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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

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    The Destiny: House of Wolves livestream this afternoon was chock full of information. Read onward for our full report. According to Bungie, Petra Venj, who serves the Queen, is the main story agent who leads the player through the main series of quests. Players who complete bounties will be able to level up in her […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch the livestream right here

    Bungie will host a Destiny: House of Wolves livestream at 2pm EDT today, and you can watch it right here. Watch live video from Bungie on www.twitch.tv The stream will introduce the new social space, The Reef, as well as gear upgrade paths. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 22 team includes Barcelona, Chelsea players

    This week’s FIFA 15 Team of the Week is now available for FIFA Ultimate Team players. Each team member, as with previous weeks, is selected base on the previous weekend’s matches. Here’s the list of players now available: Starting GK: Claudio Bravo – FC Barcelona (Spain) CB: Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus (Italy) CB: Ömer Toprak […]

  • Sony’s Spring Fever Sale winds down with Shovel Knight and Call of Duty discounts

    It’s the final week of Sony’s Spring Fever Sale which means more games have been added to the mix. Shovel Knight, which launches today is one offer, and the rest are all Cal of Duty titles. The Taken movie series is on sale as well. With Shovel Knight available today on PlayStation 3, PS4 and […]

  • Drivers for Xbox controllers, voice messages, more features available in Xbox One preview

    Microsoft has announced new features coming to Xbox One and the Xbox App on Windows 10 through the preview program this month. Some of the new features have been requested by the community for both Xbox One and Xbox One SmartGlass. Here’s what to expect, straight from the horse’s mouth: Xbox on Windows 10 Game […]

  • Total War: Warhammer has been announced for PC, Mac, SteamOS

    Total War: Warhammer has been announced after previous teases from The Creative Assembly touched upon it. The game will contain “gigantic monsters, flying creatures, legendary heroes and storms of magical power.” It is also the first in a trilogy which includes two additional standalone titles and extra content packs. It will feature thousands of warriors […]

  • This video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features a quest from the prologue

    A new video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, showing off the Precious Cargo quest contained in the game’s prologue. The quest tasks Geralt with helping a merchant retrieve a mysterious box from the swamps. The scene looks familiar, but we’ve seen so many videos for the game it’s hard to tell […]

  • Limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online kicks off tomorrow on consoles

    The limited public beta for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One tomorrow, and Sony has provided details on the tester for those who’ve been invited to participate. The beta test contains the full version of the game and will run from April 23-27, and will start and […]

  • Dying Light debuts in second place on Media Create charts

    Techland’s Dying Light made its debut in Japan lats week, coming in a respectable second place behind Nintendo’s Girls Mode 3: Kirakira Code. The zombie shooter sold 25,530 units on PlayStation 4, while the top earner for the week moved a little over 55,000 units on 3DS. Another western release when landed on the chart, […]

  • Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will release in the west this June

    Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven has been given a release date by XSEED Games, which announced the localization back in February. The title will launch for 3DS in North America on June 2 digitally and through retail. It will be an eShop only title in Europe and Australia when it releases on June 4. A […]

  • This Overlord video teases four new faces of evil

    A new Overlord game is in the works, going by the previous teasing and this video – which teases the possibility of four-payer co-op. Or just four characters to choose from. We don’t know just yet – all we know is the team is asking you to “join the fellowship.” A new entry in the […]

  • GTA movie will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar’s Sam Houser, the BBC confirms

    The GTA movie Game Changer will star Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar co-founder and president Sam Houser, theBBC has confirmed. The BBC also confirmed Bill Paxton will play Jack Thompson, a role Paxton already confirmed last week when speaking with Deadline. Here’s the synopsis per the BBC: “Conceived for an adult audience, this special 90-minute drama […]

  • Take a look at Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode

    Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold’s Classic Mode has received a trailer today. Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold will come with two modes, Classic and Story. Classic Mode was trailered today and in it, you’ll get to make your party by choosing from 13 classes. You’ll be able to customise them too using the character creation tool. Revamped […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows to come with new challenge mode

    Shovel Knight’s upcoming expansion Plague of Shadows will bring with it a new challenge mode. Shovel Knight developer Yacht Club Games has revealed the challenge mode, one of the new additions coming to the game with the free Plague of Shadows expansion. “Are you more into digging than distillation? Already have your Feats book long […]

  • Nvidia releases complete graphical guide for GTA 5

    Those with GeForce cards will be happy to know that Nvidia has released a comprehensive graphical tweaks guide for GTA 5. Nvidia usually produces graphical guides for the big AAA games, and GTA 5 is no different. Their guides offer in-depth coverage of each in-game setting, how much they affect framerate, if they can be […]

  • Cthulhu voodoo: why Bloodborne is the best Lovecraftian game

    Sherif Said tackles Bloodborne’s links to Lovecraftian horror, explaining why you should face the madness and immerse yourself in its lore. Spoilers inside. No other game could commit to its themes so religiously without feeling the need to compromise its vision and veer towards accessibility. Bloodborne stands tall above any game that dares attach itself […]

