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Tretton: Sony doesn't "bribe" for exclusives

An interview in this month's PlayStation Magazine held a couple revelations. First, Sony doesn't shell out money to keep a game exclusive, or buy exclusive content to make a game seem better on their console. Second, Jack Tretton feels Sony is the "middle ground" for gaming -- we'll explain in a bit. We're not sparking this flame -- this is Tretton himself and we honestly couldn't agree more with him.

In the interview, Tretton said "We have a very different approach to exclusives than some of our competitors. We don't buy exclusivity. We don't fund development. We don't, for the lack of a better term, bribe somebody to only do a game on our platform. We earn it by saying "you can build a better game on our platform. If you focus your development on our platform, you will ultimately be more successful." We believe him. Even if, over the next few years, only half of the PS2 owners of the world adopt a PS3, it will be the most successful machine this generation and spending, say, $50 million dollars to some company for exclusive downloadable content would be completely meaningless.

Tretton also touched upon what exclusive games meant to Sony. "You know, if we were working on three games, it doesn't make for a very big exclusive list, but if we got 15, we've got a larger exclusive list before the third party comes to you with an exclusive. You almost get to the point where Nintendo's at, where they can do it without the third parties, but I don't know if that makes for a healthy environment. I think we sit perfectly in the middle. Microsoft is too dependent on the third-party community, and Nintendo is too dependent on first-party. We like to feel that we got a pretty good mix." Nobody can deny this. Tretton hit the nail on the head. Even though the price is high, even though the big library of games is still a month or two away, that is the reason Sony will continue to pull through. They don't, as the old saying goes, put all their eggs in one basket.

[via Joystiq]

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(Page 1)

1. I like the contrast to this story here as compared to joystiq. I started to post a response there, but figured it would just be drowned out by the "Sony is doomed!" drone.
The whole interview is pretty interesting, especially when he talks about the realization that they're got to help developers more, and share the knowledge that comes from past games. The fact that things learned from Resistance were passed on to the guys working on Lair when, technically speaking, they are two completely separate development teams is great. He also mentions that the development tools for supporting features of Home should be getting into developer's hands in the next month, if they aren't already.

He also talks a lot about making it more clear just what you are buying with a ps3, pushing the media capabilities as well as the games, and branching out beyond the normal users of a gaming system. He also makes it clear that they understand the need to push the gaming side of the system as well though, not just making it a Blu-Ray player that also does games.
"We absolutely have to pull out all the stops. We have to throw budget out the window and do everything we can to showcase the technology as soon as we can, because we think the third-party community is obviously going to be hesitant given the investment that they're going to have to make."

Posted at 1:17PM on Jul 4th 2007 by mccomber

2. This is one of the big reasons why I like Sony more than Microsoft. Microsoft is almost... mean-spirited in it's business practices. Between essentially bribing developers like Take Two to only make certain content for the 360, charging users for online service when other companies offer it for free, I don't get how anyone can STAND what MS does. I don't get how there's ANY brand loyalty for the Xbox, especially considering how they completely abandoned their system FOUR years after its release. Clearly they don't give a damn about customer satisfaction, they're more interested in getting your money.

Hmm. A bit of a rant there. Sorry 'bout that.

Posted at 1:35PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Stef Geiger

3. They don't spend millions on an exclusive, yet the spend billions to promote a format.

It would be indeed just stupid to spend millions on a console if you can spend billions and a delay of a year on a blue-ray device.
So the PS3 was a cheap blue-ray player, and now it is and an expensive blue-ray player and an expensive console. Not only that: every game on the PS3 is also available on the cheaper XBox, with the potential that in 2/3 years games will look better on the PS3. (if the developers will even care to make it look better)
So we know Sony won't spend millions on MGS, so it will be on the XBox too. Nice work Sony, nice work.

Posted at 1:35PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Iother

4. It's Sony's problem if they don't want to pay for exclusives. I could care less if M$ went out and paid a gazillion dollars for exclsuivity, it's all about providing a good expierence for their gamers. I'm not bashing Sony, I'm just saying that the industry is changing and they aren't the be all and end all of video games anymore. If they want exclusives they'll have to pony up the cash to compete!

Posted at 1:43PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Elliot J

5. This sounds to me like

"We're taking the moral highground when it comes to exclusives"

When they're losing money this way.

Posted at 1:47PM on Jul 4th 2007 by DaveC

6. @Elliot J
that would only lead to some game companies purposely strong arming a hardware maker to do it's bidding. If you ever get to the point where all you worry about is exclusives you'd run yourself ragged shelling out money to them.

@Iother MS has another source of income just like Sony so them pushing their format is not unlike MS pushing Windows/Vista, MSN messenger, charging for some Live stuff. the price you pay for the PS3 having Blu-Ray will go down vs time compared to live which probably never see a reduction of cost. IF by some reason the 360 last 5 years or more this time you'd be spending atleast $250. odds are the PS3 will be around for atleast 7 years (unless some unseen event happens)

Posted at 1:53PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Kxpuc

7. Iother, thanks for putting all the crap in one place so they can be addressed together

"the PS3..is an expensive blue-ray player and an expensive console".
The PS3 IS expensive - USD200 more - if you are willing to take a chance on a 33% defect rate. If you are sensible, deduct USD140 for warranty.
So USD60 more for multiplayer, bigger hard disc, 1000+ PS2 games, it seems like a great deal even before you reach blu-ray and wifi which many people, admittedly, wont use.


