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Sony's Fergal Gara: 'We are nowhere close to giving up on PS3'

Interview: PlayStation UK managing director speaks to CVG about the master-plan for Christmas

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So people shouldn't expect an official price drop any time soon. It's understood that retail has space to lower the price, but an official price drop is not imminent?

Well the 12GB version has a meaningfully lower price point than the Slim version, and the 500GB model is around the same price. What retailers have is complete freedom, and Sony has significant funds to help achieve attractive deals at retail this Christmas.

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With regards to the Wii U, how big a competitor will it be this Christmas? Are both your markets the same?

I don't think it'll be the same market, and I think it's going to be interesting to see what market will pick it up. I have no doubt that people will be interested in the Wii U at launch. What the medium-term looks like, I don't think we know enough about what consumers will think.

If you look at the spread of the software, I think it gives a very broad message, from Nintendo's own products to core current-gen games. But will Call of Duty fans want to play Call of Duty on the Wii U? I've no idea. It feels like a stretch from the market they've been in. So clearly Nintendo is going for a broad proposition.

The message from Nintendo is 'wider and deeper'.

Yeah.

But I wonder whether that strategy lacks focus.

Yeah exactly. I've yet to meet someone who has picked out the killer experience. But it's the market that will decide so we'll watch it with interest. I don't believe there's a huge volume of Wii U systems set aside this Christmas for the UK, so the impact will be capped at the volume that's available.

Even we find it hard to judge the potential of the Wii U. Clearly people like getting their hands on it, but I just don't have much info on how many people want to buy it in the medium-term.

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PlayStation is clearly trying to merge Vita and PS3 with regards to cross-play, cross-buying and PlayStation Plus. Would the company consider a console and handheld bundle at retail?

Absolutely. We'd have nothing against that whatsoever. And it's not out of the question that we would do that this Christmas if we wanted to. We put together packages for retail, and there's no reason why we shouldn't create a 'Vita plus PS3' bundle, which could feature games that use cross-play, as well as include a PlayStation Plus subscription that both devices could use.

There is really a story there of the two consoles building a partnership. 'Better together', as I say. If we want to continue to promote the partnership between PS3 and Vita, we have to look at ways in which we can show that. Is a dual-console bundle box a perfect solution to that? I'm not sure, I think there's scope to have deals where people buy both the Vita and PS3, along with cross-play games and get a discount, that's a possibility right now.

If this idea of dual-screen gaming takes off, which is what Nintendo wants, clearly Sony has capacity to instantly compete in that market.

We do, and there's a lot of flexibility for that.

There's a perception that next year there will be new consoles and the current gen will fade out, but more recently there's a sense that PlayStation 3 will actually carry on for longer than people expect.

We're nowhere close to giving up on PS3. When you look at the UK market, it's easy to say that current consoles are fading. But if you look at PS3, it's holding up a lot better than others, so it warrants support.

But if you look at continental Europe, PS3 hasn't even peaked yet. Why would you run away from a console business when you're not even top of the hill? We're certainly not going to run away from it.

Completely understand, but the conflict of interests is the fact that - if you're too late on next gen consoles, you'll lose your head-start, and history has shown that the head-start in the next-gen race is crucial.

We do have a challenge to manage that, particularly in terms of dev studio resources. The more platforms you have, and the amount of rich content you have to deliver on all the systems you are supporting, clearly puts pressure on decisions made across the studio network, which is something we are battling with.

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