At E3 last week I talked to PlayStation marketing man Peter Dille about a range of topics, the first of which, naturally, had to be the announcement by Microsoft that the formerly PS3-exclusive "Final Fantasy XIII" was also going to debut on the Xbox 360.
Did the announcement hurt Sony? I asked, and he said...
Multiplayer: You guys talked about exclusives. And there's a lot of really cool exclusives coming out. But I wanted to talk to you about an exclusive that's no longer an exclusive, and that's "Final Fantasy XIII." Microsoft made a whole big deal about it. They showed it at the end of their press conference as their big surprise. You guys are saying exclusives are really important. So does not having "Final Fantasy XIII" anymore just for PS3 hurt you guys?
Peter Dille, Senior Vice President for Marketing and PSN, Sony Computer Entertainment of America :What you have with "Final Fantasy XIII" is a lot like what they've paid for with "GTA." It's not an exclusive on their platform. It's now a cross-platform game. Sand I think if you look at how "GTA" behaved in the marketplace and how it drove -- or didn't drive -- either console, that's what I'm talking about. Consumers responded to "GTA" on the PS3 just as they did on the 360. And it becomes a bit of a jump ball. But it didn't rise the tide for them. And I think if you fast forward to when "Final Fantasy XIII" comes out I think you're going to have millions of people who grew up playing "Final Fantasy" on the PlayStation playing it on a PlayStation 3. They spent a lot of money, I'm sure, to get "Final Fantasy" onto the 360 but at the end of the day it's on our platform as well. Which is why we focus on, "Let's look at what happens when you have "Metal Gear Solid" on your platform … when the NPD numbers come out ... I think you'll see the value of what a real exclusive title does and how it raised the bar for PS3 versus 360.
Multiplayer: Do you think it's going to be harder to have those exclusives, though, if they're not first party. You're basically going to have Microsoft or whoever else paying to get those exclusives as well. Do you think we're going to be seeing fewer exclusives?
Dille: Well obviously Microsoft seems to be opening the checkbook a fair amount. But I think the reality is games are very expensive to make, Developers know they have to amortize that investment over a global marketplace and the best place to do that is on a PlayStation format. Because if you look at the global footprint, PlayStation 3 dominates in Japan where the 360 is really irrelevant. In Europe, the PlayStation 3 is already past the 360. And in the United States you have a dogfight. You've got PlayStation 3 and 360 going at it and we've swung the momentum our way outselling the 360 during the first half of the year. So back to the third-party community, they're looking at what's going on, they're realigning their development resources to exploit PS3 and I think they understand that if they want to have a global return on their investment, PlayStation 3 is the only place they're going to get it.
[Multiplayer will have much more from our E3 interviews with the top gaming people at Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo as the week goes on.]