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Jack Talks Back: Sony on critics, competitors, and the PS3

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Bro Buzz: The PS3 is as much as multimedia machine as it is a games console. How is Sony doing when it comes to spreading that message? Jack Tretton: The honest answer is that it's a struggle for us as a company, as 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.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.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. $599 is a lot of money, but it's the world's worst-kept secret that we're selling it at a significant investment from Sony. We're investing along with the consumer." --Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America Vicious Sid: Switching gears here, but I'd like to talk 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? Jack 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. Vicious Sid: What does Sony need to do to make the PS3 as big as the PSX and PS2? Jack Tretton: Never resting on our laurels. With the PlayStation, we ushered in a new demographic, a more diverse gaming experience, and 3D graphics where people were used to 2D. And we could have said "we were successful there, so let's do a [PlayStation 1.5] and see if we can milk this audience a little bit longer." But we decided that we really needed to go back to the drawing board and provide that "wow" factor for the PS2. Consumer expectations keep rising higher and higher. The easy job would be making a PlayStation 2.5, selling it for $199 or $299, and making it a clearl improvement over the PlayStation 2 but only marginally better. [We could have said] "We're already the market leader, we've got the momentum, so why take risks?" But we've never been about that. So we're going to take some risks and give consumers the technology that they'll need for the next ten years. A lot of people in early 2007 are saying "Well, I don't need the PS3's technology." But we know, given where technology's headed, that they're going to want it. And they'll want to invest in it, and they'll pay more for it than they would with the PlayStation 3. You're already seeing it now, where people are adding new configurations to hard disk drives, movie players, and so on. That's technology that [we integrated into] the PlayStation 3. By including Blu-ray in the PS3 we're taking some lumps in the short term so we can say 'I told you so' in the long term." Vicious Sid: Let's talk online strategy. What does PlayStation Network have that Xbox Live doesn't? Jack Tretton: First and foremost, it's free. And there's no "free, but..." You plug it in, log onto the network and you're immediately downloading demos and movie content. You're able to play Resistance: Fall of Man against people all over the country. You're having a robust online experience without signing up for some service [like Xbox Live]. There's content available for purchase, if you want to download something like Blast Factor, but that's your choice. There's no cost of entry. But the caveat is, we're only a few months into the PS3 online experience. By no means have we revealed our entire hand in what we intend to bring to consumers. The online experience is very robust right now, but honestly it's nowhere near where we want it to be. It's still in the very early stages. It's the grand opening of the store and the paint's still drying, we're still hanging up all the merchandise. You'll see that evolve very quickly. Ultimately, the consumer will be able to choose what interests them, and they won't be force-fed: they can go from publisher to publisher, from business model to business model, and find the one that interests them. Some players may only care about SOCOM, and they don't want to pay for another game that they're not interested in. As a consumer, that's how I prefer to buy. I don't like to order my food before I go into the restaurant, I like to look over the menu and decide how hungry I am and what I want to eat. You will see peripherals coming from SCEA that will address the interests of the U.S. consumer. I don't have anything to tell you specifically, but we're open to changing the Sixaxis controller." Bro Buzz: What are your thoughts about the PS3's price? Is it too high? Jack Tretton: A lot of the technology that we offer consumers they may not realize they need yet. But to show them the kind of games that we'll ultimately show them, then they need this technology: the Blu-ray drive and the 60 gig hard drive. $599 is a lot of money, but it's the world's worst-kept secret that we're selling it at a significant investment from Sony. The consumer is investing for $599, but we're investing along with them. We're hoping that investment will return profitability to us over time as we manufacture more and more units. For [$599], the consumer will see that paid off in time in spades. You could get a machine that costs less money, but if you're not happy with the games or if the system becomes obsolete in less than five years, you won't think about how much you saved but how much you wasted. Those PlayStations and PlayStation 2s paid off for ten years, and [so will the PS3]. I'll stack our $599 price tag and our technology against our competition all day long. In the end, consumers will find they got a great deal of value. I won't deny that $599 is a lot of money. It's clearly an investment. I won't tell you I've got [$599] in my back pocket. But I'm also a big believer in "you get what you pay for."



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By including Blu-ray in the PS3 we're taking some lumps in the short term so we can say 'I told you so' in the long term.
Haha I love it. So true.



PSN ID: Kwaad


I fly this flag in victory!

As much as they try to spin their sales numbers Sony intended on shipping "...two million units in its first month of launch, four million by the end of the year, and six million by the end of its fiscal year, which ends in March 31. " http://www.gamespot.com/e3/e3story.html?sid=6149470 One would assume that Sony expected sales to closely match their shipped numbers so he has to be disapointed with its current performance ...



I think Ps3 will see good sails in March 300K in NorthAmerica 1M+ in Eu+ others and 100-150k in Japan 3.6m-4.0m sold in 1 April total and 5m-6m shiped and after march wee see 300k a month in North America sold 300k in Eu+ others and 100-150k a month sold in japan depending on "games" so a good 700k sold each month and a 1m shiped each month start april



His comment about the PS3 being built to last 10 years is crazy. Who knows how fast technology is going to advance? Maybe they are right, but I am having a hard time believing that the PS3 will last 10 years.