E3 '07 Q&A: Sony's Jack Tretton talks PS3 price cut

SCEA president and CEO discusses announcement timing, confirms 80GB system will use software emulation for backward compatibility.

SANTA MONICA, Calif.--Yesterday, in a pre-E3-emptive strike, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that it would be cutting the price of the 60GB model of the PlayStation 3 console in North America to $499 (C$549). It also confirmed that the 80GB model of the PS3, which was recently announced for South Korea, would also be coming to North American shores in August at a price of $599 (C$659), bundled with racer MotorStorm.

The announcement followed months of speculation, including a confirmation from CEO Sir Howard Stringer himself that he was looking to "refine" the PS3 price before the Christmas period, and various analyst predictions. Still, as recently as three days ago, Sony Corp. president Ryoji Chubachi told Bloomberg that the company still had no "immediate plans" for a price cut.

Is Sony playing coy or did it have a sudden change of heart? Is the price cut a shrewd move or an act of desperation? Will it lure more gamers into the PS3 fold or simply cut deeper into Sony's bottom line? GameSpot caught up with SCEA CEO and president Jack Tretton to get the lowdown on why the company decided to cut the price by $100, why it did it now, and what's next.

GameSpot: What was the reason for the price cut?

Jack Tretton: I think we have to put it in context. So, obviously, the introduction of the 80GB version of the PlayStation directly ties in with the decision to give the 60GB version a price cut. That's it's only for North America--we'll have different configurations for different regions.

GS: Why cut the price now?

JT: We're always looking to pass on value to our consumers. We felt that the 80GB version was called for by the amount of online content that is coming. We have 40 games coming to the PlayStation Network this year alone, and two Blu-ray disc-based games also available for download this year--SOCOM: Confrontation and Warhawk.

We believe that you have to have a device that every consumer needed, and we did that, not the competition. Every PS3 has an internal hard drive and a Blu-ray player with 50GB of storage capacity on a one-sided disc. And we will bring out games like Lair, which is a 25GB game, within the very first year of the production cycle.

GS: Are price cuts going to follow in other regions, like Japan and Europe?

JT: This is just a North American announcement.

GS: A lot of European gamers think they're getting a raw deal, with the PS3 already proportionally costing more than anywhere else, and now no news of a price drop for the region. What would you say to them?

JT: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is working very, very hard to bring added value to the European consumers. There will be announcements coming from them, but I personally cannot comment right now, I'm afraid.

GS: Any plans for first-party games to drop in price too?

JT: We have 15 exclusives coming this year from our Worldwide Studios alone. As a pricing model, we're pretty comfortable where we are.

GS: Are you expecting Microsoft to retaliate with its own price drop?

JT: We've had different competitors over the years, and we've never been first to market, or been the cheapest. We believe in a 10-year life cycle. If you spend all your time thinking about your competitors and what they're doing, then you lose your own path.

GS: So the price drop was not in response to any outside influences?

JT: No.

GS: Will the new 80GB models use emulation instead of the emotion engine, as those in Europe do?

JT: Yes, that is correct.

GS: Some people are saying that 20GB doesn't make an awful lot of difference. Can you envisage an even bigger hard drive in the future?

JT: The decision to add 20GB to the hard drive, as opposed to any other amount, was a matter of value. We're really trying to keep the price point at $599 and include MotorStorm as well.

GS: The MotorStorm bundle says "limited edition" on the box. How many copies will be available?

JT: It's going to be dependent on consumer demand. We will react one way or another once we see how it's going, in the same way that we did for the 20GB and the 60GB models. It will definitely be available through the holidays, and we will adjust after then according to consumer demand.

GS: Once this offer ends, will the 80GB model still be $600?

JT: What we will do going forward will depend on how we do against our business plan. At the moment, what we have announced now is the extent of our concrete plans.

GS: The original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 both had exclusive games which made them "must buy" consoles. What do you think will be that game for the PS3?

JT: I think the beauty of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 was the tremendous depth of content. If you asked 10 different consumers what that game was for them, you would get 10 different answers. So, I feel I can only speak for myself personally, and personally, I'm really excited about Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Heavenly Sword, Lair--which really shows off the Sixaxis--and the continuation of the SOCOM franchise, which has done great things on the PlayStation Portable and PS2.

