[IMGW]http://media.1up.com/media?id=3351859[/IMGW]Thank the gaming heavens, for E3 is officially over. Most of the 1UP Network -- alongside the rest of the videogames industry -- will be taking this week off to recharge their batteries from the long days of grunt work and late nights of drinking and schmoozing, we'll be running several stories pulled from material that didn't make it online, as well as pointing you towards some E3 coverage you may have missed.
Case in point, after we finished live blogging our collaborative session with Sony Computer Entertainment America President and CEO Jack Tretton and Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group COO Kaz Hirai alongside Kotaku, Joystiq and other sites, we cornered Tretton, now sporting a more casual, shades-enhanced look, for a short one-on-one session.
For example, haven't you wanted to know if Killzone 2 really isn't coming until next Christmas? How come Grand Theft Auto IV wasn't part of Sony's press conference, yet was predominantly mentioned and featured during Microsoft's? Is the new $599 80GB SKU a rip off? Tretton's answers to these -- and plenty more -- are below.
1UP: Killzone is obviously not 07.
1UP: When should we expect that?
Tretton: We don't have a specific date yet. First half of 2008, I think is fair to say.
1UP: Are you still going forward with a Killzone 2 open beta? Can we expect that in early 08?
Tretton: That's a question that'd really have to be answered for you by Phil Harrison or one of the Guerrilla guys. I don't know specifically and I wouldn't want to mislead you.
1UP: Why didn't you show Grand Theft Auto IV at your press conference? Why was it not there?
Tretton: Well, Dave [Karraker, Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Sony Computer Entertainment America], do you want to answer that? Dave was in control of the content.
Karraker: You want the real answer?
1UP: Can you give me both answers?
Karraker: I'll give you the real answer. They didn't send us their video.
1UP: So it's not anything like "well, the game's been shown on Xbox 360..."
Karraker: We requested it. We sent an e--mail out to every publisher and said send us your videos that you want put in the press conference, and they never sent it. Not much more you can say about that.
1UP: Can you guys say if you're going after any exclusive content ala Microsoft's two episodic entries?
Tretton: We have some pretty good information in terms of what our plans are with Take-Two relative to GTA4, but I really want to make sure we get you all the exact facts, so we can get you something from Dave pretty shortly. [Phil Harrison dodged a similar question from 1UP last week, as well. "...we're actually working closely with them [Rockstar] on a number of initiatives, so I do know some things that are going on, but I'm not able to share those with you now," he said. -- Ed]
1UP: With the new 80GB SKU, $59.99 comes from MotorStorm, the remaining to make up the $599 is only 20GB. How do you justify $40 for a 20GB hard drive when you can buy a 20GB hard drive for $10 on Newegg.com?
Tretton: I guess we have to talk about gaming consoles. Unless I am incorrect, I believe the 20GB add-on for the Xbox 360 is $100. I guess you have to look at in relative terms to gaming SKUs and we think $100 is a pretty good value with MotorStorm and the 20GB packed in, but they have a choice and if that isn't a good value for them and they prefer to buy the 60GB at $499, that certainly gives them that option.
1UP: Before I was talking to you, I was chatting with Shane Kim [head of Microsoft Game Studios] and he was talking about mass market price. Last generation, it seemed $199 was the mass market price. Wii is doing really well now at $249. From your perspective, what is the mass market price you would like to hit with PS3 eventually and is that different than $199 with PS2?
Tretton: I think you bring up a great point. Unfortunately -- and I'm a consumer just like you and or anybody else -- we all want things as inexpensively as possible and ideally we want them for free. Gas costs $3.50 a gallon, doesn't mean we stop driving, movies cost $10 or $11 when they use to cost $4, but we still go to the movies, but for some reason a state of the art videogame machine was $249 in 1995 and the belief is it should be $249 forever. I think the reality of the world is, if you want increased technology, you're gonna have to pay for it. I think consumers are responding at least in terms of software pricing by saying "okay, I get that, that's a great game that obviously has a lot of depth for it, I'll pay $59.99 for it."
There used to be a belief that you couldn't charge over $40 for a videogame, and I think the same is true for hardware, if there is value there and the consumers understand it, they'll pay for it. I don't have a target price in mind; it varies by consumer. There are a lot of people who obviously were very comfortable with the $599 because they went out and bought a PS3. I think, at the end of the day, it's the balance between price and value. If it's all about price, we win because we have the $129 machine, if it's all about technology, because I think PS3 have the most advanced technology. I think PS3 will achieve the heights that PS2 did when we marry up the value and the price to the average consumer's satisfaction.
1UP: You told PSM magazine you don't pay for exclusives. With companies like Insomniac and Ninja Theory, companies that aren't exclusively first party, you don't own them, but they pretty much only produce content for Sony. When you have something lik Xbox 360, which at the moment has a larger installed base, it makes sense financially for them to go with that platform. What incentives do you give them to stay on the Sony platform?
Tretton: I think we've had a long term relationship with [Insomniac] since 1995 and it's really a unique relationship in that they've developed exclusively for the platforms but they're an independent company and I think they've felt it's in their best interest to remain exclusively to Sony. You'd really have to ask that question to Ted Price and weigh what the advantages are on being exclusive to our platform versus what the opportunities are on the other, but Ted is a very, very sharp guy and they consistently get rated as one of the best places to work. It isn't for lack of some really intelligent foresight on his part they remain committed to our platform and it's really a better question to ask to him, and quite frankly I'd love to hear his perspective on it.
I really do agree on the pricing point. People want new consoles dirt cheap or they see the Wii and say "Nintendo put something new out for $250 why can't Sony?".
The Wii isn't even half the machine the PS3 is. Game play wise it may be innovative but that will wear off soon and you'll have nothing more then an updated gamecube with a new controller design.
Sony however really should put more effort into getting exclusive titles. The final fantasy series and the MGS series should really be sony titles only and they should've ponyed up to keep GTA a sony only franchise.
Sony brings a lot to the table, but they need to beef up their software in a hurry and get the tweaks done to the online gameplay. I think $599 for a copy of motorstorm and an 20 GB bigger HDD is well worth it. The copy of motorstorm alone is $59 if anything its only slightly less of a value then the $499 60GB version. But if you want/like motorstorm and will use the extra 20GB then go nuts.
I did not see the conferences, but if the GT4 trailer shown by MS was an old trailer isn't that your answer right there? Probably MS didn't receive anything either and chose to show old content, whereas Sony decided not to show anything unless it was new. I could be wrong though.