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Jim Ryan: "PS3 has a long way to go yet"

CVG speaks with the Sony Europe CEO to discuss hardware, E3 and the future

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At times we've seen the Vita outsold by the PSP in Japan - what does it need to succeed there? Is it a price cut? Is it different kinds of games?
RYAN: We're not at the stage of thinking about price cuts. In Europe we're three months in - in Japan a little bit longer. I think that all history in the Japanese market indicates that it's real killer content that provides the stimulus to hardware sales - and that continues to be the case. There's a lot going on - a lot of very Japanese specific content that wouldn't really resonate with the Western world. We're very relaxed and confident about the prospects for Vita this year and beyond.

For the last couple of years when I spoke to Andy House we talked a lot about 3D. This year we weren't even given the glasses at the show. Is it a technology that's being marginalised?
RYAN: No, I just think that it's something that's now moving into the mature phase. You only have so much time at these things, and there was an attempt at yesterday's conference to make it shorter - which I thought was excellent. 3D was the new thing two years ago when you were chatting to Andy about it, it's not the new thing anymore - it's just part of the bedrock of content development and publishing.

So will the major first party games still be supporting 3D as standard?
RYAN: Where appropriate, yes. Not where it doesn't make sense, but where appropriate - absolutely.

You also got a good response for talking about your publishing fund for indie games. As far as I'm aware the other two platform holders didn't even discuss that. Does it feel anachronistic at all that they're not talking about that subject?
RYAN: I can't really speak for other platform holders - they have their strategies, we have ours. This is something that really came off the ground with the Minis program a couple of years back, as an incubation project for smaller developers it worked really well. We're excited to keep on doing it. We think it's great.

What is it about the PSN platform that proves particularly attractive to those developers?
RYAN: I think the efforts that we go to with this pub-funded incubation activity, it makes the business model stuff much more manageable to these smaller developers who often don't have access to financial support. I think that's a really big part of it.

Another key theme of this year's E3 has been second screens. We've heard about Microsoft's Smart Glass, we know about the Wii U GamePad, and previously Sony has shown Vita being used as a second screen. Is that still a big thing that's being implemented?
RYAN: Yes, one of our main strategies is this broadening of the PlayStation ecosystem - whether it's the use of Vita in some sort of second screen capacity or whether it's like the announcements yesterday of PlayStation Mobile. We think that ubiquitous access to content is something that consumers are expecting and are entitled to. It's one of the great things about a company like Sony is that we can provide it. We're very pleased to do that.

Nintendo aside, there's been a lot of talk about how violent a lot of the games at this year's E3 are. I've seen a lot of throat-stabs specifically. As an industry we can be very defensive and point to Hollywood, but to me there's a risk that we're seen to be a one trick pony - and that trick is ultra-violence. What's your take on that?
RYAN: I think that this is something that we do worry about quite a lot, but the range of content that you saw at the Sony Exhibition yesterday refutes that a little bit. There was a lot that had very little violence to it. God of War, for example. [laughs]

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