Kaz Hirai, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, and David Reeves, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, introduce PlayStation Day.
David Reeves, President, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our PlayStation Day here at indigo in the O2. This afternoon, together with some of our friends from the worlds of games, sports and music, we want to introduce you to the delights that PlayStation has in store for the months ahead.
Needless to say you will have the opportunity later to try out the first playable versions of some of our key titles that will be launching later this year, and we also hope to broaden your mind as to the wealth of entertainment that today is defining the world of PlayStation.
Why do we call it the world of PlayStation? Because, as you will experience this afternoon, we are a brand that offers something for every interest and every consumer. More of that though in a moment.
Right now I would like to introduce you to a very special guest to kick off our event today. It is an honour for us to have secured his time to visit us in Europe, particularly as he has not spoken publicly since his keynote speech at the Tokyo Games Show last year. Please give a warm welcome to the President of Sony Computer Entertainment, Mr Kaz Hirai.
Kazuo Hirai, President, Sony Computer Entertainment
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure to be here in London today to share with you the wonderful collection of games and applications that we have to offer from PlayStation.
This is actually my first trip to Europe since becoming President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, so thank you again for being so welcoming.
Today is very important as it gives us an invaluable opportunity to highlight the importance - and the success - of Europe and the PAL territories within the PlayStation family. Simply look at the incredible titles that have been produced by our European studios, titles such as Buzz!, SingStar and F1, as well as forthcoming blockbuster titles Killzone 2 and LittleBigPlanet. These are genre defining titles, something that we are very proud of and just one facet of the rapidly growing world of PlayStation.
This is a world built on the success of our platforms, so let's take a quick look at some of the figures.
By the end of 2007 we had sold more than 10 and a half million PS3s around the world. Global PSP sales had topped 34 million and PS2 continues to amaze as it opens up new audiences and geographies, with sales of 127 million units. Clearly, since December we have sold many more PlayStation products and we will be announcing the most recent figures for the end of the fiscal year at the Sony results in Tokyo next week.
During my keynote speech at the Tokyo Games Show last year, I set out the company's strategy for PlayStation 3 in 2008, and I think now is a good time to revisit that strategy.
As we all know, PS3 is a platform for digital, interactive, home entertainment, and we know that the nature of PS3 is multi-faceted.
But last year, we positioned it first and foremost as a system for "games, games and more games" so that it would be clear to users what they can expect from their PlayStation 3. Ultimately it is the games that have defined PlayStation and games that continue to excite all PlayStation and gaming fans alike. I think this message resonated well with gamers and has really been taken on board.
So, this year, while we will be maintaining our focus on delivering more great games, we also plan to promote PS3's more multi-faceted interactive entertainment credentials, and you should get a real feel for that this afternoon.
Today you will not only have a chance to experience the great titles that we have coming out this year, including some great exclusive games that will only be available on our platforms, but you will also be able to experience the other features that help to make PlayStation 3 such an exciting home entertainment platform.
I also made it clear in Tokyo that we would be working harder to build stronger relationships with our partners, and with third party developers. Through an increase in dialogue, there has been greater sharing of knowledge and development assets, which result in a rise in the number of developers adopting PS3 as their lead platform and we are seeing real steps in the quality, sophistication and fun of everything that we are bringing to market.
For as developers get more experience developing for PlayStation 3, consumers around the world are seeing huge leaps in the gameplay and graphics and experiencing something that can only be experienced on PlayStation 3.
I have always talked about PS3 being a long term play for us and that is still very much the case. We are very confident that PS3 will have at least a 10-year lifespan and, with the power under its casing, the potential for improvement in all areas is simply astonishing. Needless to say, the relationships with our partners will be key in unleashing that potential.
I also think it is fair to say that the first year of PlayStation 3 was somewhat a difficult one. There were teething problems, success from our competitors and our customers were a little underwhelmed by the range of titles that were available. This was something that we were very much aware of and something that we always were confident we would overcome.
As many of you will be aware, things have improved greatly for the PlayStation 3 since the Christmas season and 2008 has got off to a fantastic start. What fills me with even greater pleasure is the knowledge that our year so far has only seen the launch of two of our key titles, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and Grand Theft Auto 4, with the rest still to come. The increasing breadth and depth of our offer is delivering for our fans while attracting a whole new customer base.
So what are the key titles that I am talking about for the year ahead? David will explain in greater detail soon, but what I can say is that with titles such as LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2, MotorStorm Pacific Rift and Buzz!: Quiz TV, together with a storming line-up from our third party partners, led by Metal Gear Solid 4 and Haze, 2008 promises to be a very special year for PlayStation 3 owners.
Add to this extra features such as the Blu-ray drive and PlayTV and it really becomes an easy decision to choose PS3 as your gaming console of choice and as the focal point for all your entertainment needs.
