Sony's gamescom media briefing was different. Low key and relaxed (although not for those forced to stand), it saw SCEE president Andrew House give the gaming world an update on just how well the PlayStation 3 is now doing following, by his own admission, a “slow burn at the start”.
He then announced two new PS3 models with larger HDDs, a couple of Move bundles, and spoke at length about 3D gaming and PlayStation Move.
Following his presentation to press, we sat down with House in a plush Cologne hotel for a chat on all the above and more.
We're really pleased. I'd characterise it as right on track. The important thing we always frame the discussion with is our view that the full length of the life cycle is likely to be significantly longer than anything we've seen before.
We offered some fairly good reasons for that: the fact you have a network device, the value of the network that grows over time, a portfolio of services that grows over time.
Within the context of assuming this will be a different and much longer life cycle than previously, we're right on track where I would hope we would be at this point in the life cycle.
Something of a slow burn, obviously, at the start. Everyone should be frank and admit that. But really starting to reach what we feel is a tipping point where momentum shifting in your favour to become what I would hope to be the de facto purchase you would make if you're considering an investment into videogames.
The addition of Move helps us to do that. It gives us another way of reaching out to consumers who are in a different consideration set right now. But overall, the numbers are very good.
What's most significant for me was what we talked about in terms of year on year momentum. It's very interesting to note this fact that - no surprises really in the economic environment we're dealing with right now, that the market for our industry overall is somewhat down year on year, against which in contrast, we are significantly up.
Not just in terms of hardware where the price point is a critical factor, but also on software as well, to the tune of 38 per cent. That's perhaps the most significant story right now.
Clearly it's going to be most interesting once we get into the period where we're year on year like for like price points. But my prediction right now, and in polling my territory managers, is if anything we're seeing our numbers and our projections for the year go up, even with the year on year price value proposition to the consumer being the same.
So it's all trending very positively right now. The first quarter of our fiscal year, April through June, was so significantly above our expectations in terms of game sales and software sales across the board from Sony games right through third party. That bodes extremely well for the year.
Software performance on a tie ratio basis, is better on PS3 than it was at the same point on PS2. That's very good. We have sold all of these consoles at price points that are way significantly higher than those comparably at the same point in the life cycle on PS2.
What that says to me is the consumer is seeing intrinsic value in the offering we're putting out there.