"every game on the PS3 is also available on the cheaper XBox"
Lair, heavenly, Motorstorm, R:FOM, Warhawk, Ratchet, Drake: uncharted, FF13, MGS4, Wipeout, SOCOM, Killzone, Little Big Planet, White knight Story, Folksoul, God of War 3, Eyedentify, Hot shots Golf, Singstar

And Tretton, ass though he might be, is right - look at the 360 - Ace combat 6, Splinter Cell 5, Bungie, Rare, Mistwalker, GTA 4 episodes - ALL bought!

Posted at 2:10PM on Jul 4th 2007 by rfom

8. I was discussing this yesterday with some gamers at work, and we all agree: Tretton is an idiot. Well, he's the mouthpiece for the idiots behind Sony's decision to NOT buy exclusives.

This may seem like an underhanded, mean thing for Microsoft to do, but you know what? For most gamers, THEY DON'T CARE!!! They don't care what goes on behind the scenes, they don't care how much money was spent on the game, and they don't care what any executive has to say about their corporation. What they care about is playing video games. And they'll play it on whatever system they show up on.

So if Microsoft wants to shell out the money to get the exclusive, more power to them. People will be drawn to whatever system has the game they want to play. I was originally going to buy GTAIV for PS3, because I only own one PS3 game. Not anymore. Since the downloadable content is only on the 360, I will buy it for that system. THAT is why Microsoft does what they do. And that is what Sony needs to learn.

Posted at 2:33PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Adam

9. @rfom: Nice post. I like how you actually multiple legitimate arguments and actually backed them up with facts instead of resorting to the retarded fanboyism that seems to be so prevalent these days. It's a lost art.

While we're on the subject, what worthwhile exclusives does the 360 have coming down the pipe? GTA4 episodes, ok, but I'm betting there'll be enough content in the game as it is. Halo 3? I can think of DOZENS of better shooters. Splinter Cell? Too boring for me.

I know I'm only one person, but I shed no tears in this exclusives battle, because the 360 exclusives don't interest me at all. Not flamebait - I know there's lots of people who are stoked for Halo 3 etc, but the 360 pretty much has NO games I'm interested in that aren't also available on the PS3.

Posted at 2:37PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Stef Geiger

10. This is one of the reasons I like Microsoft more than Sony.Sony is almost...mean-spirited in it's business practices.Between pricing its console at $600 which is more than the average Joe is willing to pay or afford, focusing on Blu-Ray first and fun games second,suggesting that 5 million people would buy it even if it didn't have any games,telling people that rumble was "last generation" and couldn't be done on the PS3,making fun of Microsoft when they released 2 sku's and then doing the same and discontinuing the cheaper version,screwing over Europe by delaying the launch and removing the chip used for backwards compatibility but keeping the price the same,making a hard drive for the PS2 and then changing the PS2 around so it was utterly useless,I don't get how there's any brand loyalty for the Playstation especially considering how they completely screwed over everyone with the disk-read errors on the PS2 and wouldn't fix it until a class-action lawsuit was filed.Clearly they don't give a damn about customer satisfaction they're more interested in getting your money.Hmm... Shows that the tables can be turned anytime and that every company is after your hard earned cash not just Microsoft.

Posted at 2:42PM on Jul 4th 2007 by whizthekid

11. So what if its bought. Honestly what is the big deal. As a Sony owner you should be pissed they do not buy exclusives.

What this tells me pure and simple is that Sony is money hungry. Were as Microsoft gets my $400 console and uses it to buy game exclusives so I can enjoy my experience. This right there right in his words show you were the money for Xbox Live goes. The money from the consoles go. This shows you that Microsoft wants my business by buying games that I want.

Sony needs to take a page from this and realize that the "war" has changed.

Just like in history. The allies were not accustomed to fighting trench warfare in WW1 but they adapted. We were not familiar with Jungle war in Vietnam. And same goes for Iraq.

They need to adapt. If you pull a knife and then someone pulls out a gun you better pull out a gun or something that tops it or you will lose.

Bash me all you want for being an Xbox owner. But the simple truth is they can take the moral highroad all they want. But the way the road looks its going to lead to loser ville.

Posted at 2:46PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Andres

12. Dude and the American revolution is a good one The British army did not understand how to fight people that ran around and shot. Instead of lining up and firing in shifts.

They lost that war. Adapt or die

Posted at 2:51PM on Jul 4th 2007 by andres

13. Wow... every where I have seen this article, it brings out the Xbots.

Posted at 3:07PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Cagalli

14. @cagalli

why the insults?

