Eurogamer: How about PlayStation 2? This generation, looking at Nintendo in particular, has shown you can't take market position for granted. So how did you approach the launch of PS2 and building on what you'd done up to that point?
David Reeves: I think it was much the same - to make sure that we had a good portfolio. I think, apart from Fantavision which was an internal title, we had briefed sufficiently most of the third-party publishers and they were able to come up with a good line-up over the first six months. It was also a real step change technically from PlayStation 1 to PlayStation 2 graphically. It was simply outstanding. And I think the timing, also, was quite good, coming in just before Christmas at least in the PAL territories anyway.
Eurogamer: A lot of people would probably identify the launch of Metal Gear Solid 2, but also EA's decision not to go with the Dreamcast, as two of the more decisive things about that period. How do you remember it all?
David Reeves: Come to think of it I think Metal Gear Solid 2 was a definer. Whether or not the EA decision was really consequential, I'm not so sure, because I don't think Dreamcast had that fantastic line-up anyway. They had a line-up, but I don't think it was that good.
I think the other thing that contributed, strangely enough, was some of the brand campaigns - you know, the wacky brand campaigns that came out for PlayStation 2. They kind of caught the youth of the time. They might not now, but they did then.
Eurogamer: Over the 14 years running Sony Europe, do you have a favourite game?
David Reeves: I'll give you two answers. PaRappa The Rapper has been my favourite game of all time, I have to say - maybe not the favourite game of everyone. But my second favourite game was one called Kingdom Hearts. I was quite involved in... because this was a Disney title done together with Square at the time, we marketed it here, and we had quite a lot of input in Tokyo. And I think that was absolutely brilliant. And there's another Japanese title I played a lot which was called ICO.
Eurogamer: Oh god yes, ICO. Well, it's one of our readers' favourite games of all time.
David Reeves: Is it? OK. It didn't sell that much, but it was actually, absolutely fantastic.
But over the years, which one have I played the most? Actually, because there's been so many versions, it's probably been Ridge Racer, which was also one on the PlayStation 1. I forgot - Namco actually helped us enormously in the early years.
Eurogamer: Yes, it was almost synonymous with the console actually, especially when it was on import from Japan.
David Reeves: I thought you were going to ask me what was the first game I ever played, but I will tell you anyway. It was called Horace Goes Skiing. I think it was on the Sinclair and you had to load it on cassette. Normally the cassettes broke.
Eurogamer: Last night I posted a topic on our forum asking our readers if they had any questions for you. One of the most prominent ones was about regional discrepancies in content on PlayStation Network. Now you and I have discussed this in the past and a lot of it is licensing and localising and things like that. But do you think Sony is any closer to, say, bringing the number of PSone games on the European store closer to the number on the Japanese store?
David Reeves: I'm not sure the number on the Japanese - it's the number on the US store that sometimes comes up in the blogs. The three things that stand out are, one, that a third-party publisher would naturally go in the US, but that they then have to go through a lot of localisation and get it out on a lot of stores. We've got 28 stores, Tom. And it does take a long time to get all of these localised. The one time we put it up in English, then the Poles and the Czechs have come back and said, 'Why did you put it up English?' That does take a lot of time.
The licensing issues are really genuine ones - the ones that, you know, you can have a licence for disc-based, but it hasn't been in the contract for digital, you need to go back and renegotiate all the music rights, which are totally independent from the publishing of the original game content as well. There have been problems with age ratings as well. We have to get specific age ratings here and they're not the same as the US.
Will it be resolved? Yes, I think we're getting much, much closer, and I would say it will take a year or 18 months to get it fully resolved.