GC: Sony's David Reeves • Page 2

On PS3, Sky video rentals, greater focus on PSP games, and more.

Eurogamer: What sort of sales boost are you expecting off the back of the PSP Slim and Lite launch? Will it have the same sort of impact as the Starter Pack did?

David Reeves: We are. Actually, at the moment we have stock-outs on PSP. I don't see it frankly as explosive as DS, I think we're in kind of a different demographic, but we do expect with the Slim and Lite to see it to be quite a nice accelerating curve going into peak.

The research that we did showed us that actually PSP wasn't so mobile - people were maybe using it at home. There were two reasons for that - one is they didn't want to use it outside because they were afraid that it would be stolen, particularly in the UK. And there were reports of that. You laugh, but it was true. The other reason was they said - particularly females - they said it's a little bit heavy, and the males said it won't quite go in my top pocket or inside-jacket.

Last night I took it out of the inside pocket and it is slim enough and they are light enough to be able to do it without it bumping around. What you may not - I didn't mention it again last night but you probably picked up on it at E3, but it does have video-out, which is actually quite a good feature for some people.

Eurogamer: A lot of people were keen on that, certainly.

David Reeves: There you go [David hands us a PSP Slim and Lite]. It is slimmer, and you can actually, if you try it in your top pocket, it goes in.

Eurogamer: It is much lighter, certainly.

David Reeves: It is, and it actually makes a difference. It took a lot of work to do - it's not just cutting down. We cut down a little bit on the battery size, because that's the major thing, but we haven't cut down on the battery capacity - we've just put a new chip in, which has a faster CPU that takes less current from the battery itself, so the battery life is the same or even perhaps a little bit longer.

Eurogamer: I look at charts all over the world and the DS is all over them and PSP hasn't had that same kind of impact. Wouldn't it have made more sense to invest the Go! brand money in securing more top drawer games or cutting the price?

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David Reeves: We took the view, when we launched, that rightly or wrongly it was also a media device, but actually 80 to 90 percent of the people just bought this to play games on. And we didn't have the services, so we took this decision maybe a year ago and said what we'll do now is we'll bring out more services because we know that the games are coming.

Honestly, probably we should have had more original PSP games, and there were some PS2 ports of course, but what you're going to see now is - on PSN there are a lot of good, original games, so the situation you might be seeing in the future is some of those games coming onto PSP. They might be shorter, but they would be far more original.

So you're going to see that our next thinking is, yes you're exactly right, we now have to go back - don't forget the services, the services will be put in place and rollout will be coherent - but we now have to go back and think more about the games because if we lose that advantage - well it's not really an advantage, it's the advantage Nintendo have on DS - that is what we now have to say. It's like in the circus - you've got to keep all the plates up, you know? So the plate we'll be working on now will be the games on PSP.

Eurogamer: So you see PSN as potentially a feeder service for PSP and vice versa?

David Reeves: Yeah, it will be. On PSN you get an instant reaction - 'Calling All Cars, great game, okay, can I have it on PSP?' Okay, why not?

Eurogamer: The more content you pump onto PSP, obviously the Memory Stick sizes only go so high, and you mentioned at E3 that you were considering a hard disk for the future. Have there been any more thoughts on that front?

David Reeves: I think that it certainly is not ruled out. The only thing I would say is that the flash memory is simply so cheap - you can get an 8GB Memory Stick for under 100 Euros, and on 8GB you can get a lot of content.

I think the big debate is - there's a point in time when you have to put a stake in the ground and say we're going to go with flash memory or we're going to go with hard drive. I don't think they've put that stake in the ground just yet. So they're thinking about it - I think they'll get through Christmas and think about what the next step would be. You might hear more later.

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Eurogamer: At E3 you made a comment on the Sony America price cut initiative that was interpreted as a bit of a faux pas. I was wondering how you feel communication is between Sony Europe and Sony America - whether there's a problem or anything you feel you need to work on?

David Reeves: I don't think it's a problem. I think Kaz Hirai and myself were on the same page. All I would say is I still think we made the right decision to go with Starter Packs in Europe. We're very very happy with the uplift and we're still communicating with SCEA.

David Reeves is president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Interview by Tom Bramwell.

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