Everyone has added to this conversation in a formal and cordial way. Except you come in and spot out some fanboyism.

grew up dude seriously grew up. Either add something or just be quite. What you do is not only embarrass yourself but ps3 owners all around.

Posted at 3:14PM on Jul 4th 2007 by andres

15. That argument about not putting your eggs into one basket would be a better argument if Sony's first party development wasn't as average as it is.

They make competent and occasionally great game but
has it ever been Sony first-party games selling their systems? I'd argue no.

PS1: Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid

PS2: Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Auto III

This just seems like a way of justifying where they find themselves and not a strategy they've been cultivating.

And really it's Nintendo's first-party oriented strategy that's been bringing in the money anyway...

Posted at 4:11PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Ninegauger

16. @2 Stef Geiger

You rock. You have the same view I do. I am suprised that Microsoft hasn't completely bought out Take 2. You look at how many games are made just for Xbox its unreal. And looking back into history Halo:Combat Evolved was supposed to be on PS2 as well until Take 2 sold Bungie.

When will people learn that Microsoft is a money grabber (its why they do well but its bad business)

My ten reasons why in no particular order(I will repeat some things other people said)
1. Charge $60 a year for online(canadian dollars)
2. Consoles have short lifespans
3. Warranties do no cover there damaged hardware
4. Consoles are defective
5. Charge $130 for the official Xbox 360 wireless add-on(canadian dollars)
6. Games and movies cost extra money on top of your yearly fee
7. Do not make any advancements in new gaming ideas.
8. Save money on customer service by using 3rd world labour(I have only experience this with Vista support but I imagine its the same
9. Save money by refurbishing the fucked up consoles and giving them back to the consumer
10. I cannot think of ten reasons and this took too long to write

You know whats too bad. Only people that have consoles already are reading this

Posted at 4:43PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Andy

17. @2 - Well said. Thats exactly what I think of M$.

I think from the time MS released the X-Box, they would have released 3 consoles while Sony would have released 1 (PS3) - if you get what I mean (because no doubt MS will release another console in 3 years). And these idiots who follow XBox have the cheek to say that the PS3 is too expensive.

What MS do is bring the quality of what ever market it is in down to very low levels. Look at their browser IE for example, shocking. Its the same in the gaming Industry where devs @ UbiSoft and EA are just churning out games instead of concerntrating on making them exceptional games. I would never buy a game from EA, and for them to come out and say that they are having trouble with Frame-rates on the PS3 means nothing to me. At the end of the day they are incompetant, and have been for over a decade now.

@8 You are completely justifying what Tretton is saying. You care about what you play at the end of the day, yes? What Sony are saying is 'if they create a game on the PS3, a better game will be created', thus WE get a better game - now do you get it? What MS is doing is lowering down the quality of games, and half-assed companies just port shoddy games across. MGS4, KZ2, and GoW3 will all show what the PS3 is capable, and I think then, developers (UbiSoft, EA etc) should all feel ashamed of themselves for releasing such tripe.

Rant over :)

Posted at 4:43PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Tryst

18. MS is doing the same thing Sony did to Dreamcast.

Sony killed the Dreamcast with whatever back door deal they did with EA.

You have got to be kidding me.

Posted at 4:51PM on Jul 4th 2007 by langx

19. @Ace

You are really confusing. You say you spent $600 on the superior system yet you say you want your money back.

Another thing about Msoft. I just got Windows Vista (I enjoy it) but I don't enjoy how you have to pay for every damn thing. FOR EXAMPLE WINZIP SHOULD BE FREE. IT IS $50!!!!!!!!!

When companies give in to Msofts funding they are telling me there game isn't good enough to make a profit on its own! I want to get a Wii someday.

Posted at 5:35PM on Jul 4th 2007 by Andy

20. There are too many things wrong with this article to list, so I'll try to stick to the main points...

1. I keep hearing the Sony execs. say that a better game can be made on their console, but we've yet to see any evidence of that.

2. MS is in a position where they have no choice but to pay in order to make up market share from last gen. They can't possibly just "hope" everyone will buy an xbox the same way Sony "expects" you will buy a ps3. If MS wants to make up ground, they have no choice but to pay for it and they have the money to do so.

3. Someone talked about customer loyalty from MS. Blu-ray anyone? Did Sony worry about your bank accounts before they put a tremendously expensive and hugely unneccessary player in their console?

4. The game is changing so either adapt or die off like the dinosaur.

5. Sony needs to put games on their console and by just allowing exclusives to slip away they are putting themselves in a bad position. People didn't buy ps2's because it was a ps2... they bought it because it had the most and best games. Sony has lost site of this in favor of pushing formats.

6. The only reason Sony had so many more exclusives was because there were 100 mil. ps2's in the world. Sony doesn't have that luxury any longer.

7. Having the best selling console (ps2) allows you to bargain in ways other than payoffs.

People don't agree with stubborness. This is business and Sony could care less about you any more than MS cares about its customers. At the end of the day, it's all about the cash and as the old saying goes, "you have to spend money to make money."

Posted at 5:38PM on Jul 4th 2007 by maynard

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