Outgoing Sony Europe president David Reeves has said that the PlayStation 3 still has a long way to go before it can overtake Microsoft's Xbox 360 on the market, with the exec predicting it could take up to five more years for the console to become the market leader.
Speaking just days before he's due to retire, Reeves said that despite leaving the company after 15 years, he still believes in Sony and its gaming products,
"I don't think it will be next year, but in three to five years it will become dominant on the market," said Reeves, talking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz.
"The legacy will be that people will see a tortoise and hare situation. In a way, in the end it will be a dead heat. People will say PS3 took a while to get going but it really caught up very quickly and confounded many of the critics from the first year," he said of the consoles position on the market.
"When I see the line-up ahead, when I see what's lined up on the new product side, I'm very, very optimistic for what I see for PlayStation's future in the PAL territories," he added.
Reeves retires from Sony Europe tomorrow. He joined Sony in 1995 managing the regional offices of SCEE Germany, Austria and Switzerland, before moving to the UK. In 2003 he was appointed president and COO, and CEO of Sony Europe two years later.
"The lasting legacy is that I took Sony Computer Entertainment through the harder years but still managed to keep PlayStation as a very prominent brand in all PAL territories, both for PlayStation 2, PSP and PlayStation 3," he said.
Reeves is well aware of the recurring criticisms that have dogged all PlayStation formats in the European markets, particularly the high-priced PlayStation 3, yet despite this, the brand has made an indelible mark in the region, he said.
"Europe and PAL markets normally have to launch last and that stirs up a lot of criticism," noted Reeves. "And normally we have to launch with a currency that's quite strong and therefore the price is quite high, and again we get a lot of criticism for that. And we have to maintain that. And that, in the last three to four years, has made it extremely difficult. But even so, we as a PAL market are the leading region for all of those formats, despite those difficulties."
Reeves' role will be taken by Andrew House, former marketing exec for Sony across all regions, who is expected to make the position his own.
"I'm not really giving him any advice at all," offered Reeves. "He's a very seasoned and professional person and I've worked with him in Sony Computer Entertainment before, both in Tokyo and the US. He knows Sony very well. He's going to do it his own way, so I'll just make sure he knows how good the people are in Europe."
After laughing off rumours that he was to join Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds, Reeves said that he may continue to work in the industry, but he has no immediate plans.
"I'm actually retiring and my ambition is over the next couple of months is to get some rest because it's been a very tough year.
"And then I'm just going to try and do some things that I've always wanted to do in the past. Some of those might be in the games industry, but what I'm saying is I'll try and do several things. I honestly don't have any concrete plans, I'm not going anywhere. You won't see me on May 1 with a new company."