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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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  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]

  • EA explains why FIFA Ultimate Team transfer prices are now platform specific

    EA has posted a blog entry explaining its FIFA Ultimate Team transfer market price ranges which now include platform-specific pricing in order to best the coin sellers. EA said it has implemented the changes to FUT over the last several weeks because it should be “fair and fun for every player,” ultimately coming to the […]

  • Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness now available

    In case you forgot, Game of Thrones: Episode 3 – The Sword in the Darkness was released today. It is available on Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The third episode releases on iOS devices and Android tomorrow, March 26. The Sword in the Darkness finds Asher Forrester heading to Mereen […]

  • Bloodborne players are already documenting their crazy antics

    Bloodborne has been available for almost two days now in North America, and already players are posting interesting clips and character customization choices for the game. Below are interesting takes on creating a character and videos of a frustrating death and another full of blood coming from a very painful place – monster or not. […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team celebrates sixth year in existence with giveaways

    FIFA Ultimate Team is celebrating its sixth year in existence with special events running from today until March 29. According to EA, every FUT fan will be handed one free pack every day, and those who play at least one match in the FUT Birthday Cup will have a chance to win rare “tradable In-Forms” […]

  • Halo Online is a F2P PC game in development exclusively for Russia – video

    Halo Online is a free-to-play game which will launch this spring in Russia, and is in development with Saber Interactive. According the reveal event attended by IGN Russia, the game was designed to run well on lower-end PCs and runs on a modified Halo 3 engine. The game is set on a secret UNSC space […]

  • SteamWorld Dig Xbox One release expected in late May

    SteamWorld Dig is coming to Xbox One, developer Image & Form has announced. A firm release date hasn’t been announced, but the studio expects the title to arrive on the system in late May. “We’re preparing quite an elaborate Easter egg for the Xbox One version – a gaming thing that we really wanted to […]

  • SMITE celebrating first anniversary with a sale on skins, Ultimate God Pack

    Hi-Rez Studios is celebrating the first anniversary of SMITE with a sale. From today through Friday, March 27, the Ultimate God Pack, which includes all current and future Gods, will run you $19.99. Alll individual pre-launch skins are 50% off, and all Gem Packs will award bonus gems. In addition, from March 27-29, all SMITE […]

  • Borderlands 2 has sold around 12 million copies, says Gearbox

    Speaking with Microsoft’s Major Nelson in his podcast, Gearbox Software boss Randy Pitchford stated Borderlands 2 has sold somewhere around the 12 million mark. As of August 2014, it was announced by Take-Two in its financial report the 2012 game had sold-in 10 million units. Pitchford noted in the podcast he learned of the figures […]

  • Broken Age releasing on PS4 and Vita same day as Act 2 on PC

    Double Fine Productions has announced it will release Broken Age on the PlayStation Store next month. Act 2 will also be released on PC. The full Broken Age adventure will release on PlayStation 4 and Vita on April 28 in North America and April 29 in Europe. It features cross-buy and cross-save. Broken Age Act […]

  • Star Citizen earned another $1 million within two weeks – total hits $76 million

    Star Citizen continues its funding streak with backers pumping another $1 million into the game’s development in the last two weeks. The total earned for the space sim has now reached $76 million ($76,015,532 to be exact) with 851,395 backers contributing to the staggering figure. Star Citizen’s latest update was version 1.1 which included two […]

  • Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline top Media Create charts

    Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, Resident Evil Revelations 2 and Battlefield: Hardline were the big ticket debuts during the March 16-2 period in Japan, with each game claiming the top three slots on the Media Create charts, respectively. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD moved 92,094 on PlayStation 4, while Resident Evil Revelations 2 moved 73,373 units on […]

  • You can now learn English or Spanish on Xbox One with the Rosetta App

    Want to learn English or Spanish? Rosetta Stone has an App for that on Xbox One. According to the language teaching firm, Rosetta Stone’s Discover Languages, the new application teaches English and Spanish by way of immersive simulation. Users will virtually travel to learn vocabulary and grammar “necessary for real-world interactions.” Here’s how it works: […]

  • PayDay 2 and PayDay: The Heist have sold over 9 million units combined

    The PayDay franchise is a lucrative IP for Starbreeze and Overkill, as both games combined have sold over 9 million copies as of November 2014. The company has also sold over 8 million paid DLC packages since PayDay 2 was released in 2013 (via NeoGAF). In its Q2 half year report issued in February, net […]

  • Nintendo wants to “surprise” customers with NX, not expand upon existing hardware

    Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has firm wants to “surprise” players with its new NX system. Speaking in an interview with Nikkei, translated by Kotaku, Iwata wouldn’t go into details on the new system, but stated expanding on a current gaming system would be “dull.” “In the past few years, the idea of what [encompasses] a […]

  • Kojima Station show suspended

    In another episode in the the ongoing kerfuffle between Hideo Kojima and Konami, the publisher has suspended the Kojima Station web show. Recent tweets from the newly created Japanese Metal Gear Solid account confirm that Kojima Station will not be broadcast tomorrow, but would not provide a date for the next episode. The Tweets were […]

  • Watch Battle Royale for free this weekend on Xbox Live

    Square Enix is celebrating the launch of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD by offering Xbox Live members in the UK a free rental of Battle Royale. Starting Saturday, March 28 and through Sunday, March 29, Xbox Live members in the UK will be able to rent Battle Royale through the Xbox Video Store, for free. The […]

  • Bloodborne journal, part 1: managing anxiety on the path to the Cleric Beast

    Bloodborne is both like and unlike the Souls games. Brenna descends into Yharnam with reluctance and trepidation. Need help succeeding in Bloodborne? You need our Bloodborne walkthrough and boss guide. Bloodborne isn’t Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls. Let’s get that out of the way right off. I enjoyed both Dark Souls games, but it was […]

  • PS Store Easter sale discounts MGS: Ground Zeroes, Far Cry 4, more

    The Easter Sale is live on the EU PS Store, with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes for less than £10, FIFA 15 Deluxe Edition for £30 and other savings. Some of the PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita discounts are valid through April 8, other through April 15. PlayStation Plus members can also take an […]

  • Bloodborne video: how to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam

    Here’s a video for Bloodborne players showing a quick way to unlock the first shortcut in Old Yharnam. It also provides a look at things you may have missed in Central Yharnam and The Sewers, courtesy of VaatiVidya. Don’t forget, we have guides posted for the game with more updates coming soon. Bloodborne released in […]

  • Bloodborne issue prevents summons at Vicar Amelia fight

    A Bloodborne bug has prevented players calling on help to take on one of the nasty early bosses. Bloodborne bosses are significantly easier to take down in co-op. Unfortunately, at least one of them is proving difficult to find help for – and not just because not many players have obtained the Small Resonant Bell […]

  • Mass Effect 3 on sale on EU PSN, but not free

    Mass Effect 3 is discounted on the European PSN, but it’s not free. Update 2: The option to add to cart now lets you choose between the free trial or full version. The full version is on sale for £6.49 or £5.84 for PlayStation Plus members. The free trial is of course is still available, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Race to Elite winners announced, one player makes £10,000

    The winners of Elite: Dangerous’ Race To Elite competition have been announced, with one player receiving the grand prize of £10,000. Back when Elite: Dangerous launched, developer Frontier announced a competition that would award players to first reach Elite rank in trading, exploration, or combat, a prize of £1,000 each. The grand prize – £10,000 […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: How to make the most money with Special Bonuses and Elite Challenges

    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

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

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

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