  • WWE 2K15 is coming to PC this year

    WWE 2K15 will make its way to PC this spring. WWE announced that WWE 2K15 will make its debut on PC in the spring. The game will be based on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, both of which came out in November. MyCareer and 2K Showaces modes are included, as well as all […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new mod adds snow to GTA Online

    If you’re looking to get some snow in your GTA Online, someone figured out a way. Modder ECB2 created a mod that works with GTA Online on PC. The mod is called “Snow in GTA Online” and it does what it says on the tin. YouTube channel imperfectplayers captured a video showing it in action. […]

  • Deals with Gold: Call of Duty edition

    Xbox Live Deals with Gold for the week of April 20 are now live with mostly Call of Duty games. Various Call of Duty games are on sale on Xbox One and Xbox 360 through Xbox Live this week. Indie games Never Alone and We Are Doomed managed to sneak in as well. With the […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: PSN sign in problems fixed in new patch

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Mortal Kombat X and it brings an end to the aggravating sing in issue encountered by some users on PS4. Mortal Kombat X 1.03 patch has been released. The patch fixes bug CE-34878-0, which affected the PlayStation 4 version. The bug caused users to have to log in and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: new patch fixes Windows Media Player issue, getting stuck in the clouds

    GTA 5 has received a new patch on PC to fix issues caused by the lack of Windows Media Player and getting stuck between online matches. Patch 335.1 is now available to all owners of GTA 5 on PC. The strange issue that affected those who didn’t have Windows Media Player installed, has been fixed. […]

  • Halo 3: ODST and Relic remake come to The Master Chief Collection in May

    Halo 3: ODST and Halo 2′s Relic map remake are coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection next month. 343 Industries has announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection owners will get Halo 3: ODST campaign and the Relic remake in the next content update, due in May. And as promised, the April update has […]

  • Rockstar says Social Club wasn’t hacked, account details leaked from other websites

    Following a number of reports from users who had their Social Club accounts hijacked, Rockstar has confirmed that the service has not been hacked. Over the last couple of days, a few users on Reddit and Rockstar Twitter support started reporting getting kicked out of their GTA Online sessions and seeing an error telling them […]

  • That Destiny: House of Wolves teaser is packed with new intel, Reef reveal at 11.00am PST today

    The new Destiny: House of Wolves social space was revealed more fully than you might believe in today’s teaser. A teaser for a Destiny: House of Wolves’ new social space went live earlier to advertise today’s full reveal. But resident Destiny expert Arekkz went over the teaser with his very fine-toothed comb and turned up […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront content not shaped by DLC plans, says producer

    Star Wars Battlefront may have DLC on the cards already, but DICE hasn’t built the game with extra content in mind, apparently. Star Wars Battlefront releases on November 17, and then on December 8, before the launch of the new movie, it’ll receive a slab of tie-in DLC. This early, pre-meditated content drop is a […]

  • We’ll finally get a look at Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June

    CI Games will show off Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 at E3 in June, according to the event’s official website. The Lords of the Fallen developer confirmed the game was in the works back in December as a AAA “production effort”. It is set during a modern day conflict in Eastern Europe and players will be […]

  • Ultima 7 Complete, Wing Commander 3, others added to Humble Origin Bundle 2

    The Humble Origin Bundle 2 has been updated with four more titles. The new titles are for Windows only and are SimCity 2000, Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom and Ultima 7: The Complete Edition. All can be yours if you pay above the current average, which […]

  • Don’t Starve Together has been updated to inlcude Reign of Giants expansion

    Don’t Starve Together has been updated and now includes “the vast majority” of the Reign of Giants content. Players who currently own Don’t Starve on Steam will get Don’t Starve Together for free when it exits Early-Access. During Early-Access, current owners of Don’t Starve get 2 copies of Don’t Starve Together through the Frontier Pack […]

  • Xbox Live Gold Members can play NBA 2K15 for free this weekend

    NBA 2K15 is free to play this weekend on Xbox Live for Gold Members in celebration of the NBA Playoffs. All Gold Members can play the basketball game for free starting at noon PDT April 24 through 12.01am Monday, April 27. Should you decide you want to purchase the game, your progress will carry over […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access and is 10% off

    Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power has finally arrived on Steam Early Access and until April 28, you can knock 10% off the list price. After that, the title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99. There’s also a three-pack available if you want to buy some friends a gift. It will run you $44.99 with the 10% […]

  • You can now grab Killing Floor 2 through Steam Early Access

    Killing Floor 2 is now available through Steam Early Access. Players who purchase Killing Floor 2 during Early Access for $29.99/₤19.99/€26.99 will given free content which carries over to the full release and even more content upon release. The Early Access version of the game contains the following, per Tripwire: Three non-linear levels – The […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves livestream will reveal The Reef social space tomorrow

    A Destiny Twitch stream will take place tomorrow and provide a sneak peek at the House of Wolves expansion. The stream takes place at 11am PDT/2pm EDT tomorrow and will show The Reef social space along with a look at new Vendors. House of Wolves contains new Strike missions, The Prison of Elders three-player arena […]