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Interview – SCEE’s Andrew House

Wednesday, 16 June 2010 05:51 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

andrewhouse

Andrew House, president, CEO and CFO of SCEE, has been in the PlayStation business forever, it seems.

He’s held many executive positions within Sony – VP of marketing, CMO, and group executive to name a few – and he played an integral role in developing the PlayStation brand into a household name in North America.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that the gentleman knows a thing or two about Sony’s consoles and the business end of those products.

Being the inquisitive types, we wanted to pick his brain a bit, and lucky for us he was on hand today after Sony’s E3 press conference.

[Interview by Nathan Grayson]

VG247: Microsoft seems to be positioning its biggest guns in the casual sector. What about you? Do you see this as an opportunity to lure hardcore players away from Microsoft’s machine? What’s your focus in this regard, and do you think Microsoft is focusing too heavily on casual gaming?

Andrew House: I don’t think we take a simplistic, targeted view of the gaming universe. I don’t think we approach the market as saying “Let’s go casual, because that’s where everyone seems to be rushing to,” or “Let’s go hardcore!”

We’re in the business of mass entertainment – of creating experiences that are embraced by everybody. I think the critical thing around PlayStation Move is that it runs the gambit. What we tried to demonstrate in our press conference is that it’s equally powerful when applied to social games as when it is applied to more serious games – a SOCOM 4. Or the credibility it established by showing a brand new game like Sorcery that could equally well be played without Move, but is suddenly a more enhanced and deeper experience when you do have this interface and this controller.

And I also think that – for us – it’s about the precision of the movement, the depth that it generates. That really should be able to be applied across the board, regardless of whether these are casual experiences or more in-depth.

VG247: On that note, we’ve seen Kinect. It seems very precise and allows for full-body control. Why should players choose Move over Kinect?

Andrew House: I think number one is ease of development. I think it’s a lot easier to be able to apply Move to games that are in genres that are already in existence across a whole variety of experiences. I think that the comfort level of having a controller interface is still something I think the average consumer is going to want. I think the fact that we have these little things called buttons on there – that human beings have been kind of pretty used to as an interface for, you know, a few centuries now – is really part and parcel of why Move is probably the perfect combination of technologies within motion control.

Buttons haven’t been around for centuries, have they? Maybe about the last century. Victorian times. [laughs]. Are you positioning Move to be an essential part of the PS3 experience? Is it the future of the console?

House: Taking the question and rephrasing it a little, I’ve been asked “Is it a peripheral or is it a new platform?” I think it’s somewhere in-between. But to me, it has more of the impact of a new platform than just an add-on peripheral.

I think we intend this to be a centerpiece of the PlayStation 3 offering, but I wouldn’t say it to the exclusion of millions of players who are already out there using controllers to enjoy their games. That still has a very fundamental part and role to play.

How about 3D? Do you plan on using the PS3’s 3D functionality to get 3D TVs into homes the same way you’ve already used the console for Blu-Ray proliferation?

House: I definitely think that’s one part of the strategy, and I think it’s a key area where Sony Computer Entertainment can contribute to a wider Sony strategy that is centered around 3D. But I think– more importantly for me – is that we are in a unique position of being able to validate the 3D experience via a form of entertainment that isn’t just movies.

It’s interactive and potentially far more powerful.

I think, also, that the point of 3D is that we are in the process right now of demonstrating future potential. Whereas Move is here now, launching in September, and will be a very prominent part of games from now on.

I think 3D is part of a longer term strategy, but one where we continue to add more value to the PS3 that you already own. And I think that’s become a big theme for us, and I think that’s one of the reasons that – if you look at sales figures right now – PS3 is the only platform that’s showing consistent year-on-year growth. Because people are starting to see more and more potential of the machine.

The other final factor I would say about 3D is that – more than just being a tactic to promote 3D TVs – I think it’s also for us an important way of getting people to understand the power and interest of gaming. It’s an easy to understand way of perhaps welcoming in a new potential audience.

Is there going to be another PS3 price drop this year?

Lewis: I would say that we would have announced that today if we had plans to do so in the immediate future.

