Interviews

Sony's Andrew House: 'PlayStation can help turn Sony fortunes'

SCE's Group CEO discusses future opportunities in a tough business environment

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Wonderbook: Sony's new promising push into the casual market

You can see Wonderbook being an easy sell to parents - it's something for the PlayStation 3 designed to get them into books?
Exactly. And very frankly, that's why JK Rowling was so enthusiastic about it, and she gave the team some great pointers. You'll have seen people reacting to text and so on - I think that's very important as part of its proposition. It's magic, it's wonderful and there's a sense of play, but it is also a book.

We get castigated an awful lot in the interactive entertainment industry for a particular form of content, or types of games that are very prominent. I think it's a great opportunity for us to show that interactive forms of entertainment can be taken in other directions.

There was a general sense of disappointment with the absence of new PS Vita games at Sony's E3 press conference. So many people love PS Vita but its sales have been disappointing. Clearly it needs more key software, so why didn't Sony reveal many new games for the system at E3?
Well, we did hear about Call of Duty, and we did hear about Assassin's Creed.

We didn't see them, though?
Well, we'll show them when the time is right. But I think we gave a good sense of what those games are going to be, particularly in the case of Assassin's Creed. You can be assured that, whether it's first-party or third-party, there's a good raft of content in the works there.

I think we also showed that there's a commitment to broadening out network services other than games, whether it's YouTube or Hulu Plus, which aren't at the core of the PS Vita's offering, but provide additional convenience and fun.

Something else that we alluded to and will spend more time talking about is: given that this is our first network-connected portable games device, we're looking at other ways in which we can leverage whether it's the PSP content portfolio or PS One games, which got a good shout from the audience, and deliver those in a low-cost model that adds to the overall portfolio of content for the PS Vita.

So if we were remiss on not spending enough time on the PS Vita, I'll take that one under advisement, but you can rest assured it's not for the want of any sense of overall commitment. We know that killer games are going to be what sells this device. I think there are other aspects to the proposition that we can build in there, which will be attractive.

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The Last of Us: A bold new IP from Naughty Dog

One message from your E3 press conference was that there's plenty of life in the PS3 yet. But nevertheless the PS4 is looming. Can you tell us anything about it?
There's nothing to talk about on that front right now.

How does Sony stand now for the rest of the year, in terms of recovering from last year and acting in a more joined-up manner?
Looked at from the perspective of the games business, we're already forging a much greater degree of collaboration and dialogue with other Sony divisions than has hitherto existed. It will take time for us to benefit from that. But I think PlayStation Mobile is a good starting point there, where we're combining strength in the mobile space with strength in game development and game development environments, and then combining that with a good business model.

From the games business' point of view, we're quietly confident throughout the year. We've got a very strong software line-up which we think will translate into momentum for our platforms. If I threw one note of caution in there it would be that the macroeconomic situation has got to be a concern for any international business right now, and I think that's the large unknown. That and concomitant moves in currencies, which have particular effect on Sony's businesses, are two areas of concern that remain.

It was Jack Tretton at the E3 press conference who said that the PS3 "Is at the epicentre of gaming", the point being that the PS3 is a games console at heart, although there are other things you can do with it.

Absolutely. Getting that balance right is something that I would hope that we pride ourselves on. And again, I point back to three great, brand-new IPs that will get gamers excited. They will be gamers of different ages, with different profiles, but I think actions speak louder than words, and that's our way of showing that we're very committed to the PS3 at its core as a gaming device.

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