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CVG
Interviews

Sony's Andrew House Pt. 1

The new head of PlayStation grants us a full and frank interview at the PS Vita's Japanese launch

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Is the manufacturing capacity back on stream now?
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I think it's coming back gradually. There's a large variety of different facilities, and there is, of course, the component supply chain from our suppliers which has, in some cases, been affected. But as far as I can see, the waters have now receded and we're starting to get our facilities back on line again.

As part of that effort of people pulling together, they've moved very swiftly to find contingency plans in almost every product case. If there was one silver lining for the PlayStation business, it's that PS Vita was unaffected by any of this. Which was something of a blessing, given just how important a product release this is for us.

Do you see the PS Vita launch as a redemptive thing at the end of a bad year?

I think it's an opportunity, perhaps, to return people's attention to what is great about Sony - innovative products delivering experiences that people have never had before. And I think it's important for the employee base - certainly here in Japan - that there is something of a morale boost before we go into the holidays, with a great product launch. Lots of folks that I know here in the Sony building - not just from the PlayStation business - have said they're looking forward to PS Vita coming this weekend. So I think it has generally worked to cheer people up.

People have been talking about the rise of mobile phones and tablets as gaming platforms, against conventional handheld consoles. How do you see Vita competing against them, and what will make it outperform them?

We would point to two factors. One is content-based: what we're endeavouring to provide and have succeeded in providing - even in the launch line-up - is what's in our DNA: deeper, more immersive, really compelling gaming experiences, with a great sense of realism and strong storylines. Then we've married those with some great network features, but also with a set of interfaces that I don't think really exist right now in any other devices out there.

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As I've talked about quite a bit this week, one of the most exciting things for me is when you hear the excitement that you're getting from creators and developers. The best sign, I think, in our business is if they are inspired by a new platform, then you can look forward to great content that in turn inspires the consumer.

Whether it's Japanese publishers, US developers or European publishers, everyone has got to grips with this new device and has found the development environment very easy to engage with, given the set of interfaces and the choices that you have. The creative power, if you like, to turn their own franchises into something very different.

I'm fond of pointing to Uncharted, which clearly is now a global hit in its own right. It's a perfectly fantastic experience on the home console, but I guess a lightbulb moment for me as a gamer was when our studio showed me how they are using touch as an alternative to, for example, uncover evidence for a clue by wiping away sand with your finger.

It was true to the world of Uncharted, but it made me feel I was engaging with it in a way I hadn't before. So, the best of Vita will be how often we can create those magical moments that delight and inspire gamers, and that's really the goal.

But I think the key point is that the creative tools to do that are there. We also worked extremely hard this time to let developers and creators get their hands on the technology much earlier in the life-cycle, so they were able to get to grips with it. The proof will be in the pudding of the games that we'll be launching from tomorrow onwards.

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