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PS4 boss: ‘We will launch with all guns blazing’

Wednesday, 12 June 2013 01:04 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Jim Ryan, president of SCE Europe, is ready to launch PS4 with everything at his disposal. He speaks to Patrick Garratt on always-on, DRM and the most explosive E3 press conference for years.

“We’re going to go for it. We’re going to go for it… No messing around. All guns blazing.”

Sony’s 2013 E3 press conference has already passed into legend. The crowd of thousands whooped as hard as it’s possible to whoop, delighting PlayStation bosses Jack Tretton and Andrew House as they delivered a message of openness and cheapness to a core infuriated by Microsoft’s Xbox One policies. The PlayStation executive team had a good day.

Thus, SCE Europe president Jim Ryan was in buoyant mood today, promising a full-power PlayStation 4 launch and facing direct questions about DRM and pricing policy to the games press. He spoke to me about on why Sony avoided always-on, why you’ll have to pay for PS4 multiplayer and more.

VG247: The PlayStation exec team had quite a good day yesterday. Did you expect it to go as well as it did?

Jim Ryan: I think we were pretty confident that we had a good story to tell. I have to say that we were slightly surprised it went as well as it did [laughs].

Yeah. I’ve been in a lot of those press conferences, and I’ve never seen that kind of reaction.

I’ve been coming 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Obviously, you’re significantly cheaper than Xbox One. Did you suspect that would be the case?

We really didn’t know. Obviously, we’re quite happy with the way it’s played out. At least for now.

Sony has experience of being the more expensive machine.

Plenty of experience. We’re good at that.

[Laughs] How important is it to be cheaper?

I think it’s one of the factors, and it’s obviously a significant factor. Obviously, without games it’s just a brick underneath your television. Just talking about the UK; I’ve gone on record as saying the UK is a market in which we have under-performed over the course of three or four or five years, and this generation is the time when we have to put that right. This price advantage is going to be helpful in giving us a shot at doing that.

Is the need to be more aggressive a PlayStation-wide thing across America, Japan and Europe? Is this is a policy across the entire exec team?

I think in order to survive in this industry you have to be aggressive, even if you’re doing it from a position of market dominance as we have in somewhere like Spain. Even there, you have to have a pretty aggressive stance to business if you’re going to retain leadership. So, yes. You can take these things too far, but yes, we intend to be aggressive.

If we can talk about DRM a little. Personally, I had no idea it would be such a hot issue coming into E3. Was that the same for Sony?

Obviously, there’d been a fair bit of chit-chat online over the preceeding two weeks, so we were aware that it was something people quite strongly about. All that said, our policies in this space, whether it’s with regard to used games or whether it’s with regard to having to be connected or not, those policies have been set well in advance of the last month or so. We felt it reasonable, given all the chit-chat there’d been over the preceeding couple of weeks, to highlight our stance on these matters. I think the audience reaction vindicated that decision.

How important is it to be seen as less restrictive to the core? It’s fair to say that you exploited an opportunity in the press conference. Do you think this DRM issue is restricted to the core user-base, or does it have potential to bleed out into the wider market?

“If we consider the issue of an online connection being required; I look after a very large number of territories… where internet connectivity is not all that widespread in the home. If you’re talking about a mass level, an issue like that is very fundamental.”

There are various dimensions to this. If we consider the issue of an online connection being required; I look after a very large number of territories, including lots of places in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, where internet connectivity is not all that widespread in the home. If you’re talking about a mass level, an issue like that is very fundamental. We take a long-term view on those markets, and we invest heavily in them. In those places it isn’t a core gamer issue: it’s a fundamental issue.

There are various levels on which you can look at these things. The gaming eco-system in the UK is a somewhat fragile one. That’s another factor. We all know just how difficult it is for retailers, and while we’re never going to make a policy decision to cushion the lives of video game retailers in a particular market, it’s a factor that we need our retail partners to survive and hopefully prosper. That very fragile ecosystem is one I feel shouldn’t be lightly tampered with.

I want to be clear on this. If a publisher dictates it, will PS4 not play a used game? Say, for the sake of argument, EA says that Battlefield 4 can only be played with a new license: will PS4 actually stop a used copy of that game being played?

It’s a very fair question. They’re allowed to do something like the Online Pass feature, which doesn’t block or stop it…

It just gives an option to pay.

It gives an option to charge. I don’t think they can block it.

PR: If it involves system changes to PS4, then they can’t do it.

Ryan: Can we check that?

PR: Absolutely.

Ryan: It’s a fair question, and one I should know the answer to. Basically, what we’re saying is that there’s no change from current-gen to next-gen. That’s basically all we’re saying. And very much the way the tide is going on current-gen is that people are not pursuing the Online Pass thing. It’s being dropped. I mean, some publishers have gone bankrupt and others are dropping it. We’re dropping it ourselves. It’s a fair question, but I view it, maybe naively, as somewhat hypothetical.

