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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 13, 2013 at 7:01 PM

E3: Sony exec on PS4 pricing, fighting Xbox and more

LOS ANGELES — After its slow start with the PlayStation 3, Sony is coming out swinging with the PlayStation 4.

The company believes it can lure Xbox 360 owners — and their friends, John Koller, vice president of platforms marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, told me at E3.

Here are edited excerpts of our conversation:

Did Sony plan in advance to strike out at Microsoft on Monday night, during its press conference?

We had that strategy all along so nothing really changed.

How about the price – did Sony respond to Microsoft announcing the Xbox One would cost $500?

We were very interested in what they did, but we’ve had the price in place for a long time. A lot of people asked me, “Did you make a change between the end of their press conference and the beginning of ours/” No, we didn’t make any change. We were locked in for quite a long time.

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Are you losing money on the console to start?

We won’t get into that.

If you add the camera into the box, the price difference narrows.

We looked at that as an opportunity to give gamers choice. We didn’t force it into any SKU.

Nintendo sees a perceived price cut for Wii U. Do you think people will gravitate toward the lowest-price console?

I think it’s going to be a choice between three very different ways of looking at the world. The Wii aside, the 360 and PS3 were fairly similar in our approach to games. But right now we’re seeing a real divergence. We’ve been very overt about the fact that we stand for game and gamers. We want to be very focused on that. It doesn’t mean we want to abdicate anything in the digital entertainment area, but we want to be very focused on the gaming side.

Xbox … is very much into digital entertainment with games as a bit of a chaser. The press conference, they tried to come back with, “We’ll we’ve got a lot of great games and whatnot.”

I think the Wii U, or Nintendo, is trying to capture an area of the market that has not been theirs before — the core consumer. But it’s not as technologically capable as the other two. So now you’re getting a real choice, if you’re a consumer coming in.

What we believe firmly is the gamer coming in is going to choose the PlayStation 4.

So you think you’ll win gamers away from the Xbox?

We think our proposition allows for that type of switching. When you look at our focus on games, there’s a real opportunity to reach out to Xbox 360 fans and say, “Llook at the opportunity in front of you on PlayStation 4. The best place to play is there. Bring your clan with you.”

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