October 9th, 2008, 22:07 Posted By: wraggster
The Tokyo Game Show is one of the highlights of the year for the video game industry, which spreads its major announcements between this event, the Leipzig Game Convention and a diminished E3 show in Los Angeles in the summer, and the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco in the spring.
Tokyo is more about games and gamers, with nearly 900 games on display and up to 180,000 people expected to attend over the next four days, rather than the limited industry professional events of E3 and GDC.
The console makers are therefore emphasising new titles, with Microsoft announcing a new version of Halo - Halo 3: Recon, to debut in a year’s time.
It also gave a launch date of November 19 for the “New Xbox Experience” - an update to its interface that allows the creation of animated avatars and new community features.
The “Experience” is designed to compete with Sony’s Home, a much delayed virtual-world interface for the PlayStation 3.
While Sony has yet to set a date for its official release, Jack Tretton, its US president, confirmed it would debut in November, in a recent interview at Sony’s US headquarters in Silicon Valley.
Extracts from that interview after the jump:
How does the PlayStation 3 fit with Sony’s ambition to network all its consumer electronics devices and mesh content?
Give me a form of entertainment that Sony’s involved in that doesn’t touch the PlayStation 3? That makes me perfectly happy if there are other ways to consume [a Sony film ] like Hancock. I have multiple choices just on the PlayStation 3 - I can sell it or rent it to you digitally through our video-on-demand service or I can play it on the Blu-ray player. The other cool thing is I can transfer it over to my PlayStation Portable and watch it there.
Why then buy another Sony product like the Internet Link for a Bravia TV or a networked Blu-ray player when for $399 you can get a PS3 that does it all?
I think it’s education. If people knew everything that a PlayStation can do and you really gave them an opportunity for a side-by-side comparison, they would buy a PS3. I get that all the time - why would you buy anything else? It’s a more educated sale today and that requires a different way of thinking in the way we market it and the way we sell it at retail and that’s something we have to work on.
Is your marketing shifting from the games?
The challenge is to wear multiple hats, because there is still the gaming audience that wants to know about the new games, they judge you first and foremost for your gaming capabilities. That is the audience we will never ever abandon. At $399, combined with the great software we have to offer, it will make us a very compelling argument this year and I have no qualms about us meeting our corporate goals and selling every unit we manufacture.
How has the video-on-demand service launched at E3 fared?
It’s going swimmingly well, there’s been a tremendous appetite for purchase and rental, it’s going a long way to helping tie the relationship together between the PS3 and the PSP because you can have up to five different PSPs with that movie content on it, so when I’m going to travel I will hook my PSP up to my PS3 and transfer it.
What are the prospects for Home?
It is a jaw-dropping experience. You become part of a living community with an avatar you can customise and your own 3D apartment, it’s a world unlike anything you’ve ever seen. I think it will be another part of our ecosystem, adding social networking and a connective tissue to the experience.
Where do you stand right now in the console wars after a somewhat shaky first year?
Gamers are coming back to us, we are selling a higher percentage of games such as Madden NFL and Grand Theft Auto, because people are choosing the PS3 [over the Xbox]. Sales are up over 100 per cent and we are tracking well ahead of what we expected. We are having success in multiple markets and, coming up to the second anniversary of the PS3, we are right where we wanted to be.
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