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Sony: MS has "very few" first-party studios

VP says company is out-pacing rival on first-party software, and closing gap on third-party

Rob Dyer, SCEA's senior VP of publisher relations has said that while Microsoft is more likely to attract third-party developed exclusives such as Mass Effect, it doesn't have enough first-party studios delivering the same level of content as Sony.

"They have very few first-party studios at Microsoft," Dyer said, in an interview with IndustryGamers. "Bungie's next Halo is the last one, Rare rarely puts out anything, you've got Peter Molyneux with his Fable stuff... but they don't have first-party development studios inside at Redmond or anywhere for that matter. We do.

"So rather than putting their money behind that, they've been going to Epic or Valve or BioWare to do what they did with Mass Effect, and that's where they throw their dollars."

"We're not going to compete with Microsoft on that front," he added. "But what we have is a global business here. Our global business is bigger than 360's and will continue to get bigger than 360, and people are seeing that. We passed them in Europe and they don't even exist in Japan, and we're going to catch them and pass them here in the US as well."

The PS3's $299 price point has "resonated", Dyer said, to the extent that many US stores are now seeing shortages.

But the even better news, he added, is how the increase in the console's installed base has translated into software sales.

"They had a year's head start against us, so we've been playing catch-up ball," he said. "Before the price cut, they had a two-to-one advantage; if you were a third-party publisher looking at the index, you should have been selling twice the number of units on the 360 as you would on the PS3."

However, that hasn't been Sony's findings, and Dyer says the ratio is down to 1.6 to 1.0 - "What we've been finding is that outside of the shooter category we literally over-index every single category - sports, fighting, action/adventure, music, etc."

"We do better for our publishing community than 360 does," Dyer stated, drawing attention in particular to Madden, which he says had an index of 1.4 to 1.0. "That's only going to get better and better as the installed base continues to grow."

"We're not going to get the exclusive games," he admitted. "The Mass Effects, Gears of Wars and Left 4 Deads aren't going to happen nearly as often."

"But we have our own first-party development and exclusives like Final Fantasy XIV and Agent. Exclusives just aren't as commonplace as they were during the PS2 days.

"What is going to be the driving force is either exclusive ad campaigns, like the Madden campaign, or exclusive content like we had with Batman.

"The PS3 version outsold the 360 version, and what we've said to [developers] is, 'if you take advantage of what the PS3 can deliver – more content on the Blu-ray disc, better graphics, being able to get more of what the player wants onto the disc – you're going to see those sales translate'."

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Kath Brice