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Sony's David Reeves

On PS3, PSP and what the future holds.
EurogamerHow's the software line-up looking for Christmas 2009? Have you got many big titles still to be announced?
David Reeves

There are a couple. You can probably guess, but we have not formally announced them. They will most likely be announced in the next four to six weeks. They may even keep some for E3 or Cologne.

EurogamerMoving on to the PSP - also back in July 2007, you said it needed "better and more original games". Do you think that need has been met?
David Reeves

No, I don't.

EurogamerWhy do you think that is? What could Sony be doing to solve that problem?
David Reeves

The competition has been such that publishers have had four consoles, plus PC, to publish for. They did not put their chips on PSP, certainly in the US and Europe.

In Japan, a lot of publishers put their chips on PSP. So games like Monster Hunter, Phantasy Star Portable and Dissidia have caused enormous spikes for PSP in Japan. But there haven't been big platform drivers in Europe.

Now I can look you in the face and say, the line-up for PSP in 2009 is two or three times stronger than it was last year. We ran out of steam on games around August, September last year. We didn't have a Monster Hunter or a Dissidia. But probably from March to July, you're going to see that type of thing starting to kick in.

"The competition has been such that publishers have had four consoles, plus PC, to publish for. They did not put their chips on PSP, certainly in the US and Europe."
EurogamerI did a quick search of all the announced games on Games Press the other day. There are 44 listed for PSP, and 185 for DS. That's a worrying margin of difference, isn't it?
David Reeves

I don't know. It depends on the quality of the games, doesn't it? People come out on DS and want to compete against Nintendo first-party, and that's a tough thing.

It's like when you watch six year-old boys play football, and they all follow the ball right the way across the field. Sometimes developers and publishers do that, and that's what they've done with DS.

EurogamerPublishers have even stopped doing PSP versions of their biggest titles. The most recent Tomb Raider, Call of Duty and James Bond games didn't come out on your handheld - but they all came out on DS. How concerned are you about that?
David Reeves

I worry about it, but it comes back to how thin they have to spread the butter. It would have been nice if some of those had come out, and I think they will eventually, but they can only place their chips on so many slots.

EurogamerThe iPhone and the App Store are doing very well at the moment. How do you plan to compete?
David Reeves

If you look at the statistics, more than 80 per cent of those games come in through telecommunications, as opposed to being downloaded. We are not planning to have any SIM card in any of our devices, so we have to think whether it would be as successful if we did something similar.

EurogamerThere do seem to be some issues with your download service. For example, when LocoRoco 2 came out, it was cheaper to buy the boxed version from Play.com than to buy it as a download from the PlayStation Store.
David Reeves

I was not aware of that... How do we anticipate how much the retail trade is going to discount? That's an art, not a science. It may be that we have to have differential pricing.

EurogamerShouldn't the prices be different anyway? If you buy the download version of a game, you're not paying for the production of a disc, box or manual, nor are there any retailer overheads. Shouldn't you be getting it cheaper?
David Reeves

You could argue the same with iTunes. You don't have to get in your car and go out, queue up at the store, buy it and come back. You can just download it, and there it is. That's what children do all the time. If we have to think boxed products, I think we're dinosaurs.

"How do we anticipate how much the retail trade is going to discount? That's an art, not a science. It may be that we have to have differential pricing."
EurogamerBack in 2007, you said it was "definitely possible later" that we could see a PSP with a built-in hard drive. Now it's 2009, are we talking sooner rather than later?
David Reeves

It's still possible, but it's going to be later rather than sooner.

EurogamerNot this year, then?
David Reeves

No, I'm not saying that. You didn't give me your timeline - whether it's minutes, weeks, months or years...

EurogamerIs it minutes, weeks, months or years?
David Reeves

There is no timeframe. I stand by what I said. It is possible, yes, to have a fixed hard drive or flash memory. But what's happened is, the rate at which memory stick prices have come down have surprised everyone.

EurogamerYou were recently quoted as saying Sony's priority for 2009 is to "start making money". How do you plan to do that?
David Reeves

Europe certainly will make money this fiscal year, from Sony Computer Entertainment's point of view. We are already on track to do that. Even with the recession we've got to ramp it up, to keep that install base and that momentum going. The priority now is still to make money, or at least to get to break even.

EurogamerHave you had your first meeting about PlayStation 4 yet?
David Reeves

I have never even heard it mentioned. I think people are concentrating so much on what's happening now that they're not even thinking about it.

David Reeves is president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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