Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president David Reeves has branded media reports that the PlayStation 2 has reached its sales peak as "bullshit," stating that the console still has 50 per cent of its hardware sales to come.
"We get many headlines in the media saying that PlayStation 2 has peaked," Reeves told delegates at a summit in London arranged by UK publisher trade body ELSPA. "It's bullshit - it has not peaked. We're only halfway through the life cycle."
Reeves argued that the PlayStation 2 has yet to reach the "magic price point" - referring to the reduction in price of the original PlayStation to around the UKP 99 mark which caused its installed base to skyrocket - and scotched rumours of an imminent price drop, saying that despite the US PS2 price cut at E3, "we have no intention of going down in price immediately in the PAL territories."
The PAL installed base of the PlayStation 2 currently stands at 22.5 million units, and Reeves expects that by 2008 this will grow to 45 million units - with growth in new PAL territories such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East highlighted as a key impetus for this growth. Reeves pointed out that the PSone is currently selling strongly in these territories - while the aging console sells only 1200 units a week in the UK, it is currently selling around 5000 a week in Iran and 2000 a week in Lebanon, he revealed.
However, the main thrust of his argument focused on Sony's continuing efforts to appeal to "non-gamers" and grow the demographic to which the medium appeals - with products such as Eye Toy, which sold to a much wider and more evenly distributed demographic than the PSone or PS2 has enjoyed, and the recently launched Singstar both highlighted as cornerstones of this approach.
"To some extent, we are recycling consumers, and we have to break out of that," he told the summit. He went on to demonstrate Killzone, The Getaway: Black Monday and Gran Turismo 4, explaining that "we must continue to have games of this nature to continue growing the software market in a traditional way, but even more important is to bring in new consumers and non-gamers."
Reeves primarily focused on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 platforms in his keynote speech, with his only comment on the PS3 being a plea to publishers not to "leave money on the table" by moving away from the old hardware too quickly, while on the topic of the PSP, he assured the summit that hardware shortages should not be an issue. "We believe that we will have enough hardware to satisfy the market," he said; "it's up to you to provide the software."