Sony Speaks on Exclusive DLC, PlayStation Move,

Gamasutra has a lengthy interview with Sony Computer Entertainment America senior vice president of publisher relations Rob Dyer, which is definitely worth reading. I've combed the text and have pulled a few choice quotes from Mr. Dyer, covering topics on Sony's publisher relationships, exclusive DLC, PlayStation Move, Microsoft's Project Natal, and more.

To the fight against Microsoft and its competing Xbox 360 console, Dyer speaks bluntly about the amount of money Microsoft can pour into its efforts:

I'm not going to sit here and try and figure out who's got the bigger you-know-what between me and [Microsoft]. They're going to win when it comes to money anyway, anytime, all day, all night. It doesn't matter. Let's figure out how to make the industry bigger. Let's grow this thing.

This was presented in a discussion about getting exclusive content, like Sony and Eidos' deal for Joker content in Batman: Arkham Asylum. It doesn't hurt that Dyer used to work at Eidos, but the point remains. This is perhaps an allusion to Microsoft's pricey exclusivity deal for Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content, a deal that Dyer is quick to jab at later in the interview:

If you want to go and have a conversation with Rockstar -- and talk about how many people were actually able to download their exclusive content they did for Microsoft -- it would be a very different story.

I think it's hysterical that they're aggressive about that because if you're a publisher and a developer, you have to make a decision as to how you're going to have that delivered as a DLC exclusive. They've got two different machines. Are you going to give it for the arcade user or the guy that actually has a hard drive. We don't have to worry about that.

While I agree that it's much easier for a publisher to know that its DLC will be available to every PS3 owner, I think there are two different arguments. The GTA IV episodes were essentially full games, priced higher than other DLC offerings, and offered digitally. Both episodes were eventually released at retail on a disc across all three platforms that GTA IV was released on. It is also important to think about how many gamers perhaps purchased GTA IV on the Xbox 360 after the promise of exclusive DLC was made.

For run-of-the-mill downloadable content, it appears to sell better on the Xbox 360. It is probably a number of factors all tied together, but most notably the fact that many multiplatform titles sell better on the Xbox 360. Recently, the "Stimulus Package" DLC for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 sold one million times in the first 24 hours on the Xbox 360. This took the PS3 a week to achieve. In that same week, the Xbox 360 DLC snagged an additional 1.5 million downloads. This particular DLC was available for an entire month exclusively on the Xbox 360 before hitting the PS3 and PC. A similar deal is in place for the games second DLC pack.

Another large point of competition between Sony and Microsoft will be each company's upcoming motion controls, Move and Project Natal respectively.

We've seen the Natal. We saw that tech. We passed on it.

Now, the big difference with the Move and the Natal, if you're going to do it with Natal, you're going to do it exclusive with Microsoft. That's not going to be the case for the Move. You have a code base that works across all three platforms. How do you build that up and how you implement it into your game? Do I think you're going to see [inappropriate Move implementations]? Absolutely.

Now, keep in mind part of this man's job is to entice publishers to put resources toward Sony platform games over others; obviously he's going to knock Natal. He does bring up a good point, however. Natal is different from anything else and anything that utilizes Natal fully will most likely be Natal exclusive. The other end of this argument is that Move games will just be ports of existing Wii games and ideas. Dyer addresses this point.

Sony might be willing to simply deny a game if it is something that failed to sell on the Wii, but the pressures of offering a strong launch day line-up of software is very real:

If it's day and date. If it's day and date, we'll work with them on it. If it's a port, then we'll move it a step, to [a PSN downloadable title]. Unless it's something that they've done an incredible amount of adjusting... We want to be a one-to-one experience.

The Wii doesn't have a camera. We've got a camera. Use that camera, implement that in there. A lot of these guys don't want to. They just want to use the accelerometer and say, well... No. Not gonna happen. It doesn't work that way. Put the camera in there, make it work with that, get your trophies, up-res is, put some more content in, come on down.

This is similar to a problem Sony is seeing with the Minis program, offering small applications and games for the PS3 and PSP. Ports of iPhone games are quite frequent.

My other concern with a lot of the Minis is they've been rehashed, recalibrated iPhone games that when you look at and review it, you're like, "Really? What are you doing differently here? Not much." There have been a couple that have been really cool, but for the most part, a lot of it has been up-resed, recalibrated iPhone stuff.

Time will tell if the Minis program pans out of it will be relegated to iPhone ports. As for Move, we'll find out this fall when it launches. Expect a big showing at E3 2010 for Move (and Natal) as both will definitely be a focus of the 2010 holiday season.

Read the full interview over at Gamasutra for more from Rob Dyer.

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