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Sony: "Hopefully last year is as bad as it gets"

Jack Tretton also dismisses imminent PlayStation 3 price cut saying company is looking at the long term plan

Sony Computer Entertainment president Jack Tretton has described fiscal 2008 as stormy, saying the period was a very challenging one for selling high-end, future technology.

While the company met its hardware sales targets for the year, Tretton told Fast Company it had been a tough year but that people are getting the message that the PlayStation 3 offers value for money.

"Hopefully last year is as bad as it gets. I think all indicators are that 2009 is going better than 2008. In 2008, we had a 38 per cent increase in sales and we hit our ten million-units-worldwide goal for PS3 sales... At the worst possible time, if you're hitting numbers and delivering success... my hope is that as our production efficiencies improve and more great games come to market, the horizon has got to be better for 2009 and 2010.

"It's like being out there in a storm - it does cause you to question your conviction, and tie yourself to the mast and weather the storm," he continued. "We have hit a very challenging period of trying to sell future technology, a high-end device, but is on the high-end retail pricing spectrum, at a time when people's disposable income is limited. But I think the fact we were successful in that says people are getting the message, that you get tremendous value when you buy a PlayStation product. Yes there are cheaper machines out there, but not ones that deliver the degree of value for the money that ours does."

Following Sony Corporation president Sir Howard Stringer's comments last week dismissing a PlayStation 3 price drop, Tretton relayed a similar message. "We could've come out with a PlayStation 2.5 for USD 299 or less, and in the first two or three years it would sell extremely well. But there would be a point where people would be going, 'I am not really seeing the incremental leap,'" he said.

"We feel that we're sacrificing the short term to pay dividends in the long term. People are having short-term thinking - the platform is not even three years old. It was USD 599; it's now USD 399. The focus on pricing is something we appreciate, but you have to have the conviction and the confidence that you are on the right path for the long term and ultimately you'll get all the consumers you want. You won't get them all day one, but we're looking to get them over a ten year period. It's going to take different things to get different consumers."

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