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Interviews

Interview: PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan

Key Sony executive on how Vita can become a profitable playground for other publishers

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But how hard will it be for developers and publishers to make games that can be played on both devices?
Yeah the development environments are rather different. PS Vita is a more PC-based environment whereas the PS3 is a more bespoke development environment. So the cross-over between both is rather limited.

So it sounds like there's not going to be a huge amount of games that will use the Cross-Buy service, nor does it look like many other publishers will use the service.
Well, I think our priority with publishers is to provide them an environment, in terms of installed base, where they can publish profitably on Vita. That's our challenge and it is something we have to rise to.

Yes and Shuhei Yoshida recently claimed that it had been difficult for Sony to attract publisher support on PS Vita.
I read his comments with interest, because at Gamescom I presented our Vita holiday line-up which includes games from EA, Ubisoft and Activision, so it clearly is possible [laughs]

I think the point that Shuhei is trying to make is that today there are so many platforms for games that these publishers have to place bets carefully. It's the job of the platform holder to explain why betting on their console is good business. We have been successful in getting Ubisoft, EA and Activision committing to the platform, and if you can demonstrate that you can get the big three to support your platform then the rest will follow.

Zoom

Usually the acid test for games consoles is whether or not they can make third-party games a success. Do you think any of the games you showed at Gamescom can be that success story?
I most definitely do. I think all four of those big third-party IPs [Need For Speed, Black Ops Declassified, FIFA 13, Assassin's Creed Vita] will be a success for us.

Assassin's Creed Liberation will be particularly interesting, and Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified is a huge brand that is exclusive to PS Vita. I think there's a lot of dedicated Call of Duty fans who will be very interested by that proposition.

In terms of handhelds, do you see Nintendo as being less of a direct competitor in this increasingly fragmented market?
I think Nintendo is always a competitor, and I think the PS Vita will skew to a younger demographic over time, as most consoles do. I think that, when Vita does skew to that demographic, there will possibly be some collision.

The game propositions are so different that there's plenty of space for them to live side by side. They are very different games propositions.

Nintendo lost money but gained momentum when it slashed the price of the 3DS. Is PS Vita not being cut in price because you're not willing to make that type of trade off?
We think about the cost and whole value proposition of the PS Vita a lot, but right now we've got these great four third-party games on PS Vita as well as LittleBigPlanet Vita and we really think that's going to do it for us holiday season. So we're going to give this price equation a really good go.

There was no mention of 3D at E3 and no mention of it at Gamescom. Is this something that you're still pursuing?
Where it makes sense, 3D technology will be included into our games. I wouldn't read too much into its omission. We spoke about it at E3 two years ago and everyone put their glasses on for the first time, and the next year we did the same and everyone did it again. Y'know, there comes a time when you don't need to talk about it any more.

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