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Sony Unveils New Games for PS3

22 May, 2007 By: John Gaudiosi

SAN DIEGO — Sony is hoping that 90 third-party games and 15 first-party exclusives can entice gamers to fork over $600 for PlayStation 3s this fall.

The company is focusing on games, rather than any type of hardware price cut, to ignite sluggish sales of its Blu-ray Disc next-generation console.

“Our whole approach today was to show people new games,” said Peter Dille, SVP marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America, at Sony's Gamer's Day at its San Diego development studio. “We feel like we have a worldwide development studio that's unrivaled — it's larger then Microsoft and Nintendo combined. The output of that studio organization is tremendous for creating viable, exclusive content for each of the Sony platforms.”

Dille said Sony feels like it's hitting all of the bases, from sports to action to role-playing games. Some of the games shown at the two-day event included MLB 07: The Show, the fighting game Heavenly Sword, the RPG Folklore, and action games such as Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.

“We're getting into a broader base of users much quicker then our competition,” Dille said. “Our competition has been successful in one genre or maybe two, but we have a much better track record of delivering something for everybody.”

Among the exclusives titles that attracted attention were two online-only games, SOCOM Confrontation and Warhawk. While Sony will sell these fall releases at retail, gamers will be able to buy both titles digitally through the PlayStation Network Store and download them to the PS3's hard drive. The retail version of SOCOM will include a pack-in voice communicator that allows gamers to chat online.

Dille said that these games will introduce many gamers to the free online gameplay capabilities of PlayStation Network. Sony already has 44% of the PS3 installed base active on PlayStation Network, which has 1.5 million gamers (775,000 PS3 gamers online in North America). Dille said that number is significant considering Sony has not marketed the online functionality yet, which will change this fall as PlayStation Network becomes part of the marketing push for next generation.

“What's going to happen this year is now we have things like Home and new games like Little Big Planet, Warhawk and Killzone,” Dille said. “I know consumers like free, and once we start promoting Home, I think the number of online gamers will hit overdrive. I'm very confident in people getting online with PS3.”

Dille said the 1.5 million gamers already have made 6 million downloads to date, including game trailers, demos and games. (Microsoft has 6 million Xbox Live users with a blend of free accounts and paid subscriptions.) New digitally distributed PS3 titles like Calling All Cars have been selling briskly. Sony showcased a number of new online games that will be available for digital purchase this year, including Pain, Bowling and Little Big Planet.

Later this year, Dille said Sony will unveil its plans to add music, movies and TV content to its digitally delivered offerings.

“We're working hard on it,” Dille said. “I think it will be this year. There are a lot of people who want to make it happen. But we're also making sure we get the consumer experience right out of the gate.

“We want to evolve it, but we want to make sure we nail it at launch. I don't think people have to wait too much longer.”

When asked if the recent success of Microsoft's Xbox Live Video Marketplace, which has catapulted the Xbox 360 to the No. 2 digital delivery spot behind Apple's iTunes, has had any impact on Sony's plans, Dille said Sony has the power to do it right.

“Microsoft's success with movie and TV distribution bodes well, but I don't think we needed that to validate our strategy, when you have a PlayStation Network and a company like Sony with Sony Pictures and Sony Music,” Dille said. “We have a pipeline with the PS3 that goes into homes and we have a hard drive in every PS3. “People don't just have to download games. There are other things people can be downloading and we'd love to have them. We just have to get the service right.”

Sony will also continue to support PS2, which now has a global installed base of 115 million. New games coming out for that console are more mass-market driven like the karaoke game, Sing Star, and the party-trivia game, Buzz, which comes with special four-player controllers.

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