So we're really excited about that coming to the PS3. In fact, we really feel that any of our current 15 exclusives right now are platform drivers. In fact, Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm have each already sold over 1 million copies worldwide over a brief period of time, so these two titles are also already platform drivers as well.

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456 comments
breakdown84
breakdown84

DUDE PS3 rocks, are u crazy wjkflke? You DEFINTELY are.

azimiballer
azimiballer

i got it.. because i didn't want the 80 gig. i don't want to have to buy emulation for backward compatibility

DeMoN_SouL_666
DeMoN_SouL_666

for me, i wouldn't mind to go all the way to USA, buy a PS3 and get back home, i live in a country called JORDAN (if any of u guyz know it), and the price tag for a 40Gig PS3 is around 700$, depending on the thief whos sellin it. and i think that if SONY knows about this, they will send the whole country to jail. (i hope so) so any price would be just just perfect for me. BTW, "no outside influence" my ass. (just wanted to say that).

Enigma2K99
Enigma2K99

Hell, I'm a PS3 owner, and even I think this is friggin' stupid....

BlueyesCyclone
BlueyesCyclone

""" Gubitz: Why the hell are u gonna trade ur 60gb PS3 for a 80 GB when u can just take the 60GB hard drive out and replace it with a 250GB Sata Note Book Laptop Hard drive. i live in the uk and if i did that it only cost me

AnIdleMind
AnIdleMind

jooohnnny: "PS3+lack of showing E3 - few AAA titles + Price cut for US & Japan only = How to Screw your self 101. Just Priceless" Ways to out yourself as a 360 fanboy: Claim the company with the (overall accepted by most who actually saw E3) best showing had a lack thereof, and few titles despite showing the most exclusives with real, actual potential. Yeah. I think that'd do it. Sure, I'm a PS3 fanboy. But anyone taking a non-biased view on this years E3 would agree with me: your opinion (while you are entitled to it) sucks.

jooohnnny
jooohnnny

PS3+lack of showing E3 - few AAA titles + Price cut for US & Japan only = How to Screw your self 101. Just Priceless

phantom5813
phantom5813

I am a UK gamer myself and am a little annoyed that Sony keeps s**tting on us down here. First no emotion engine, then

budboarder
budboarder

People should calm down about badmouthing sony. They make cutting edge technology affordable for most everyone and people complain that its too much. Stop complaining and buy a PS2 which most games are coming out for anyway. Or even buy another console, get out of the PS3 community...PLEASE. They finally start giving a little more value to the money you spend and....MORE WHINING? wow.

Slash_out
Slash_out

People are not fighting the games or the consoles. But the manufacturer ($ony) wich is obviously making fun of it's consumers.

jem306
jem306

werent games meant to be played and enjoyed games are made to have fun not to in some console war where everyone is fighting over which one is better. all the consoles have there pros and cons. So please just stop fighting and just enjoy the games

reactionsok
reactionsok

""Gubitz Yeh $50 is a big difference. ^_^ SlawekAB was that comment for real its only $50. But this does piss me off I think that those who bought the PS3 before this should be able to get the 80 gig by >trading in our 60 gig."" wow i should be able to trade my 2003 bmw 330ci for a new 2007 335i - you make so much sense you son of a beeeeeeeeeeeppp listen - you were one of the dumb ones that bought the system at such a high price. Your now have to live with your stupidity. PLEAse thumb me!

robbie_basic
robbie_basic

New interview says the 60Gb model will only be on sale untill stock runs out. This "price cut" is simply a clearance sale. Better get your PS3 while you still have the EE engine! Hahaha

Nayab
Nayab

"Fall of Man and MotorStorm have each already sold over 1 million copies worldwide over a brief period of time, so these two titles are also already platform drivers as well." Ummmm....maybe because there are only like 10 games available for the ps3 and those are the only 2 worth buying...

Gubitz
Gubitz

Yeh $50 is a big difference. ^_^ SlawekAB was that comment for real its only $50. But this does piss me off I think that those who bought the PS3 before this should be able to get the 80 gig by trading in our 60 gig.

