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Sony: Ignoring smartphone success is "foolish"

PlayStation Suite can expose the brand to more consumers, says Tretton

Sony's US president Jack Tretton has explained some of the thinking behind the PlayStation Suite - the new software offering for Android smartphones and tablets, revealed yesterday at the PlayStation Meeting in Tokyo.

He admitted that it was important to acknowledge the massive growth and success in the smartphone market with devices from Google and Apple, and Sony would be wasting the PlayStation heritage if it were to ignore the market entirely.

"We've always been about, what is the market? What is the opportunity? Seize the opportunity and differentiate yourself," Tretton told Engadget.

"To sit there and stick your head in the sand and say, 'smartphones are irrelevant, there are no other gaming mediums,' I think would be foolish, and it would be a disadvantage for us, because we have all these great games. We have this great gaming heritage."

"If you truly believe in your brand and you truly believe in your technology, expose yourself to as many consumers as possible, so hopefully PlayStation Suite introduces people to the PlayStation brand and ultimately they follow the breadcrumbs back to NGP and to our other devices. We've got this huge library of PlayStation One games that are tremendous games, especially when compared to a lot of the other stuff you're seeing on smartphones. That already sets the bar very, very, high."

By releasing original PlayStation games on a PlayStation Store - accessible on multiple handsets - Sony hopes to raise the bar for gaming experiences, despite the age of the software.

"The PSOne games are already state-of-the-art compared to what a number of consumers get with that type of investment on a smartphone," offered Tretton. "It's gonna set a level that'll force other games to measure themselves against, in terms of what they can economically justify.

"I would stack a lot of those PSOne experiences very fairly against what people are spending good money on [with smartphone titles], and I think it is a buyer beware market because there's no standard. Anybody puts anything out they want out on a smartphone and you don't know what you get until you buy it. I hope with the credibility of the PlayStation Suite, there'll be an expectation that we can execute against in terms of quality."

And the PlayStation Suite could be another entry level for budding design talent, according to Tretton, following opportunities though the PlayStation Network and PlayStation Minis.

"Now with things like the PlayStation Network and smaller digital games, you've really got a great breeding ground for development and we've reaped great dividends, and not only great content but great developers that have gone on to do bigger and better games, and we never would've gotten the opportunity to know them if it wasn't for things like Minis and PlayStation Network. So I think PlayStation Suite expands that even more."

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Latest comments (7)

Charles Dawkins10 years ago
In my opinion this is the approach that they shoud have gone with for the whole NGP. I truly believe that a 3G enabled device should have a phone option. Carrying around a smartphone is one thing but I'm not going to carry around two devices and I'm only going to pay for 1 data plan and that will be my phone. As nice as the NGP is it's not realistic for me. IMO Smartphones are the new handhelds. The same goes for the 3DS but at least the draw factor is that glassless 3D Screen.
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Alexandre Desjardins Senior AI/Gameplay Programmer, Eidos Montréal10 years ago
@Charles Dawkins
I agree, one device.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 10 years ago
The problem is, who wants a phone with a 5-inch screen or to play HD quality games on a too-small screen? Not any gamers I know. Sony is trying to push PS3-quality visuals as well as perfect console controls and you can't nail that (yet - almost but not yet) with a touch screen device with a small screen. Granted, the idTech iOS stuff as well as a bunch of other phone games look and play great, but again,Sony is trying to separate the two markets so those who don't want a phone aren't forced to buy one, 3G contract or not.

BTW (little joke here): Smartphones aren't the new handhelds if you're going somewhere boring and aren't allowed to bring a phone, but can bring a stand-alone gaming device. I can see that being a minor problem for some users...

Me, I'm not even going to bother with a new phone until I see games I want to play on it and I hope the NGP (which really needs a name change!) has enough titles that don't require a stupid contract or subscription fees just so I can play them. Can you tell I'd prefer a pure gaming platform? ;P
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Adam Campbell Studying Games Technology, City University London10 years ago
I agree with a phone option and a non phone option having been the better choice. I think the Xperia Play and NGP should ideally have been the same hardware platform.

That said, I'm glad they're making an attempt to get into mobile development. I think the Playstation Suite could be a real winner if it's set up well and hopefully there will be tools and an SDK available for all.

I don't know if I can see myself getting both an Xperia Play and a PSP2, but they could both find their success in the market.
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Seems to me, that a lot of this article is having a dig at Nintendo - and maybe for a good reason.

They (Nintendo) could have easily released a "GBA store" for Android/iPhone devices - which would have made a lot of money. Instead, people pay a couple of $ for an emulator - and pirate all the games they can.
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Robert Kelly10 years ago
Hmm I think they should have done this a while back. But anyways I'm all for the NGP, perhaps the one without 3G as I can't afford a data plan, not even for my smartphone. All depends on how it's supported I spose...
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Ian Wareing Project Coordinator, Northwest Vision and Media10 years ago
Before I saw the news about PlayStation Suite, I too was sceptical. Two devices seemed wasteful and risked splitting their potential audience. With the news of Suite however, I now think that this is a really smart move. Yes it might be more costly to manufacture two devices but what Sony appear to be doing is covering the whole mobile market in one fell swoop: People looking for a smartphone/gaming device in one, people perhaps with an existing smartphone (think Blackberry) wanting a supplementary portable gaming device, and finally, and arguably the most lucrative in the long term, existing customers using Android devices.

I think their move is more comparable to Google releasing their own handset, but also their OS on other companies' handsets, than to what Nintendo are doing with the 3DS.

Sony are back in the game.
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