September 22, 2007 // 3:49 pm
- Sony is to step up its marketing campaign for the PlayStation 3 and emphasise that the games console is a Blu-ray disc player.
The move is aimed at boosting both the PS3 and the Sony-backed DVD format ahead of the holiday season.
Kaz Hirai, president of the games unit, told the Financial Times it was working closely with Sony Pictures and Sony Entertainment to "get the Blu-ray message out". It was a delicate "balancing act" for Sony Computer Entertainment,
"The PS3 is first and foremost a video games machine but we want to say - by the way, it's a great Blu-ray player as well," Mr Hirai said. Marketing efforts in the US, Europe and Japan would highlight the PS3 as a Blu-ray disc player as well.
Sony yesterday disappointed analysts by failing to cut the PS3's price, but Mr Hirai did not rule out a future price cut. "Going aggressive only on price without being able to back it up with content doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," he said. A price cut would have a "real impact" on sales only if there were enough software titles to support the PS3.
But analysts were sceptical and said Sony could miss its shipment targets for the year. "Without a price cut close to Christmas, reaching 11m shipments is going to be very tough," said DavidGibson, analyst at Macquarie in Tokyo.
Just as Sir Howard Stringer, Sony's chief executive, has said he is attempting to break down "silos" within the company, Mr Hirai said he was trying to make Sony Computer Entertainment a more nimble organisation.
"I've reduced the number of people reporting to myself and I've put in several key people at the executive vice-president level who are charged with really looking after a large organisation themselves. From a management structure standpoint, it's pretty flat. That's the only way I know how to manage an organisation," Mr Hirai said. "That's what I did in the US and that's what I'm doing here."
In is keynote speech at the Tokyo Game Show, Mr Hirai said Sony's games unit would postpone until next spring the launch of Home. The virtual world, which will run on the PS3, was originally scheduled for release this autumn.
He also said that Sony Computer Entertainment had acquired Evolution Studios, a UK software developer, and its Bigbig Studios subsidiary, for an undisclosed sum to strengthen its software line-up. Evolution created MotorStorm, a million-seller title for the PS3.