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SCEA's Steinberg On Enticing PS3 Adoption Through 'Comfort Brands'

The nuts and bolts of Sony's oft-stated, but rarely-scrutinized 10-year plan for the PlayStation 3 aren't just hardware strategy -- here, we learn what "comfort brands" have to do w
We've been talking to Sony about the nuts and bolts of its oft-stated -- but rarely-scrutinized -- 10-year plan for the PlayStation 3, first discussing the company's hardware strategy. But what about software? Sony Computer Entertainment of America product marketing VP Scott Steinberg has said that he hopes the PlayStation 2, already wrapping up its promised decade, will act as something of a gateway to expand PS3 adoption. On the hardware end, Sony's banking on fondness for the DualShock controller and interface synergies with the PSP to foster affinity for its console -- still new in the grand scheme of the 10-year plan. As for software, Steinberg says that, with some of the platform's more key franchises on PS2 being folded into the $19 "Greatest Hits" label, more users will embrace franchises like SOCOM and Metal Gear Solid, and follow their sequels onto PS3. "Those comfort brands are great messages to PS2 owners looking for games and brands they're familiar with but are upgraded for the new tech," says Steinberg. PS3 sequels, he says, will be "built to show off brands that were mainstays on the PS2." At the same time, Sony knows it needs to balance the so-called "comfort brands" with new IP like LittleBigPlanet and Resistance that focus on, leveraging what Sony sees as the platform's "competitive advantage" in tech. The PSP will also play a role in aiding the crossover, Steinberg says -- whereas the PS2 was "dominant" over the handheld, "I think the PSP and the PS3 will be an actual relationship that has interoperability... we've got a lot of great ideas around on how to make that extraordinarily cool." Digital downloads like Echochrome are also important, in Steinberg's view, to enticing more people into the PlayStation Store via the PSP. "Our focus is absolutely to have... games that lend themselves for smaller experiences and that are priced more affordably for folks to experiment with, and to have the big Blu-ray blockbusters be the mainstay of how we approach retail," he says. "We want to build cool new games, not just add to volumes of products that people don't want," he adds. Finally, where did the 10-year figure come from, and why is it so important to Sony? "It shows stability," Steinberg says, "and from a games industry standpoint, the trauma of having that Etch-A-Sketch get cleared off every three or four years as new platforms came online." "That was incredibly traumatic for development and traumatic to companies' viability and stability... The industry now is a mature industry. It's extremely healthy, and I think a lot of that can be pointed to the stability of a 10-year mission."

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