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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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    The latest free title to be added to EA’s Origin service is 1993′s Syndicate. For a limited time, you can download the game for free and keep it, much like previous titles such as Theme Hospital. The isometric, real-time, tactical-action game was developed by Bullfrog Productions and released in June 1993. It is a favorite […]

  • Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen now available

    The Ancient Labyrinth DLC for Lords of the Fallen is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It will run you $7.99 and builds upon the existing lore, characters, and storyline. Have a look at some new screenshots in the gallery below.

  • Shadowrun Online gets a name change and release date

    Shadowrun Online developer Cliffhanger Productions has announced the game’s name has been changed to Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown and a release date for April has been set. The new title was formed via the developer and its Kickstarter backers, with the goal being to let those unfamiliar with the game know by the title alone […]

  • Amazon hosting Rockstar and 2K Games sale

    Amazon is hosting a Rockstar Games and 2K Games sale with discounts Max Payne titles, Bully and more. Here’s just some of the offerings listed: Manhunt 2 PC Download $3.00 Max Payne 3 PC Download $4.00 Bully: Scholarship Edition PC Download $3.00 LA Noire Xbox 360 $2.95 L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition PC Download $6.00 […]

  • Destiny weekly reset video shows off Inferno Crucible gameplay

    We have a gameplay video featuring Inferno Crucible gameplay featured in the Destiny weekly reset for you. In it, Arekkz Gaming gives you a look at Inferno Crucible and goes over the various intricacies. You can read up on the weekly reset through the links.

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Episode 2 available from today

    Episode 2 for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is now available. If you’ve purchased the Complete Season, you’ll be able to download Episode 2 on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Steam players should see the episode go live around 9-10pm PST, and Xbox 360 owners should be able to download very early tomorrow morning, per Capcom […]

  • Here’s a sneak peek video for Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

    Fatshark Games has released a sneak peek video for its upcoming Games Workshop title, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Vermintide is a FPS, co-op action title coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and its set during the End Times of the Warhammer universe in the city of Ubersreik. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video shows Ascendance DLC early access weapon

    As you know, Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now you can watch a trailer for the weapon. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun “on the fly,” and it also includes the OHM-Werewolf […]

  • March PS Plus games include OlliOlli 2, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, more

    March PlayStation Plus titles have popped up on the PS Plus page. Noticed by NeoGAF user skynidas, the titles include: OlliOlli2 (PS4/VITA) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4) Counterspy (PS4/PS3) Papo & Yo (PS3) Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (PS3) A notice has also been posted on the EU PS […]

  • Sci-fi horror game Caffeine will release on Xbox One, PS4 alongside PC – new trailer

    Caffeine creator Dylan Browne has announced the Unreal Engine 4 game will be released on Xbox One. The game will be published through Microsoft’s Indie Program. As previously announced, it is also coming to PC and and now PlayStation 4. Caffeine is a sci-fi horror game which stars a young boy who has been abandoned […]

  • Xbox 360 Preview program invites going out this month

    Much like the Xbox One Preview program, starting early this month, invites for the Xbox 360 Preview program will start rolling out. Select invitees will be able to join program directly from their Xbox 360. A special Xbox Live message will be sent, directing users to head over to their Settings page. Further instructions are […]

  • Tron: Legacy director in negotiations for Gran Turismo film

    Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is said to be in early negotiations to direct the Gran Turismo film. This is according to the Hollywood Reporter, which states Michael De Luca is still slated as one of the producers alongside Matt Milam, Dana Brunetti, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin and Elizabeth Cantillon. Plot details are still unknown […]

  • Fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation is available for download

    The Trigger, which is is the fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation, is available to download from today. In it, players will “compete against the clock” across three new maps in Survivor Mode. Set before the events of the main game, players step into the shoes of Sevastopol Station’s Ricardo who will do what he […]

  • HBO Go app now available on PlayStation 4

    Sony has announced the HBO Go app will be made available for download later today for PlayStation 4. The app works just like the PS version. Now you can watch True Detective, Game of Thrones, Veep and more through your console. Information on installation is available through the PS Blog.

