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Controller Freak

Chad Sapieha leads you deep into the world of games, covering gaming trends

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E3 '09: Sony media conference Q&A with Matt Levitan Add to ...

As for Gran Turismo 5, we haven't released an official date, but we're trying to get that out this calendar year, so it could be a holiday game as well.

Some of the other ones are a little further off. God of War III, which was really wowing the audience, has been slated for March 2010.

Last Guardian hasn't been given a date, but that might be my most anticipated game because Shadow of the Colossus [which was made by the same studio, Team Ico]was maybe my favourite PS2 game of all time. I had a chance to see the video we showed here a few months ago, and it was really tough to keep it a secret. It just looks like an incredible gameplay experience.

And then there's Final Fantasy XIV: Online, which is coming to PS3 exclusively. I only learned about that one a week or two ago, but I'm jazzed. I played Final Fantasy XI for about a year and a half.

So there are tons of great exclusives, four or five of which are set for this holiday season. But we wanted to show some of what will be coming out in 2010 and 2011, and I think we did a great job of that as well.

How big a role does exclusive content play? Will people buy a PS3 this fall because they want to play Uncharted 2, or are they buying it because of brand loyalty, multimedia features, or its Blu-ray capabilities?

I think games are still the primary driver for console sales. And price, obviously. I watch a lot of Blu-ray movies, and I enjoy the photo modes and watching slideshows with music, but first and foremost you need to establish good software for a console, that it's a gaming machine first.

That was what we wanted to show today more than anything else. We have the most and the best exclusive software. And we've been able to do that by developing our own internal software teams. Gone are the days where you can go and write big cheques to third parties and make every game exclusive to one console or the other. A lot more stuff is multiplatform now because the cost to develop games is so much higher. You have to develop those internal teams. Whether it's Polyphony working on the Gran Turismo series or Santa Monica Studios working on God of War, when you're developing these games internally you know that they will be exclusive--and only possible on the PS3.

Could you provide a summary of Sony's strategy for the rest of this year and moving into 2010?

We are the only console manufacturer out there with three viable platforms working at the same time.

With the PS2, the strategy is to keep it rolling. It's in its ninth year, we've got 100 games coming out, it's priced at $109 in Canada. There's so much software for it and it's such an affordable price. If you're not a hardcore gamer, and you don't need a next-gen system, it's a great option.

With the PSP, we showed today that we have a couple of different options: the existing PSP-3000 SKU, and then also the PSP Go!, a handheld option built completely around digital distribution. The goal for these systems this year is to finally bring forward some killer apps. I think we missed that a bit last year.

And then the goal for PS3 is to set a benchmark for software, and to show that these games are only available for PS3 and that they can only be done on PS3, whether that's because these games need a dedicated hard drive or have built-in Blu-ray functionality. We think that's a good differentiator for consumers.

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