SlawekAB
SlawekAB

man i was hoping for 150$ drop minimum i will still not buy it

Extra_Life
Extra_Life

shadowboi456: 'wiiner'? You don't know your genius :lol:'

shadowboi456
shadowboi456

Everyone...Why is everyone (fanboys) fighting over which is going to be wiiner in the console war's arn't games ment to be enjoyed? Wasn't that why people made games? All three next gen consoles are very good pieces of kit. I own all 3 and i prefare my PS3 more. That's my opinion we all live in a democracy and all have the right for your ow opinion so for god's sake. Keep your opinions about how bad the PS3/XBOX 360/ WII is. There all very good and inutive.

kevy619
kevy619

"gokylessj kevy619 Please explain how they look bad. People moaned about the premier (notice I did not you the word "elite" :-) ) model being so expensive and they dropped its price a couple of notches. Now, you M$ people can't get over the fact that they are including an extra 20 gig with a game, an extra controller and possibly 5 Blu-Ray movies for only $100 more? You guys would find a way to complain if they came out and said "We're giving everyone $20 to take home a PS3." I'm proud of every penny I paid for my great system. M$ has blinded you all to the fact that if you want your good dvd player you have to drop and extra $200. What's that on top of you $479 Elite tag? Surely you all can do math. And Daniel665, trolling rumor sites for bad PS3 "info" is just pathetic. I'm glad Sony fans are above this. I see no further need to defend my choice." i guess I didnt read the same article, 20 gigs to add value? The price drop wasnt in response to any outside influence? Working very, very hard for European customers? 10-year life-cycle?

boobush
boobush

GS: So the price drop was not in response to any outside influences? JT: No. ME: Kiss mein ass.

daniel665
daniel665

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

daniel665
daniel665

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bigpimppapa
bigpimppapa

I don't trust that guys face he looks like he is up to something. Like it is all about him not us GAMERS keep an eye out for him

vboydjr
vboydjr

I was going to read all 429 comments before mine and listen to all the Doom and Gloom over the price drop, but I got bored listening to all the great things on 360. I read a post that said the Halo 3 pic better than Killzone 2 pic. Do people realize that they snazz those up to promote the game?

allreginas
allreginas

Uhhh Hotdork..you might want to get your facts straight bud. Nothing has been confirmed nor will it because Kojima has last word on anything MGS related, not Konami. Second, the comment was made by the company spokesmen outside of Japan. He doesn't get any say either because Konami is a japanese based company.

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

I know that I am gonna get loads of minuses for this but I have played Halo and Halo 2 and I have not found it any better than any other shhoer out. I am not particuarly bothered about getting it for my 360. I am looking forward to warhawk and the new ace combat game the f(light stick looks cool) why does everybody get annoyed when a console looses an exclusive, all it means is that more people will get to play it. Isn't that a good thing?

sicboy041
sicboy041

So the PS3 price update has nothing to do with outside influence?? Yeah right. I've read this guy's interviews before and he does more doubletalk and spin with his answers than most politicians. Please... it's obvious that the PS3 price drop is in response to slow sales, the release of the 360 elite and success of the Wii. What does he think we are? Complete idiots? That's the problem with Sony these days. They don't give the consumer enough credit and are paying for it by pricing a system completely out of the market and having to do damage control before they lose even more ground in the market (N. America at least) to Nintendo and Microsoft.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mortzilla3
mortzilla3

So wait, is the $500 ps3 still going to have the emotion engine in it? I'm kind of confused.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

Haze is right up there with Pariah, Brute Force and Killzone. All hyped to be a killer app but were only ok if that. Stop crowning games before they come out.

haichuu
haichuu

Gamst3r Last I checked Haze is still PS3 exclusive (at least for '07 at least) so I don't see anyone being stupid. http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/haze/news.html?sid=6171219&mode=recent also your game list seem lacking for both systems let me help you out. PS3 has Lair, Uncharted, Heavenly Sword, Warhawk, LBP, MGS4, FFXIII, FFversusXIII,and some new Socom games 360 has Mass Effect, Bioshock, Too Human, Halo 3, Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, and Lost Odessey. (Sylpheed isn't looking too interesting) Point is both systems have a great line up I can't wait for (or really afford Leg. Halo 3 is going to wipe me out for Sep.) svaubel oh and Lair is being Published by Sony so saying Lair is coming to the 360 is like saying GOW or Halo is going to the PS3 won't happen anytime soon lol

shadystxxx
shadystxxx

saerath Haze is a first person shooter that is coming out. it's supposed to be a really good game, to go allong with the other ps3 exclusives this year ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Haze will be released for 360, if anything it's a timed exclusive. The only reason haze is not being released for the 360 at the same time is because of halo 3, how many copie's do you think it would sell competing with halo 3, not as many as it will sell when it comes out for 360 in Q1 08.

