Close
Report Comment to a Moderator Our Moderators review all comments for abusive and offensive language, and ensure comments are from Verified Users only.
Please report a comment only if you feel it requires our urgent attention.
I understand, report it. Cancel

Sony's Jack Tretton downplays idea of "the last console generation"

Sony's Jack Tretton downplays idea of "the last console generation"

Thu 14 Nov 2013 11:01pm GMT / 6:01pm EST / 3:01pm PST
Hardware

CEO of PS4 maker says opportunities are the best in decades for console makers, only getting better

It's to be expected that Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton would be optimistic about the future of the console business on the eve of the PlayStation 4's launch. In explaining to All Things D how he tried not to worry too much about what competitors like Microsoft were doing, Tretton suggested it was the best time in decades for anyone to be in the console making business.

"I respect anybody's approach to the business, but at the end of the day, you've gotta be laser-focused, and can make yourself crazy trying to react to what the competition is doing," Tretton said. "I'm not naive enough to think that we're going to own every consumer. Some people are going to gravitate toward our platform, some people are going to gravitate toward others. Some are going to stay behind on existing generations, and some are never going to buy it at all. But it's much better as an opportunity for a manufacturer today than it was five, 10, 15, 20 years ago, and I think it'll be better going forward."

Earlier in the interview, Tretton was asked to respond to those who predicted the coming generation of consoles would be the last one. He disagreed, saying the things people see as threats right now--tablets and smartphones--are actually additive to the game industry, and not succeeding at the expense of consoles.

"It's funny, I've heard about the 'last console' since 1986, and only because that's when I entered the business," Tretton said. "I've managed to ride the 'last console' wave for the last, what is that ... 27 years or so? There's a reason the console came about: Sitting in front of a big-screen TV on a couch with your friends. To get the immersive depth in gaming and to get the social experience of sitting around the living room, we're not going to huddle around a tablet. We're not going to huddle around a smartphone. I think the technology will come a long way, but you're still trying to build a console, ultimately. You're trying to get it closer to a console."

9 Comments

Well when your boss says:
..new era of PlayStation, shifting more from a hardware focus to a service focus...
You have to wonder if you will be building another box in fives years time!

How many of the current Sony game division executives in the West will even be in their position this time next year is the big question.

Posted:11 months ago

#1

Steve Goldman Journalist.

81 92 1.1
systems will be around a long time

Posted:11 months ago

#2

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
There's a reason the console came about: Sitting in front of a big-screen TV on a couch with your friends. To get the immersive depth in gaming and to get the social experience of sitting around the living room, we're not going to huddle around a tablet. We're not going to huddle around a smartphone. I think the technology will come a long way, but you're still trying to build a console, ultimately. You're trying to get it closer to a console."
I agree with some of this but not all of it. These days most people(from my experience) would rather get their social experience of playing with other people via any of the online networks, such as XBL. What you don't want to do is have 4+ people trying to play on one tv screen, regardless of how large it is. Now there are of course exceptions, such as band games(Rock Band and Guitar Hero), Dance games(Dance Central and Just Dance), motion control sports(Wii Sports and Kinect Sports) and a few others. But for playing stuff like fps, racing or action/adventure it's usually better to have your own screen. Many of us grew up during the arcade era and since that collapsed in the late 90's/early 00's we've been getting our fix with online multiplayer gaming .

As for the future of consoles, if consoles are supposedly going to die soon how come we get an announcement of a new micro-console almost every month? And why has that been going on for the last year or so? I think theres always going to be a place for consoles in the future but just like this gen(where the 360 launched in 2005 as mainly a video game machine but now 8 years later it's an all in one media device capable of playing/streaming games, movies, music, connecting to the internet and making skype calls, among so many other capabilities) they will continue to evolve and adapter to the changing consumer base and world wide landscape/markets.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 16th November 2013 1:41am

Posted:11 months ago

#3

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

464 173 0.4
I disagree with you Paul. Whilst there are many online gamers there are just as many families out there who do not think purchasing two consoles and two screens is a good investment for their two kids to play games. There are just as many houses with multiple people living there who game in the older bracket... and that's before you include those who like to have a console available at a party or get together. Personally I think the number of individuals who value that just as much is similar to the number of online gamers.

Posted:11 months ago

#4

Paul Jace Merchandiser

942 1,428 1.5
Andrew I don't think Tretton was specifically talking about families when he brought up social gaming, which is why I also didn't. Obviously there are alot of families out there that get a single console for all their gaming needs, as my family did when I was younger. But what I interpreted Tretton's wording to mean was socializing with people/friends outside of your immediate family, as in people you don't live with. And in that case, I have found(notice that I said "from my experience" in my first post) that most people prefer having their own tv to view while playing multiplayer gaming. However, I also gave several examples of certain game types where it may be better to have friends all in the same room as opposed to online. I absolutely enjoyed playing co-op games with my friends back in the Nes days but for many of us those days are long gone.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 16th November 2013 8:38am

Posted:11 months ago

#5

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

822 654 0.8
Well, it is a bit soon to say this, if you ask me... although I remember hearing the same thing about the previous generation. Also this is a console market guy, what is he going to say? :)

Posted:11 months ago

#6

Craig Burkey Software Engineer

206 393 1.9
Of course it won't be, technology moves on, consoles will continue to serve as a cheap way to get high quality gaming experiences without the hassle, you know it'll work out the box, games are designed for your hardware and have been configured for your controller and will play on your big screen TV while your sat on the sofa.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Craig Burkey on 18th November 2013 10:58am

Posted:11 months ago

#7

David Serrano Freelancer

300 272 0.9
There's a reason the console came about: Sitting in front of a big-screen TV on a couch with your friends.
Really? Because when the early console market was defined by games which required two or more players, the market was highly unstable and crashed not once but twice. But when the development focus shifted almost exclusively towards single player in the third generation, the market stabilized and experienced years of sustained growth. According to Ralph Koster, one reason why single player appealed to a larger audience was the majority of existing and potential players at the time had introverted personality types. So while the hardware may have initially been targeted at a subsegment of extroverted consumers who wanted to play games with or against friends and family in the living room... the actual consumer demand which fueled the growth of the console market for over a decade was for single player titles which provided different groups of introverted players with the freedom to play whenever, whatever and however they wanted to play.

Tretton was correct about games being more immersive on larger screens, but the optimism about the future of the console market is simply wishful thinking. Because as a result of the bro-dude, multiplayer centric core game development focus over the past several years, his opportunities in core market from this point forward will be almost exclusively limited to a far smaller and demographically narrow audience dominated by teens and frat boys who have user tags bracketed with X's.

Posted:11 months ago

#8

Craig Burkey Software Engineer

206 393 1.9
There is the massive explosion of cheap large flat screens though that allow the 2nd/3rd or 4th screen of the house hold to still offer great gaming experiences... they may be aiming for the living room but the bedroom will suite most people just as well.

Posted:11 months ago

#9

Login or register to post

Take part in the GamesIndustry community

Register now