I deal very specifically in the core space, and there’s just general concern, especially as it’s become such a prominent issue. But if it’s a hypothetical situation, then it isn’t a real one.

It’s a diminishing phenomenon and I don’t see any reason why that should reverse itself.

With PS4 coming to market, are we likely to see price movements on PS3 and Vita this Christmas?

Absent of us having announced anything yesterday, I can’t really comment on that.

Why do you think the time is right to start charging for online gaming on PSN?

“The amount of people that engage in online multiplayer on PlayStation 3 is very considerable, and it’s important that they feel comfort that they’re not going to be charged for something that’s hitherto been free.”

The first point I want to make is that we’re not charging for PS3 or Vita customers. It’s purely a PS4 issue, and it’s a very important point to make. Obviously, the amount of people that engage in online multiplayer on PlayStation 3 is very considerable, and it’s important that they feel comfort that they’re not going to be charged for something that’s hitherto been free. The online experience on PS3 has got better, but at the beginning it was rather rudimentary, and the investment associated with it reflected that.

We are going to make a very significant step-change in the online experience with PlayStation 4. Some of that functionality was spoken about yesterday, and some on February 20, and that’s all great and we’re really happy that we’re able to make our online experience much more competitive, but the flipside is that this stuff comes at a cost. When you’re trying to achieve a £349 price-point and trying to deliver all this functionality, the money has to come from somewhere.

It seemed to us that the most appropriate way to do this was to put online multiplayer into the existing PS Plus package, and, like some other platforms, for something like €5, or whatever the sterling equivalent, per month, yes, there is a charge for online multiplayer, but there’s also a pretty damn strong package of content and services in there. As you’ll know, it’s pretty good.

I think we’ve done it in a reasonable and fair manner, and I don’t feel defensive in sitting here and looking at the whole package. Yes, we’re charging for online multiplayer, and we have to be quite straight about that and not hide it at all. It is part of PlayStation Plus, and all the good stuff that goes with that. Set that against the competitive offering and the overall value proposition that it’ll provide UK consumers, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. I don’t feel apologetic.

Finally, then, will PS4 be a front-heavy launch? Will you be pushing it very hard this holiday? PS3 was probably a little soft in the first year and then ramped up.

We’re going to go for it. We’re going to go for it. These UK guys will tell you, we’re going to go for it. No messing around. All guns blazing.

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15 Comments

  1. Gheritt White

    ATTN SONY: MY BODY IS READY.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. xxJPRACERxx

    Yeah… Except that for the DRM thing and price, the conference was really, really boring. MS conference was much entertaining.

    I’ve just played 4 hours straight of bf3 online after a break of maybe 3 months and I had a blast!

    In the end I’ve decided to wait 2-3 years to pick one of the next-gen console and I’ll upgrade my PC instead, going for a GTX 770 this week.

    edit: Nothing can’t beat mouse (well, trackball in my case) and keyboard!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. harr0w

    the only good thing at the sony presser was destiny when it didnt splutter to a halt.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @2 Hey, I’m doing the exact same thing. 770 and all.

    I’ll probably want a console eventually, and the PS4 suits me fine. If Destiny doesn’t make it to PC I’ll probably want one sooner rather than later.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. mkotechno

    Better put an impressive PS+ included games at launch, or I’m out.

    Note: A scaled down version of Driveclub is not impressive.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Beta

    I already have Plus, I have my pre-order. All I need now is the console underneath my telly! :D

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Silent Killer01

    “Yes, we’re charging for online multiplayer, and we have to be quite straight about that and not hide it at all.” ……ok

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Sylrissa

    Personally I thought Sony’s games line up far more my type of games, only Killer instinct and project spark really caught my attention from MS presentation, the rest was rather bland IMO.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. fearmonkey

    The games I most want to play are third party games, and third party games will play better on the most powerful console, and thats PS4. I dont take AC crashing or destiny stuttering as any sign of performance issues. Its playing on Dev boxes and its new code, anything can happen.
    Even trailers playing on PC had issues at this E3.

    II admit id love to play Ryse, and will miss Fable and Halo and a few others, but maybe eventually Ill get a Xbone or they will come to PC.

    My love of Xbox is still there but greatly diminished. Over the last few years MS has turned away from the hardcore at a sharp turn. I saw this coming as early as last year, but I never guessed at the restrictions, and that there would be such a performance difference between them. If I can love Sony again, I could love MS again, but they will have to earn it back, and I dont see them doing that for awhile.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. redwood

    so the ps3 owners don’t get charged :P yaaaaaaaaaaay that ‘s a good news

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Kabby

    Please. No more fucking guns. Of any kind.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. polygem

    i think it all makes sense. i can buy into that.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. manamana

    Lovely interview, Pat!

    #13 2 years ago
  14. CyberMarco

    Go Sony go!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. smokey_vols

    Pre-ordered my PS4 on Amazon! Release day can’t come soon enough.

    #15 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]