E3 2008: Q&A: Sony's David Reeves on 80GB PS3

European PlayStation chief discusses the decision to bring the new model to PAL territories and how it may affect sales.


At Sony's E3 2008 press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment America head Jack Tretton made a number of important announcements, including phasing out the 40GB PlayStation 3 model and replacing it with a new $399 80GB model. In addition, he announced that platinum games and a new PlayStation Video Store would be coming to North America.

SCEE CEO David Reeves.
SCEE CEO David Reeves.

Because most of these announcements were for North America only, European and Australian gamers had to wait until Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's (SCEE) media event later in the week for more-relevant details. We caught up with SCEE head David Reeves at this event to find out more about how the announcements will affect PAL territories.

GameSpot UK: Why have you decided to move up to the 80GB PlayStation 3 model?

David Reeves: Hard drives worldwide are a commodity just like memory sticks. I used to pay a fortune for memory sticks, even for a 64MB. Now I pay the same for a 2GB. Our strategy was very much based on the fact that we knew that the cost of a hard drive would come down. 80GB is probably cheaper now to buy than a 40GB.

Secondly, we know that people want more storage--that's a fact. Thirdly, we know that having higher capacity helps. If the Japanese say to us, "We'll give you the 80GB model at the same price as the 40GB model," are you going to say no? No, you're not, and we said "OK," and that's what we're going to do. They're already produced and they're on the boat to Australia, Europe, and to the UK. It was a no-brainer, and we thought that doubling the capacity with the same specs and the same price was probably a good way to go.

GS UK: What's the incentive to buy a 40GB PlayStation 3, given that there's no price reduction?

DR: Well there's virtually no 40GB models left. You'll probably find that you'll have to scrape around going from shop to shop to even find a PS3, even now. Now when you come to August 27, all you'll find is an 80GB model. So we have planned this, seriously, for the last eight months, and we've run down the stocks of the 40GB knowing we will introduce the 80GB. If the 40GB is still there we will add a piece of software or an extra DualShock 3 [controller] to it to move it through, and we say good-bye to the 40GB, hello to the 80GB.

Australia, I think they have a few more 40GB [models] than others, but they have some promotions in place to move them through.

GS UK: The Nintendo Wii is selling well, and Microsoft has announced price cuts for the Xbox 360 in America, in the UK, and in Australia. Given this, will additional hard drive capacity make any difference to PS3 sales?

DR: No, it's all planned in. We know what the PS3 sales will be. We're not expecting a dramatic uplift against our forecast because we knew that the 80GB was coming. I think the bigger enticement will be the [new software] titles.

GS UK: At the Microsoft press conference, Don Mattrick said that the Xbox 360 will sell more units this generation than the PS3.

DR: They won't in Japan. They won't in the PAL territories. So the deciding factor is North America, and that I can't comment on. I just don't know the figures. But I agree with Kaz [Hirai]. I think over a 10-year life cycle... I don't see it.

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