Posted by John on October 6, 2011

Sony game CEO talks gaming news in Tucson

Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Jack Tretton made a day of it at
the University of Arizona today, arriving mid-day to attend a game
demonstration on the mall before speaking on campus as part of the
Eller College Distinguished Speaker series. Tretton also planned to
spend some time with his son, John — a UA junior — before heading
out Friday.

Tretton has been in charge of Sony’s PlayStation video game
consoles and games since 2006.

We pulled him aside and asked him some questions.

Q: Do you know when you’ll release the Vita — your upcoming
portable game machines — in the U.S.?

A: “We’ll be announcing that shortly. You probably know it will
be out before the holidays in Japan. It will be out in the first
quarter in the States. It’s something we’re very excited about. I
think it’s a great opportunity for us.”

Q: Gamers here reacted negatively when they heard that in Japan
the 3G Vita models will have a cap on the amount of data they can
download each day. Will there be a cap here as well?

A: “That’s probably based on  the partner and the amount of data
that they’re going to allow to be fed based on the plan.
Unfortunately that’s a Japanese phenomenon. We don’t have any
issues and/or announcements of limitations on our deal with
ATT.”

Q: Why didn’t you bring any Vitas to campus today?

“Unfortunately, the number of units that we can get our hands on
right now is very limited. And this truck tour is really geared
toward PS3. We’ve transformed it for Move in the past and will
transform it to Vita in the future. “

Q: Sony Europe said that all future first-party PlayStation 3
games, starting with “Uncharted 3,” will have online pass codes
that used-game buyers will have to pay for to play online. Is that
the case for the U.S. as well?

A: “I think going forward we have agreed on a global basis that
we will have an online pass code and obviously that won’t affect
anybody that’s an original purchaser. But if they buy a used game
and want to take advantage of online features than there will be a
minimal cost associated with it. And that will vary by market.”

Q: With its upcoming Wii U console, Nintendo plans to let gamers
play the same games on their tablet controllers that they do on TV.
Will the Vita and PS3 have similar functionality?

A: “The relationship between the Vita and the PS3 is absolutely
going to be intimate. That’s something that we had hoped to do with
the PlayStation Portable but the power of the PlayStation Portable
and the accessibility was limiting. With Vita it’s an absolutely
symbiotic and natural relationship where conceivably you’ll be able
to build up your characters play the game on Vita and then carry
the process over to the PS3.”

Q: The PlayStation Network failure that lasted from April 26 to
May 14, in which hackers swiped personal information from holders
of 77 million accounts, damaged the brand. How were you able to
navigate out of the negativity from the PlayStation Network outage
and data theft?

A: “I think I had my personal feelings and then I have to
remember that I work for a large corporation. So certainly you
can’t speak from the heart as often or as candidly as you’d like
to. But our E3 press conference was my opportunity to address
consumers, and I meant everything that I said and I meant it from
the heart.

“The consumers are the core of our business and without the
consumers we don’t have a business. I just wanted them to know how
sorry we were for what they went through. And while we certainly
don’t feel we were responsible for it, we felt their pain and I
just wanted to send my heartfelt apologies for what they had to go
through.”

Q: What did Steve Jobs mean to you?

A: “I had one of the original Macs back in the mid-80s. I think
anybody who’s involved in technology or the consumer space knows of
Steve Jobs. I didn’t have the pleasure to meet him but I was lucky
enough to hear him speak.

“I think certainly that his impact on technology is incredibly
profound. I live in the heart of Silicon Valley, I know a lot of
Apple employees and he was the nerve center of that organization. I
think his contributions go way beyond technology. He’s affected
consumers’ lives in many many ways and he’ll be sorely missed.”

Read more of this interview Friday in the Arizona Daily Star and
on StarNet.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at pvillarreal@azstarnet.com or
573-4130.

 

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