Sony's new PR boss Dave Karraker has been talking exclusively to Gamasutra on job shepherding the PlayStation 3's launch through, and he's surprisingly frank on both the problems and the positives of the media giant's upcoming challenges.
Though the full interview
includes plenty more detail on Karraker's background and PS3 and PSP specifics, but Karraker explains why he believes negative buzz has been focused on the PS3 of recent:
"The backlash that we’re seeing, a lot of it comes from being number one in the market. And it’s not interesting if somebody just succeeds and succeeds and succeeds. I think a lot of this falls on the shoulders of the media. You don’t sell magazines or blogs by saying Sony’s great, Sony’s great, Sony’s great.
That doesn’t generate reader interest, people want to see that maybe there are some chinks in the armor. But at the end of the day if you’d ask people if they’d like a PS3 or nothing at all, they’re gonna say I want a PS3!"
He then explains exactly what Sony are going to do to change the playing field:
"We were allowing media to drive the message for us, and interpret it for us. So allowing someone like Peter Moore, who’s a good friend of mine, to stand up there and say negative things about Sony, there wasn’t anybody refuting that. People just took that for face value. Now we’re very aggressively defending our turf, and attempting to right all the wrongs that have been said about us in the past, which includes misrepresentation of quotes from our executives. I think you’ve probably seen the difference, just in the last couple months, where if somebody goes out and says something negative about Sony, we’re not going to sit back and allow that. We’re going to position it properly, and provide the facts."
Karraker also gets into specifics with the PS3's achievements structure:
"What we’re trying to do with the Open Access platform is allow the game developers to dictate what the network experience is for the consumer. The majority of the networking features, aside from things like chat, texting, and emailing, you know, the basic community stuff, is all found basically in the game. So we’re allowing the games to set up the ranking, the achievements, and those different elements.
Frankly, how I view it is I don’t care if you’re great at Madden if I’m playing you in Resistance. Because that doesn’t tell me you’re that much better in Resistance. An overall score doesn’t really tell me much, it tells me you’ve spent a lot of time online, it tells me you spend a lot of time playing games, but it doesn’t tell me how good you are at a particular game. I’d much rather have Resistance set up a leaderboard so I know who I’m going up against, rather than somebody who’s great at Madden."
...and with the thinking behind the Sixaxis controller:
"The idea was that developing and incorporating technologies that are actually interactive, rather than passive. I like rumble, and when it came out I thought it was pretty cool, but if you really think about it, it really is a passive technology. You hit something, you feel rumble in your hands.
But I was just playing Lair yesterday, where you fly your dragon by tilting the controller, and it becomes incredibly intuitive, so I think that as more people, particularly third parties start harnessing the power and the idea behind it, you’re going to see stuff that just makes sense to do. At the same time, the stuff that we’re doing feels right with the controller that we have, so like tilting it to fly a dragon feels absolutely right, using it to do spin moves in NBA 07 feels absolutely right."
You can now read the full Gamasutra interview on the topic
, including lots more background on Karraker's experience and plenty more PS3 and PSP specifics (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).