features/107456.shtml This is EDUCATIONAL. If you respond concerning the conent, be objective or be civil please. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 03/28/2007 The criticism Jack Tretton says is unfounded. "The thing that frustrates me is that there is a whole different level of gaming fans who are haters... I'm not saying the PS3 launch was perfect, but let's try to be a little objective here." Tretton is the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America. And he would rather focus on what's going right with the PS3 launch. "We're very pleased with how things are going. It's very much according to plan. The next stage is to crank up production and get millions of units to Europe and Japan." GamePro: Can you tell us something about the PS3 that will surprise us? Jack Tretton: I think the machine surprises me every day. I've been in the industry for a long time and I consider myself a gamer, so even though I work for the company and was aware of the features, I wanted to pop Resistance: Fall of Man in there and start playing. So that's what I did, and that's all I did for the first few weeks I had the PS3. I'm a creature of habit -- I went through the same thing with the PSP. I started playing games, and I started discovering other applications. "I tend to talk in a narrative, as opposed to a media-trained 8-word sound bite." The short answer is, consumers will be surprised with how much the PS3 can do outside of gaming, and how intuitive it will be. Will they download digital pictures for the first time? No. But they'll see how much easier it is on a PS3 compared to what they've done traditionally on a PC. How intuitive and how all-encompassing the machine is will surprise consumers who already own it, and those who haven't bought it yet. GP: How well do you think that message is getting out there? That the PS3 has more going on than just gaming? TRETTON: The honest answer is that it's a struggle for us as a company, and it's a struggle for any gaming company. You want to stay true to your roots as a gaming company. At the end of the day, the reason why this machine will be successful is because it's the ultimate gaming system. But I think we do the industry and the technology an injustice if we assume that all gamers care about is gaming and that they don't do anything else with their time. Because our roots have been in creating hardware and software and peripherals, we rely on other companies within the Sony corporation to help enunciate that vision. I think the learning experience through PSP is, "we're the ones who care about it most, and we're the ones who have to drive the message." So we're finding ourselves wearing more hats than we have before. And I'll be the first to admit that it is not our field of expertise [to explain all of this]. I think creating the technology is something we do well, but explaining the applications of that technology is something we've gotta get better at. GP: Switching gears here, but there's a topic I've been thinking about: media coverage of the PS3. The example I always give is this: before the launch, Sony was criticized for not meeting supply. But now that it's launched, you can find them in stores and suddenly the critics say PS3 isn't selling out. It almost seems like Sony can't win. In short, do you think the PS3 is getting a fair shake from the media, particularly internet blogs? TRETTON: That's a great question. As I look out at the world in general, leadership comes with a price. People admire leaders, but there's a fair degree of envy, of wanting to see [leaders] stumble. I think you're right: there's a definite case of "you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't" in that the glass is always half-empty. The good news is, [the criticism] isn't an accurate reflection on the success of the company, or of consumer's satisfaction with the PS3. I think if you talk to the million people who bought the PS3 in North America, you'll find overwhelming satisfaction. We have a new phenomenon as well in recent years, something we didn't have during the PlayStation or PlayStation 2. And that is everybody is a journalist - if you have a PC, then you're a journalist. There are a lot of people weighing in with opinions who are just individual consumers, a very small and vocal group of consumers, that just want everything for free. I'd love that to be the case, but that's not how the world works. GP: What's your view of the next-gen landscape? Where are Nintendo and Microsoft at now, compared to where PS3 is at? TRETTON: I've been doing this for a long time. And while I've always been pleased by what we have to offer at Sony, I'm always envious of any competitive advantage or creative opportunities that our competitors bring to market. One of the things that I always admired about Nintendo, with its portable strategy, is that they could attack the consumer from many angles. They aren't just in the console business; they're in the portable business. I really feel like Sony is in a better shape now than we've ever been in terms of having a solution for all consumers, whether they're budget-conscious or cutting edge, whether they're hardcore gamers or casual gamers, or on-the-go or [stay-at-home gamers]. The big advantage that we have is that these are completely related experiences; You start with the PS2, a $129 investment, you've got this huge library that spans from the hardcore gamer with God of War, to the very casual gamer, to the physical gamer with Singstar. The thing that was amazing about PSP is that people were spending a lot of time playing it at home. It's a great freedom-wielding device that has a nice relationship with PS2. You really have a family of products -- You don't have your console sitting in a closet gathering dust. They play off each other nicely. I don't know that everybody goes out buys all three platforms on day one. But from 2000 to the present, we've had some very nice consumer offerings that tie in very nicely. With PS3 and PSP, we're at the very early stages. With the PS2, it's the opposite message: we're seven seasons in, we're a long way from the end of the line. GP: I've been seeing more kids with PSPs, which surprises me (it's expensive). People are still out there buying the PSP. That says a lot. TRETTON: We try to take a long-term view. This is an industry where people panic -- everyone just runs to wherever the momentum is. Grand Theft Auto comes out, and everyone wants to make a free-roaming game. Before that, it was Tomb Raider rip-offs. I think one of the reasons that Sony has had so much staying power is that we've had that 10-year vision. Can you unveil the fruits of that 10-year vision the first 60 days of launch? No, you can't. But [we're] willing to take some lumps in the short-term, because in the long-term it will pay dividends. We've done that from the day we launched PlayStation, and I think the PS3 is very consistent with that vision. With the PSP, we didn't try to be everything to everybody. We didn't sell four-year-olds little pink PSPs. We targeted the mid-20's audience, hardcore console gamers. And we did a nice job of carving out that market, to the tune of over 25 million PSPs worldwide in less than two years. But we'll soon start the second phase, where we reach down to the teen market, and ultimately to the younger consumer [with the PSP]. But if you try to be everything to everybody from day one, you'll alienate a significant portion of the population. When I look at people in the street, it isn't surprising for me to see somebody in his twenties playing a PSP. I am surprised to see a little kid playing a PSP. Conversely, I've never really seen many adults playing [the DS], but I see a lot of little kids. We've always felt that people want to be like their older brother; they don't want to be like a little kid. I think in time, as the PSP matures, you should reach out the younger consumer. We like to start out with the early adopters and branch out from there. You can take the shotgun approach and go after everybody from day one. But if you intend to be the leader and you want to be around for ten years, you need a little more patience and perspective. It leads to criticism and a lot of second-guessing, but in the long run it really pays off.