How can moving SOE closer to the PlayStation division help you better compete with Xbox Live?
As you may know, SOE helped to build the PlayStation Network and we continue to help operate it. We have over eight years of experience running an online service and that experience is a valuable thing to have inside of the PlayStation team. We have been asked on many occasions to offer input into the feature set that’s going into the PlayStation Network and I think the depth of knowledge we have is something that can be of a real service as the service matures over time.
How will responsibilities be divided between you and Kaz Hirai?
I report to Kaz Hirai and work with him closely to plan the strategic vision for the future of Sony Online Entertainment. He and the entire management team at SCE are very supportive of our company and our games. One thing that is very helpful is the vast amount of experience in gaming that Kaz brings to the table. He’s been doing this a long time and that kind of experience is something that is very useful when we’re making decisions here at SOE.
How long do you think it will be before PS3 can compete with PC in terms of MMO both in popularity and revenue?
Well certainly the PS3 is growing its installed base at a great rate, and the fact that it is a connected platform with a significant and robust network makes it a great fit to do MMOs. We’re certainly very focused on making sure all of our next round of MMOs are made to run on both the PC and PlayStation 3.
That should give you some idea that we think it’s actually ready right now. There are some incredible selling games already on PS3 and I think when you look at the online playerbase you can already see that there is a real hunger for these kinds of games. It’s going to take some time to build that base even larger, but I think we’ll see a great audience very quickly.
What can SOE bring to the MMO table both in terms of a first-party developer and an assistant to third-party titles?
We have a significant amount of technology in the MMO space and that’s something we are happy to offer to any of the SCE family of companies. In terms of third-parties, that isn’t something that’s been discussed.
As MMO titles on PS3 become more popular, what role can retail play in assisting this growth?
Retail is a very important component of PlayStation 3. Building a large retail event can really help to drive quick growth. In the MMO space it’s very important to see a lot of other people when you first log in. You want that feeling of being in a virtual place with a lot of other people. Retail is exactly the kind of driver that you need to build up that type of momentum.
Can PS3 MMOs compete with the likes of Warcraft with its relatively minute installed base?
I would point out that over time PlayStation 2 has built up a massive worldwide base.. as time goes on, PlayStation 3 is going to continue its success and I would expect there to be a significant audience for MMO games.
Other than MMO titles, what can the newly restructured SOE bring to Sony’s PlayStation division?
Probably the biggest thing we can bring to the table is just the experience of having operated an online gaming service for many years. We’re happy to roll up our sleeves and offer assistance anywhere we are needed. We love making online games and we think PS3 is the perfect platform for doing that.
I’m sure you’ve seen the flurry of coverage that has followed the publication of the Government’s Byron Review here. How would you like to see online games age rated in future? Is there a need for a global body to take care of this?
I think online games are already covered quite well by the existing rating systems.