  • Skyrim mods no longer restricted to 100MB in size

    Bethesda has announced a beta for Creation Kit update 1.9.33, lifts the 100MB size restriction for Skyrim mod makers. The beta is for both Skyrim’s PC launcher and the Creation Kit which will allow for unlimited file sizes. Here are the notes: Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods […]

  • Mad Max release date set for September, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions canned

    Mad Max from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been given a September release date, along with the new of a last-gen cancellation. The axing of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were announced via Game Informer. Mad Max is the magazine’s featured game for the April issue. Avalanche, according GI, nixed development on […]

  • MGS 5: The Phantom Pain out in September, Kojima “closing the loop” on saga

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be released in September, according to an IGN Italy video, which also features Hideo Kojima discussing “With Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally “closing the loop” on the Metal Gear saga. The video has since been removed, but an image cap of the date is posted above. […]

  • Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Energy Car Pack now available

    The Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is available now, alongside the free car for March. The free car is the Acura Integra Type-R, and the Rockstar pack included the following vehicles: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC 2015 Subaru WRX STI 1996 BMW 850CSi 2015 Jaguar XFR-S 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert […]

  • 3DS firmware update kills web browser exploit

    Nintendo has issued a 3DS firmware update which fixes a web browser exploit that was being used to run pirated Game Boy Color ROMs since January as well as inject code within downloadable games. Another piece of code, per Eurogamer, changed the setting on the handheld to make it region-free. The exploit was only available […]

  • Unreal Tournament video shows updated textures on Outpost 23

    The latest footage from Epic’s new Unreal Tournament has surfaced, and it shows off the game’s first high-textured map which is called Outpost 23. As you can see from Zaccubus’ video, its the same are which Epic showed in the flythrough video from last year, only with updated textures and some new areas outside. The […]

  • Final add-on for Sunset Overdrive arrives in April

    The final add-on for Sunset Overdrive, Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines, will be released in April. On April 1 to be exact. No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke from Insomniac Games either. Below, you can watch a fist-look at the new story, area, and traversal mechanic.

  • Heroes of the Storm playable at EGX Rezzed

    Heroes of the Storm will be playable at EGX Rezzed. This will be the first UK public hands-on with the online team brawler. Blizzard will also host giveaways and friendly tournaments at its stand. Tickets for all three days of Rezzed are still available, and you can purchase a pass through the official website. EGX […]

  • PES 2015 Data Pack 4 coming next week with Winter Transfers, new faces

    Data Pack 4 for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has been dated, and it updates the game with Winter Transfers, new player faces, and additional stadiums. The latest free update contains real-time player transfers made within the January window, and player ratings have also been updated. Additionally, a number of improved likenesses to key players will […]

  • Here’s the changelog for Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5

    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]

  • Game of Thrones, Mortal Kombat X, Batman mobile games on the way

    Warner Bros. has announced free-to-play mobile titles spanning its DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Game of Thrones properties. The following five new games under development are: Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios: The game blends fighting and card collection with cinematic gameplay and Fatalities. Play as both classic and fighters, and if you own the […]

  • Win! Beta access to new MMORPG Skyforge and DLC worth $70

    We have ten Wrath of the Gods Founders Packs to giveaway for new RPG Skyforge, worth over $70. All you need to do to win a Wrath of the Gods pack is enter your details in the form below and we’ll pick 10 winners at random on Thursday, March 5, after 3pm GMT. Skyforge is […]

  • PC gaming expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018

    PC gaming is alive and well. In fact, it’s expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018. According to game-business group Open Gaming Alliance, the PC gaming industry is expected to grow beyond its current $26 billion worth and to a massive $35 billion by the year 2018. The information is based on data collected […]

  • Advanced Warfare: new patch adds new weapon, Master Prestige ranks, more

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has received a new patch that gives season pass holders early access to a new weapon and everyone else a myriad of fixes and additions. The patch went live today on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, without any official notes. CharlieIntel reports that among the new additions is the new […]

  • Destiny’s end game and raids explained

    Destiny’s end game can be a bit obtuse to those not used to MMO games. Fear not, we’ve got a few quick tips on how to crack it. Arekkz Gaming has a video for new players of Destiny or those who are looking to brush up on their knowledge of the game. Today’s theme is […]

  • Capcom adds local co-op to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PC

    Following fan outrage over lack of local co-op support for the PC version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom has now added it. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 now officially supports split-screen local co-op in both campaign and raid mode. The update is currently in beta on Steam, but anyone can opt-in to try it. Capcom […]