Ok. Onto the PSP now. The PSP’s been cleaning up in Japan, but elsewhere, it’s been on the ropes lately. What’s your plan going forward to reinvigorate sales of the console?

House: I think there’s two strands to that. One is a continued stream of good exclusive content – including that from first-party which we continue to work very hard on. But I think another important strand was something we announced fairly recently: the PSP Essentials line.

I think it’s important at this point in the life cycle to show a broad range of consumers that this is a really good value proposition, and having a whole set of really good, proven quality titles available at $9.99 is really a powerful message. And it’s something that we can do because of the UMD medium that we use and the fact that these games are well-established and have engendered really good sales worldwide.

So I think that’s another way we make this a very attractive value proposition and continue to sort of broaden that PSP spread.

Is there another PSP model on the horizon? Will get a glimpse of it this year perhaps?

House: No plans to discuss anything around next generation right now. I think it’s important that we keep our focus on building great content for the great devices we have out now.

Today you announced PlayStation+, which is a pricing model for PSN that includes a whole host of bonus content. Are you afraid, though, of dividing your consumer base between the haves and the have-nots? Those who have reaped the rewards of PS+ versus those who haven’t?

House: No, I don’t think so. I think that people are sort of used to models emerging particularly on the network whereby you pay for the degree of allegiance or involvement that you want. We’re offering this as an option.

I think it was in response to having heard from consumers great happiness about the variety of online services that we have been launching – about what’s available on the network overall. But there was also a voice that thirsted for more. They wanted more – to be part of a club that gets more and gets more on the network. So for that more involved consumer that wants to be more involved on the network, we made PlayStation+ available, and said, “There’s a price point associated.” [PR motions that we’re running low on time.]

The Xbox 360 and PS3 are hitting a very late mid-life. Graphically speaking, isn’t this where the PS3 is supposed to start pulling ahead? Do you see that becoming a factor in people’s decision to buy a console? Will PS3 finally live up to its reputation as the souped-up hotrod of the console world?

House: It’s likely to be a factor, but not the factor. I think there will be a variety of areas where – for me – PS3 is already hitting its stride for a longer life cycle. We’ve talked about 3D as being one of those capabilities.

I think one of the reasons a lot of people are starting to embrace PS3 and see value in it is, we shouldn’t forget that Blu-Ray was very new, and was in the middle of a format war when PS3 was first announced. Now there’s settled standard. It’s supported by every studio out there. And just the general awareness of Blu-Ray and HD has really taken on a life of its own in the past few years. So I think PS3 is really starting to take advantage of that.

You’re seeing it in the sales figures where we are now certainly in the power region – consistently and very forcefully outselling the 360 week in and week out.

You said in another interview that the PSPgo was released to test the waters of consumer behavior. Your finding: people like packaged stuff. Do you think we’ll ever go completely digital, or will physical media always be a factor?

House: I think it’s very difficult to make predictions because you’re asking a prediction about the degree of data capacity that will be involved in game experiences that we haven’t even seen yet.

The main reason I ask is that the PSPgo’s sales weren’t all that hot, but the iPhone’s managed to carve out an enormous all-digital market. It doesn’t have a slice of the pie. It is the pie. So why do you think the iPhone caught on where the PSPgo couldn’t?

House: I think that’s really interesting, but I think the data capacity becomes a real factor there. [iPhone games] are small-scale, data-tiny experiences, and clearly Apple has proved that there’s an online marketplace for that. But when I look at the trend toward bigger, deeper, more intense experiences – certainly on home consoles – I think packaged media will be around for quite some time.

I also think that – as you quite rightly quoted me – consumers have, even for their portable devices, an attachment to the games they already own in the packaged format that perhaps we underestimated.

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4 Comments

  1. nousemerk

    Great interview!

    #1 5 years ago
  2. MegaGeek1

    wow, great interview guys! Some tuff questions.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. No_PUDding

    Pat, you really need to start remembering the most important questions in gaming… Ever. I.e.

    Where was The Last Guardian at E3 Mr Sony Andrew House?

