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GDC: Harrison admits frustration at Sony Japan

Sony's Phil Harrison has expressed his frustration that the company's Japanese division was too slow at recognising social gaming — a market now dominated by Nintendo's Wii.

Sony's Phil Harrison, head of worldwide studios for Sony, has expressed his frustration that the company's Japanese division was too slow at accepting the ideas of social gaming — a market now dominated by rival manufacturer Nintendo and its Wii console.

Sony Europe already had three products on the market designed specifically to encourage social gaming in the living room before the Wii was even released — the EyeToy, SingStar and Buzz — but Japanese execs didn't believe in the concept of families enjoying gaming together.

"It's a very interesting and frustrating thing for me to experience because I have been banging the drum about social gaming for a long time, with SingStar, EyeToy and Buzz," he said during a private lunch taking place during GDC week.

"And our Japanese colleagues said that there is no such thing as social gaming in Japan — people do not play games on the same sofa together in each other's homes. It will never happen. And then out comes the Wii."

Harrison said that he thinks Wii Sports is a title that encapsulates the idea of a true 'next-generation' game, and he admires Nintendo's success in marketing and sales.

"What's interesting with Nintendo adverts — and they are the same the world over — they always show the view from the television back to the sofa, which is very clever. And what do you see? A family or friends all on a sofa," he said.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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