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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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    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]