    #3 5 years ago
  4. AceTheGamer23

    vg247 did ask some very good question andrew house answer them well nicely done

    #4 5 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]

  • The Crew two-hour demo now available in US, tomorrow in the UK

    Ubisoft has announced a free trial of its driving MMO The Crew will be available tomorrow, March 25 in the UK. It’s live today in North America. For current players, the Vintage Car Pack and Vintage Live Update, including a new PvP mode, are now available. The Vintage Car Pack included the Chevrolet Corvette C2 […]

  • Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up and Pattern Texture Pack out from today

    A Mass Effect Mash-up pack and the Pattern Texture Pack will release on PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita today in North America and tomorrow in Europe. The Pattern Texture Pack is also available for Xbox consoles today. The Mass Effect Mash-Up pack contains the Mars Facility from Mass Effect 3 plus textures and craftable items […]

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

    An expansion for The Talos Principle has been announced titled Road to Gehenna. The expansion follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim’s messenger, as he explores a “strange, hidden part of the simulation” on a mission of “mercy and redemption.” Uriel is attempting to free the souls of the damned “at all costs.” Road to Gehenna […]

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon finally catches ‘em all – even the rare Mewtwo

    Twitch Plays Pokemon players have captured all 151 original Pokemon which were included in a modified version of Pokemon Red, and this includes the rare Mewtwo. It took 39 days for Twitch players to catch ‘em all. Have a look at the impressive feat for yourself below. Thanks, Polygon.

  • GameStop will have limited units of Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL back in stock

    Those who missed out on the Limited Edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL will have another opportunity to purchase it outside of eBay. Tomorrow only, GameStop stores in the United States will have four units in stock, according to and internal memo sent to Kotaku. This is every store in the country, and again, only […]

  • Second phase of Fortnite closed Alpha launches today

    Fortnite’s second closed Alpha test will go live this afternoon, according to the official website. Those currently participating will have until April 14 to test the online aspects for 12 hours per day (noon -12am EDT). All progress from the previous Alpha test will be wiped, and other changes are listed in the patch notes. […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon out now on PC, Xbox One

    As promised yesterday, the single-player DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, is now available on PC and Xbox One. It will run you or £11.99 or your regional equivalent. The new content expands the land of Thedas with mountainous regions and forests, and it is full of “vicious enemies.” Players will also be […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows Ascendance gameplay

    Activision has released a new gamepay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to support the Ascendance DLC which releases next week. Ascendance, will release first on Xbox consoles March 31 and includes the next chapter of the Exo Zombies Saga, Infected, along with four new multiplayer maps: Perplex, Site 244, Climate and Chop Shop. […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight will be a digital only release on PC – report

    It appears Batman: Arkham Knight will not see a physical release on PC, according to ShopTo. The retailer was told by its buyer the Rocksteady game will only be released on PC in digital form. ShopTo is currently double checking the information. If accurate, it is unknown if this will be case in North America […]

  • Bloodborne patch focusing on load times, performance optimizations in the works

    A patch for Bloodborne which will address load times is in the works, Sony has said The load times were one of the issues noted in Digital Foundry’s report on the From Software title. Sony told Eurogamer the patch would also explore other issues as well. “The development team is currently exploring another patch for […]

  • Gearbox would “love” to have entire Borderlands collection on current-gen

    An Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of the original Borderlands game is something Gearbox Software is interested in, according to studio boss Randy Pitchford. Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said should Borderlands: The Handsome Collection prove successful, 2K Games might consider a current-gen version. “The fact that The […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork shows the catacombs, dock, more

    Over the weekend we posted Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork along with news of a retail release in Europe. Today, we have better quality images of said artwork to share with you. Enjoy. The standalone prequel will be released digitally on May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in North America, and digitally on […]

  • Slender: The Arrival terrorizes PS4 and Xbox One this week

    In case you forgot, what with Bloodborne out today and other high profile releases of late, Slender: The Arrival is out today on PlayStation 4 in North America. The scary game will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow, March 25, and in Europe on PS4. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion on the original Slender game […]

  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]