Sony On 2008: Big Games, The Economy, Acquired Momentum
2008 is drawing to a close, and everyone is taking stock of the year. This includes big corporations, of course, and GamePro recently chatted with Sony's John Kohler to ask him about the current status of the PlayStation 3 and PSP, plus a variety of other topics.
First up, they wanted to know what Sony is "most proud of" regarding the PS3 in 2008, and Kohler's answer was simple and straightforward: "Game development." He goes on to talk about coming from behind and dealing with Microsoft's one-year lead, the fact that developers found the PS3 difficult to work with, and the price of the system. But these days, especially from a first-party point of view, things have changed considerably, and titles like Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet have really helped to solidify the increasing PS3 library. Of course, Kohler also mentioned the success of certain third-party titles on the PS3 - like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - and the Blu-Ray victory over HD-DVD. Next, they tackled the subject that's on everyone's mind lately: the economy. Kohler's response:
"It's definitely different in terms of the economy. I've been [at Sony] for 10 years now, so I saw the last recession in 1999 or 2000. We were just coming into the PlayStation 2's lifecycle at that time. We're seeing similar things this time, but we're very bullish on PS3 sales. We've seen a very strong run-up in the last few weeks on the PS3 and PSP hardware. Games are selling very well...we're forecasting big things this holiday. We're very aware of the economic situation, and we monitor that hourly to make sure our sales analysis is on point. But everything we're seeing points to a really good holiday season for Sony. I think we're going to have a good run of it [this holiday]."
GamePro further touched on the possibility of bringing PS2 games to the PS3 as downloadable content on the Store, and Kohler said they're "still sorting through that." Obviously, there are some "technical hurdles" involved in this sort of process and while he says nothing is "imminent," Sony is definitely pursuing the possibility, so we consider that good news. Remember, backwards compatibility for PS2 software has disappeared from the recent PS3 models. Lastly, Kohler mentions the PSP, and where he expects it to go in 2009:
"And for the PSP, next year will be fantastic. The number and quality of games that are coming under franchise umbrellas, including some that are very well know...you've seen the first already, with Resistance: Retribution, but there's a lot of other fantastic games coming for PSP. The tie between the PSP and the PS3 will be more firmly established, too. And the PS2 is still going strong in its ninth year. Our CEO, Jack Tretton, likes to say that "the only way to kill the PS2 is to stop supporting it." So the PS2 will be fully supported; we had 130 PS2 games in 2008, and we're looking at 100+ for 2009. The PS2 is still a very strong console. But the momentum behind the PS3 and PSP is going to be very strong, and we'll probably be talking to you next year with big smiles on our faces."
If you want to read the entire interview, feel free; they also talk about Home, the sales of Resistance 2 and LittleBigPlanet, and the Xbox 360 obtaining Netflix support. Good stuff.
12/9/2008 Ben Dutka