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Harrison defends string of Sony criticisms

Sony's Phil Harrison has spent an entire session at the D.I.C.E. Summit defending key areas of the company's PlayStation strategy.

Sony's Phil Harrison has spent an entire session at the D.I.C.E. Summit defending key areas of the company's PlayStation strategy.

Speaking in a question and answer session with Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, the exec has defended Sony's approach to the launch of the PlayStation 3, its online functionalities, technical support for third-party developers and the role of the PlayStation Portable in the gaming market.

Harrison admitted that Sony's technical support for developers could be improved, in particular addressing the regular criticism from third-party studios that rival Microsoft does a better job of looking after relationships and providing developers with the help they need.

"There's no point in me being defensive. If that's what people are saying, there has to be an an element of truth in it," he said.

"We can always do a better job," conceded Harrison. "We can always provide better tools, we can always provide better documentation, we can always provide better service."

Harrison was also defensive of the launch of the PlayStation 3 when Croal brought up comments from Valve's Gabe Newell, who had previously declared the PS3 launch a "total disaster".

"By what measure is the launch of PS3 unsuccessful?" he asked. "We had people lined up in stores in three continents."

"We have supplied the market with more products in Japan, Asia and the US than we did the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, and more software than PlayStation and PlayStation 2."

He also revealed that the first batch of consoles for the European launch are already being shipped.

When quizzed about Sony's online structure, and how he expects the PlayStation Network to measure up to the success already achieved by Microsoft's rival Xbox Live service, Harrison stated that the PS3 is designed to evolve over time as the market demands.

"The launch of a platform like PS3 is not a fixed specification the day you buy the console."

He said: "The chipset stays the same but what it does in software changes over time. We'll continue to refine it, not just for developer experience, but for consumers too."

Finally, when asked about the future of the PSP, Harrison said that having the equivalent of a handheld PS2 was only the beginning of the consoles potential.

"I don't mean to belittle developers, but we've only managed to recreate PS2 in the palm of your hand," said Harrison.

"I think we can go deeper, I think we can explore more features of the machine, connectivity, social aspects, media aspects and integrate it into game design that is unique to that format."

"It's not a missed opportunity so much as a future opportunity," he added.

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