At its press conference, the first major event of the video game industry's annual blowout convention, the company is expected to unveil the controller for its forthcoming PlayStation 3.
But many are hoping that SCEA will use the press conference for much more, including pricing and game availability information, though the company has been mum about its plans.
One architect of whatever the company announces at E3, and of its PlayStation 3 marketing plan, will be Jack Tretton, SCEA's executive vice president and co-chief operating officer.
Last week, CNET News.com spoke with Tretton about the company's goals for the next year, as well as how the video game industry and next-generation console environment has changed since E3 2005.
Last year at this time, clearly, things were different. At that point, Microsoft had only just announced its own next-gen console, the Xbox 360, and the device was still months away. Now the new Xbox is out and has already sold
But Tretton believes that Sony is well-positioned for the fight and cites the company's dominance during the PlayStation 2 era, which, because Sony sees consoles as a 10-year play, still has years to go.Q: Next-generation consoles have been big news for the last year. Comparing E3 2005 to E3 2006, what do you think were the biggest changes in the dynamics of the video game industry?
Jack Tretton: Well, I think we really have to go back 10 years to our introduction of PlayStation. We had one business model and one planned execution from day one: That was overdelivery to the consumer, have a state-of-the-art technology that blew people away and to distance ourself from any other competitor out there.
We've really been able to deliver that with PlayStation and PlayStation 2. We've had a 10-year product life cycle with the original PlayStation. We had PlayStation and PlayStation 2 living side by side, and now we'll have PlayStation 2 and 3 living side by side. We vastly expanded the marketplace from 12- to 17-year-old boys in a $3 billion industry to where it is today--to really a vast audience of mainstream entertainment with male and female, old and young alike.
The changes from the last E3 to this E3--we really felt that at E3 2005, we were in the catbird seat, enjoying 10 years of dominance. We felt with the announcement which we made on PlayStation 3 that we would deliver the true next-generation platform that would deliver that same quantum leap in technology that we've been able to deliver over the last 10 years. I think as we move forward to this year's E3, our dominance is the strongest ever on the two platforms.
As far as the rest of the industry between last year and this year, what do you see?
Tretton: One thing the rest of the industry has suffered from is that they are still in that run of a five-year product life cycle and never being able to break through to a diverse audience. I think you can't rush a product to market, and you can't come out with a partial solution.
If you're struggling and you're failing, you get a little bit desperate. I think if you're in a position of leadership, and you have a plan that you can execute...consistently, and you have confidence, then you have the luxury of waiting until you can do everything right. That's the difference between what you'll see in a debut of PlayStation 3 and what you may have seen from some of our competitors.
What's SCEA's strategy for this year's E3 and for the year ahead?
Tretton: Well, I think we really want to talk about the fact that we are now a three-platform company. The revenue dollars being generated by PlayStation 2 are significant enough; we've sold 100 million systems worldwide.
We're heading into the seventh year of what we believe is easily a 10-year product life cycle. While the launch of the PlayStation Portable last year was the most successful platform launch in the history of this industry, there's still a lot of work and a lot of education to be done there.
On PlayStation 3, we're delivering a quantum leap in technology, a very complex and exciting message for consumers. The message to the publishers is, if you deliver and you execute on the PlayStation platforms, you will be successful in this business. Anything you do beyond that will be gravy. We have the goods that we can deliver for anybody to invest in our platforms--whether it's the consumer or the publisher.
Looking specifically just at the PlayStation 3 and the so-called next-generation console war, you look at your consoles as a 10-year play. So what does PlayStation 3 have to do in order to win the next-generation console war?
Tretton: We have to do just what we've done in the past. You have to have the best system at the end of the day. You have to have the consumer's confidence, and you have to have a pureness of vision, in terms of the way you execute your strategy. One thing that is lost on a lot of people is that we have never been first to market.
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