hotdork70minus1
hotdork70minus1

Wow ! The new Halo 3 " in-game " pic blows the new Killzone 2 game pic out of the water. I thought Sony was trying to show off their hardware when they put this out ?

gamst3r
gamst3r

hahahahaha no it doesnt hmmm lair not haze by the way dont be stupid um then they have little big planet and warhawk and heavenly sword ? oh and mgs 4 and 360 has eternel sonata halo 3 bio shock mass effect gears 2 project sylpheed and that one rpg made by the people who made chrono cross :) x box owns playstion hell halo 3 owns playstion itself! 4 milion halo 4 milion preorders and 3 milion ps3s on the planet

maddaddy8
maddaddy8

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Sony is still not dropping the price, I would much rather go with the 360 elite with its 120 gb hard drive for 479. Sony drop the ps3 under $400 with a game then we can talk.

Paul_TheGreat
Paul_TheGreat

The PS3 has plenty exclusives coming out later this year and next year.

svaubel
svaubel

Nicely put grayoldwolf. Aye Sony, you need games, not more features most of us wont even use, but GAMES! I will say this though, that if Lair gets a 360 version, I will have no reason to get a PS3 in the forseeable future

saerath
saerath

Haze is a first person shooter that is coming out. it's supposed to be a really good game, to go allong with the other ps3 exclusives this year

Ghaleon_basic
Ghaleon_basic

I like how he lies again about Playstation never coming to market first or being the cheapest. PSX [$300] was supposed to launch simultaneous w/ Saturn [$400 w/ VF] but SEGA jumped the gun on their own like morons.

grayoldwolf
grayoldwolf

I wouldn't call Resistance or MotorStorm "platform drivers", they're just the only two half decent exclusive games available for the PS3 at the moment. Oblivion is awesome, but not significantly different from the 360 version, so I'm hardly going to buy a PS3 for a game I've already played to death. More games please, Sony. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us this E3.

_DarKEviL_
_DarKEviL_

Albanian_Killa are you European to understand what I meant? I don't think so, so chatting is easy when you're on the US territory... I you were in Europe I think it will be different... Europe is the teritory where the most PS3 systems are sold so I think that it could be "normal" that SONY thinks a little bit more to Europeans consumers...European consumers who waited for so long for their PS3 (launch date delayed...), European consumers who paid more their PS3, Europeans consumers who didn't have the choice between the 20 or the 60 GB model, European consumers who had PS3 without Emotion Engine....Can I stop??? Sony doesn't care about Europeans, Europeans are useful to Sony to fill the losses of the sales of the PS3 in the USA and...That's all... WE NEED TO BE CONSIDERED just like normal consumers with price drops etc... And you said if a game doesn't work on your PS3 play it on your PS2...It's ridiculous coz the most of us sold their PS2 to buy the PS3... But you'll be able to see the problems with the software emulation because with the 80 GB model EE will be out of the system and then maybe you'll be able to understand us if you can't play some PS2 titles that you like...

jesus_knight
jesus_knight

good to know sony finally realised about their problems

devilnevercry9
devilnevercry9

we have been looking forward to this decision. but i do still expect that ps3 would upgrade it hard drive more than 80gb.

smfes
smfes

ýeah right us european costumers is getting **** on by Sony yea just forget us. Nintendo ft win

ccputgat2m
ccputgat2m

for the last time, they didnt drop the price. if you want a ps3, it will run you 500 or 600 dollars, same as launch. you just get more HD space, built in wi-fi at the 500 price point and more HD space and a game at the 600 dollar level YIPPIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! if price is what mattered, why werent the 20gig, $500 models flying off shelves? cuz its all about games, games, games, of which the ps3 is lacking

N8A
N8A

Now Sony just needs to work on games that interest me and i'll throw down the necessary amount of cash...please me sony...please please me

inferno394
inferno394

heh ha! the system hasn't been out a yr yet and they are already droppin the price! Its the middle class that decides which system will win this war. Its time to throw in the towel sony!