The new President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe talks to PlayStation.com.
How has PlayStation changed since you were last a part of the family (at SCEA)?
I am someone with Sony in my blood. I joined Sony in 1990 and was first involved with PlayStation in 1992, when it was still a secret project nicknamed PSX. I only left the PlayStation family in 2005 to go back to the wider Sony group, so I feel that I have always been part of the family. That said, Sony Computer Entertainment has a business that constantly changes, grows and innovates.
Although the foundations and ethos of the company have not changed, certain areas have and it is these that I have to ensure that I am fully up to speed with. This can be seen most clearly with the emphasis on network. The development and potential of PlayStation Network makes the challenge of leading the company forward more interesting than ever. It's tremendously exciting to be in a position to truly influence and lead critical changes to how we do business.
How does SCEE plan to connect with the various audience types that enjoy our products?
What makes PlayStation and SCEE in particular so important in the entertainment industry is the diversity of our products. First and foremost, we are a gaming company and therefore our priority is to create interesting, fun and varied games. When you look at our software line-up for 2009, you can clearly see how we have achieved those three aspects.
We have created intense experiences with games such as MAG, Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, whilst also offering more social, family oriented fun with games such as SingStar, Buzz! and EyePet. No one else offers such a diverse line-up.
But what makes our products even more special is that not only can you play the best games in the market, but you can watch films, listen to music, surf the Internet and much more, everything you need for the complete entertainment experience. There really is something for everyone in the family and that is what makes PlayStation so special.
Which games stood out for you from the ones shown at E3 2009?
There were many great games shown at E3 and it is difficult to highlight any in particular. However, it was very exciting to get the first glimpse of Trico, that latest game from Team Ico. They make such incredible games and it is very exciting to see what they can do on PS3.
Other games that really caught my eye were GT PSP, GT 5 and MAG. I'm a big GT fan and to have it coming to both PS3 and PSP is very exciting. The quality of both games is truly remarkable and really shows what both systems are capable of.
MAG is a great example of the type of innovation that we bring to our games. It is not a simple military game, but by introducing a 256 person online battle opens up the game to a truly original experience.
I think all of these games will capture people's imaginations this year.
What are the key new features in PSPgo?
The idea behind PSPgo, is to make PSP even more portable and even more accessible. It is significantly smaller than PSP-3000, which has been made possible with the new sliding screen. Our audience's demand for downloadable content has grown dramatically and PSPgo caters for this by being a download-only device without a UMD disc drive. Essentially PSPgo and PSP-3000 are the same device, but PSPgo simply offers a different, more portable way to interact with connected entertainment.
How will PSPgo change people's experience of PlayStation on the go?
I think PSPgo will add an extra dimension to PSP. PSP-3000 continues to be a great success for us since it launched last year and with PSPgo alongside we can offer extra choice, something that PlayStation fans are always asking for. PSPgo offers extra portability due to its smaller size and will resonate with the current generation who want to download their content.
How will the PlayStation family of products and communities continue to grow, including PlayStation Home?
If you look back over the past year, you can clearly see that a great deal has changed. We offered an 80GB and 160GB version of PS3, we introduced PSP-3000, a huge amount of content has been added to PSN and we of course opened the beta for Home to the public and have made many changes to the service, adding a great deal of content.
2009 promises to be the same. We will continue to innovate, continue to bring new content and most importantly, not rest on our laurels. The PlayStation community is our lifeblood and one of our top priorities for this year is to cultivate the community, communicate with them and of course help them to communicate with each other.
What is SCEE planning in terms of non-game content in the coming year?
Gaming is of course our number one priority, but providing a compelling non-game offering is very important to us. At E3 we announced that VidZone, the music streaming service would be available on PS3 from June 11. We will also introduce our video download service towards the end of 2009, which I believe will help cement PlayStation 3 as the device at the centre of the living room. When you combine this with all the non-game features already available on PS3 and PSP, you have a very rounded offering.
How has the download business performed and how will this continue to evolve?
The introduction of PSPgo highlights the importance of the download business to us. Our download business began when we introduced PlayStation Network, with the launch of PS3 in March 2007. In a short time, the business has grown at an incredible rate, with over 450m items having been downloaded and having generated over $250m worldwide. This kind of growth will be sustained and even increase as awareness grows among the PlayStation audience.
There have been a lot of classic titles being re-released as downloads, especially for PSP; do you see this continuing?
Most definitely. This is an area that has been very successful for us. Nostalgia plays such a major role in gaming and the opportunity to download old games to your PS3 or PSP has really helped to fuel it. There are many great games from the PS one days and if people want to play them, we are happy to offer them.
Check out PlayStation 4 at the PlayStation E3 press conference on 10 June 2013.