By taking PlayStation's technical capability, coupled with vibrant and compelling content, new audiences are being introduced to the world of PlayStation. Not only are these audiences growing the market, something which we have seen unprecedented levels of over the last year, but also creating a valuable new global community. This community is united by PlayStation and defined by each individual's own personal interests, while enjoying new ways to interact with entertainment.
So what does 2008 have in store for PlayStation and more specifically for the PlayStation 3? The simple answer is interactive entertainment – with great games and, behind that, great communities.
One of the key aspects of our strategy is of course Home, our 3D interactive world, which we have recently announced will be opened to the public towards the end of the year.
I realise that this announcement was disappointing to many people following from TGS, where we were aiming for a spring launch. First of all, please accept my apologies for this delay. But, as I said at the Tokyo Game Show that I would not open up Home until I was completely happy with it and I still stand by that statement. We have been testing Home for some time and I simply feel that, as great as it currently is, it needs a little bit more time before it is ready for the wider public, something we firmly believe we can provide in the autumn.
Our confidence in Home has not wavered however, and on the show floor later you will be able to get a taste for the progress we have made - specifically the ability to launch games directly from Home.
But Home is not the only thing that defines what we mean by communities.
We already have a thriving PlayStation global community, with more than eight million people now registered on the PlayStation Network and over three million of these in the SCEE countries.
And a global network like this creates a huge opportunity for PlayStation, one that demands a new way of thinking. That thinking is now firmly embedded in our business and we are starting to see the positive results in how, and what, we do.
This has already started with our vibrant community hubs such as My SingStar Online - for people who just love to sing - which has already seen over 1 million downloads and more than 20,000 videos uploaded - and new communities in the making such as My Buzz!, which will become a global portal for quiz lovers and will deliver a unique take creating and also sharing content.
This ability to interact with a game has changed the dynamics dramatically and opened up a whole raft of opportunities.
Take LittleBigPlanet for example, which is coming out in October this year. It will completely revolutionise the way gamers interact with their games, especially through the community functions that it offers and the ability to interact with LittleBigPlanet lovers - around the planet.
Add to these the opportunities now available to gamers to take part in multi-player online tournaments, with the number of players able to play in one game constantly increasing and you really have a diverse community of networked gamers, really enjoying and exploiting the potential of the PlayStation platform.
So, before I pass back to David, I just want touch on a few final points.
Moving forward, the future of PlayStation firmly sits in the domain of interactive entertainment - a harmonious marriage between games and communities.
It's through unique, exciting and accessible games that we will make our platforms the staple diet for all gamers, including those wanting to take part in casual and social gaming.
And, it's this dedication that we firmly believe will bring the PlayStation gamers back to the PlayStation family and become a part of our global networked community.
This community is made up of people who will come together over shared interests and shared passions.
Within the community we will begin to see people forming their own experiences - whether by defining new games, creating new content or communicating at home. And it will be recognising these interests and passions that will shape our business just as much as our products.
This means that PlayStation as a brand is starting to define itself by our passion and by our sense of play. Wherever and whenever you touch PlayStation, you will be inspired by the richness and relevance of our content.
To explain more, I would like to hand it back to David. I want to thank you very much for your time and I look forward to meeting you all later.
David Reeves, President, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Kaz, thank you very much indeed. Kaz just arrived this morning so thank you for making the long journey. For those of you who would like to talk with Kaz further he will be available on the show floor throughout the afternoon.
Kaz has very clearly explained that PS3 is first and foremost a games machine. And it is! You will see ample evidence of that this afternoon.
But PS3 also offers a wider variety of entertainment centred on those games and the interests they represent. It is about play in the widest possible sense of the word.
To help showcase this, today we have moved away from the traditional approach at these events of focusing on each format. Instead we would like to talk about the passions that our consumers share when gaming and playing - and show you how PlayStation can provide entertainment to match and excite those passions whether in virtual experiences or even real world activities.
Kaz mentioned some of the key global sell-in figures and there will be mention of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe specific figures throughout the presentation. But just let me update you on some of our key top line numbers for Europe.
As of today, in our region we have sold nearly 12 million PSPs and PS2 sales have exceeded 48 million.
I am also delighted to be able to announce today that we have sold over 5 million PlayStation 3s throughout Europe. We are particularly proud of this as it has been achieved in a similar timeframe to PlayStation 2, which retailed if you remember at a significantly lower price.
We have been consistently outselling our closest competitor since October 2007, even with the latest price drop. I am delighted to be able announce that we have sold more PlayStation 3s throughout Europe than Xbox 360, even thought they launched 16 months before PS3.
These numbers are a testament to the strength of the PlayStation brand throughout our region, the ever increasing number of titles being launched, the rich content on offer - and its appeal to different demographics and cultures.