As E3 2011 draws to a close, the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe talks PS Vita, PS3 and more with eu.playstation.com.
What have been your highlights of E3 2011?
They would be PlayStation Vita, where I think we generated a huge amount of excitement, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and the announcement of the PlayStation branded 3D monitor.
What has the reaction from media been like?
It's been almost uniformly positive, especially around the PS Vita price point. What's been interesting is that there have been so many varied reactions because we have so much on offer; everybody's got different favourites and I take that to be a good sign.
The price point for PS Vita is pretty competitive – what was the thinking behind that?
We feel that in the very competitive portable device market, we will need to build momentum as quickly as possible. Price is not the only way we do that – obviously we need a great launch line-up – although having a price which consumers feel is good value for money is a huge leg-up in helping us move to a mass market proposition very quickly.
Which PS Vita games have stood out for you?
I like Reality Fighters because it's quirky, fun and it takes augmented reality in a different direction to what I would have anticipated. Obviously, Uncharted Golden Abyss has huge appeal; with each announcement there's more enthusiasm for the title. I thought the demonstration of Ruin could make me a fan of that game as well, with the whole concept of being able to cloud store on different devices something wholly new and very interesting.
How will PlayStation Network services be incorporated into PS Vita?
We're still at the early stage of network services and one of the goals is to show people what 3G can do for them. I'd really like to see some fun and interesting applications in the area of asynchronous games where the game almost has a life of its own and communicates with you to get you to interact and do things. We're also hard at work on some apps that will be relevant to games and gamers though not necessarily games themselves.
Talking of PlayStation Network, what is your reaction to this year's outage?
We are both humbled and extremely grateful for the trust that PlayStation Network users have continued to place in us and we will continue to do everything in our power to be worthy of that trust. We've worked incredibly hard to build a platform that is not just entertaining and engaging but also as secure as we can make it. We're at a point where having made the Welcome Back promotion available, it's a good gesture, but really it is just a few steps on a long road to regaining people's trust in us and our brand.
Why is PlayStation Network important to PlayStation and Sony as a whole?
How will we keep momentum going on PlayStation 3 in the coming year?
Firstly, it's about giving good visibility to the new games that we've got coming out while continuing to explore areas of innovation for PS3 as we show people that the platform still has an awful lot more to offer them. PlayStation Move is still less that a year old on the market and there are still lots of opportunities there for continued innovation in games. As for stereoscopic 3D, that opens the door to yet another set of possibilities.
Will the 3D monitor be coming to Europe?
One of the reasons that we wanted to bring a 3D monitor with a PlayStation brand to market is to try and lower the barrier to entry with an attractive price point, and the other is to demonstrate that games have a very strong role to play in driving the adoption of 3D. I can't confirm just yet what our bundle will contain however the monitor will definitely be coming to Europe.
How will PlayStation Home be growing and developing in the coming year?
It's interesting that despite the PlayStation Network outage, people's engagement with PS Home is up compared to where it was prior to the outage. That clearly shows that people remain strong fans of the environment and we will continue to roll out new spaces and partnerships with different brands.
It's a year since PlayStation Plus was announced – how does the report card look for the service one year on?
I'd give a good mark for the early phase. Consumers are telling us that they see definite value in the subscription and there's a strong feeling that we're not finished yet. We need to build more value in there and perhaps we need to do a better job of communicating the value that is in the service too to a broader number of consumers.
When will we be in a position to provide an update on PlayStation Suite in terms of the handsets and games available?
In the course of the coming calendar year, we will communicate our roll-out plans including additional devices and the launch of PlayStation Store on Android.
Following the launch of the PlayStation Official app for mobile devices, how will we continue to engage users in innovative ways?
It's about looking for opportunities that are appropriate to peoples' entertainment lifestyle and identifying areas where there's a consumer demand and moving very swiftly to fulfil that need.
Our thanks go to Andrew House for taking time out from his busy schedule to answer our questions; visit PlayStation.Blog at blog.eu.playstation.com and eu.playstation.com/e3 to check out all the key announcements and game updates from E3 2011.
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