Sony on Thursday called out the 15th anniversary of the PlayStation, which will be marked by a series of promotions on the PlayStation Network.
It comes as Sony is about to launch the Move motion control system for the PlayStation 3, setting up a holiday sales battle with Microsoft’s upcoming Kinect system for the Xbox 360.
Sony said it sold more than 377 million PlayStation consoles and more than 2 billion software units since the line debuted in 1995. In the U.S., PlayStation sales are more than $63 billion over the last 15 years, or about 40 percent of the overall video game market during that period, the company said in its release.
Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, shared a few thoughts on the PlayStation’s milestone and competition before getting his slice of cake.
Here are edited selections of the conversation:
Interesting sales statistics in the anniversary news release …
“Another stat that jumps off the page — when we got involved, the business was $2.5 billion; now it’s close to $20 billion. It’s amazing the growth we’ve seen. We’d like to think we’ve had a share in driving that growth.”
How are you feeling about the Move vs. Kinect competition this holiday season, especially now that you’ve seen Microsoft’s Kinect in action?
“Our perspective has become much more bullish as we get closer to launch. We’ve had a chance to get people playing our system … The feedback we’ve gotten has been unanimous and tremendous. It’s, ‘I see what you mean about this precision thing.’ Our pre-orders continually are ramping up with consumers, retailers want to get more product.”
Do you expect a supply crunch with Move hardware?
“We’re hopeful that it’s a hot product. Based on the retailer feedback, they’d like to get more than they have at this point. That’s a high-class problem to have.”
What’s going to be the biggest Move title?
“The title that we feel really represents the great spectrum of experiences is Sports Champions.” [The game comes with the $100 Move starter bundle.]
Does this talk about the PlayStation brand signal more products coming soon — maybe a new mobile device?
“No new mobile launches this year.”
Will you be extending the brand to other company’s hardware that runs PlayStation games?
“Our strategy is to maintain the PlayStation brand on Sony devices and provide experiences that are exclusive and proprietary.”
How concerned are you about launching Move in the current economy? Will people be able to afford it?
“Every marketer in the country should be concerned and is conscious of the economy we’re living in. Having said that, we know many families might have had to forgo the big expensive vacation; you may not put a second addition on the house, But what we also know is families are looking for value.”
Are you going to promote it differently to reach more casual players?
“We’ll be buying different media and showing up on programming you might not have seen.”
Will you spend more this holiday season on marketing?
“Close to last year, but the mix is different.”
Are you going to spend more promoting Move than Microsoft spends on Kinect?
“I don’t think we’ll ever outspend Microsoft.”
How is the premium PlayStation Plus network doing?
“It’s right in line with our expectations.”
Any plans for more hardware price cuts this season?
“We’re pretty comfortable with $299. We feel like it’s a true sweet spot. Since we announced that last year, we’ve been challenged to keep the PlayStation in stock.”
The PS3 seems to have turned the corner. Will Sony now start investing more in game development and maybe buying more studios?
“You can’t buy a new studio every week.”
How are you going to celebrate the PlayStation anniversary internally?
“Several big cakes. It’s hard to make cake for 1,800 people.”