With GameStop and EB Games now accepting pre-orders for the Playstation 3 console Firing Squad decided to get some answers from Sony itself about their launch plans for their next-gen product. FiringSquad got some answers from Sony Computer Entertainment America Corporate Communications member Kimberly Otzman (FiringSquad attempted to learn more about their PS3 online plans but our questions to the directed PR folks went unanswered at the time of this news post)
FiringSquad: Why was the decision made to give the US four times as many launch units than Japan? Is it because Sony thinks the US is a more competive market than Japan considering the low sales of the X360 in Japan?
Kimberly Otzman: No, given the efficient distribution system in Japan we can deliver 100K units a week and still reach our original target of 6 million units WW by the end of FY06.
FiringSquad: Can you give us an idea of the percentage of launch units for the $599 PS3 versus the $499 PS3?
Kimberly Otzman: We have yet to announce specific allocations of the SKUs in the North America. This information will be announced at a later date. However, I can report that retailers have shown a very high interest in the high-end PS3 SKU.
FiringSquad: Since there will be a relatively low amount of units for the PS3 for the launch, how will this affect marketing and advertising for the PS3? Will there be less or more accocated for the console compared to what Sony did for the PS2?
Kimberly Otzman: Just to clarify, we are making more PS3 units available at launch than we have for previous launches and compared to what the competition offered last year at launch. Having enough supply to meet our consumer demand is very important to us; we will make every reasonable effort possible to make sure we this will happen.
FiringSquad: How confident is Sony that it can have 1 to 1.2 million PS3 units in the US by the end of the calendar year, especially with the uncertainty of the supplies needed for the console?
Kimberly Otzman: We plan to ship more than 2 million units by the end of the year and our 6 million target by the end of FY06 is unchanged.
FiringSquad: Some financial analysts are lowering their forcasts for the PS3 and the video game industry as a whole downward and some game developers we have talked to have told us they feel the Xbox 360 and the Wii will benefit from these developments. How does Sony feel about these developments?
Kimberly Otzman: We never adjust our business strategies based on competitive movement. If you look at our history, we’ve launched our platforms ahead of our competitors and we’ve launched after, either way, we’ve proven our success time and again.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us at this stage about the online PS3 network for the console? Will it still be dependend on third parties to provide support or will Sony create a central network akin to Xbox Live Arcade?
Kimberly Otzman: SCE is building on the success of its existing online gaming service with the PS2 (currently there are more than 3 million online users) and PSP, and is also partnering with Sony Online Entertainment to create a new online service for PLAYSTATION 3 users. Our goal is to create an environment that is more than just a place to play games, it’s an environment centered on community or a virtual society. The online service for PS3 will be available on day one and will feature online game play, movies, music, chat, web browsing and many more features inherent in building a true online community.
FiringSquad: Neither of the PS3 consoles will ship with any HDMI cords to hook it up to a HDMI compatible HDTV. Since HDMI is one of the big selling points for the PS3, why was the decision made to make the consumer pay extra through a third party to fully use this feature?
Kimberly Otzman: Just to clarify, both configurations now have HDMI ports per our press announcement at TGS and we have not yet announced what accessories or cables will ship with the unit.
FiringSquad: Finally as the launch date for the PS3 gets near, can you give us an idea on what the final line-up of games be like in terms of number on launch day for Nov. 17?
Kimberly Otzman: Details on the PLAYSTATION 3 launch title line-up will for North America will be announced on a future date.