President and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Andrew House, believes there is an “increasing nervousness” about what ownership of media content implies, but Sony is of philosophy that “if you buy it, you own it.”
Speaking with Yahoo Games during E3, House said he doesn’t think that the hoopla surrounding the concept of ownership of late is “a storm in a teacup,” instead he said Sony takes such things very seriously.
“You could argue that it’s a storm in a teacup – a very vocal minority of passionate gamers,” said House. “This huge outpouring of feeling around the concept of ownership of content. But I have to say I don’t see it that way.
“I think we saw a lightning rod for feeling that has been bubbling up – that doesn’t just apply to games, but to entertainment overall. I think there’s an increasing nervousness about what ownership of content means, in the absence of physical goods. When that nervousness was starting to migrate into control over physical goods that consumers have purchased, that was a bridge too far.
“I want to be very clear about where we have been on this issue: I think there’s a danger that we could be seen to have reacted and capitalized on a situation. When we first announced PS4 in February, people were saying, ‘Oh, Sony’s being coy’ – almost with some implicit suspicion.
“It struck us as very odd. We had no intention of changing our position – it hasn’t changed from what it’s been for the last fifteen years. We believe that if you buy it, you own it, you’re able to do with it what you want.”
House said the firm wanted to focus on the core gamer because they are “extremely influential, passionate consumers” even beyond gaming and into other forms of entertainment. However, the Sony and House especially are very “vocal” when it comes the independent game developer – a group which the industry “absolutely needs” to counterbalance the “Hollywood blockbuster” trend in gaming.
“I am very vocal on the topic of indie games,” he said. “The industry has an increasing reliance on high-end, high-production-values games – the equivalent of Hollywood blockbuster game franchises. A creative entertainment industry absolutely needs a counterbalance to that, the equivalent of arthouse cinema – the creative, the different, the new. Our goal is to have PlayStation be the best place to foster that.”
House also hoped the online component of gaming can lead to more than just competitive multiplayer matches or co-op with friends, but “connecting players through other forms of activity: that are more altruistic.
“I appreciate that this is a bit fluffy and ‘nice’ but I think it’s a good goal to have,” he said. “Networks and gameplay could be a bit more than headshots and trash talk – although, of course, that’s all very well for those that enjoy it… my son included.”
PS4 is slated for release this holiday season.