Michael Denny on the PS Vita’s UK launch, Japanese sales and Sony’s multiplatform future

M Denny

We spoke to Michael Denny, the vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios Europe, at last night’s PS Vita launch. We discussed how he felt about the console finally arriving in Europe, his thoughts on the Japanese sales stories and how the PS3 and PS Vita combined to create a “PlayStation ecosystem” that, in the future, could include “non-Sony devices”. 

Official PlayStation Magazine UK How does it feel to finally launch the PS Vita in Europe?

Michael Denny Yeah, fantastic. Super excited. Our fifth major platform launch. And certainly fantastic excitement about having a true next gen portable device.

OPM It’s a challenging market for everyone at the moment. What does Vita have to achieve to compete?

MD You’re absolutely right, it’s a very competitive landscape out there from lots of different directions. So when you have a competitive landscape like that, the most important thing to have is a truly differentiated platform. Something new, something unique that we  can put on to the market. I really believe that gamers want something new and they‘re ready for something new. They’ve been used to different styles of gaming now on portable devices for a while.

So when you look at the hardware offering we’re putting forward: the spec of the device, the user interfaces, speak for themselves. When you marry that with the software line up we have for the launch – not just quality but quantity as well. We’ve announced over 50 titles. When you look at those titles as well, from the innovative new IPs, to some of the great franchises that have reinvented themselves, there’s so much for gamers to get their hand on.

OPM Several Sony developers have spoken about being involved in the early stages of PS Vita’s creation. How important has that been in creating the device?

MD I think that’s massively important. It was great that did happen this time. Clearly a device has to be built with the games in mind. So we did get the opportunity early on to prototype and innovate with different sorts of software and help make decisions on what the final feature set should be.

OPM There’s been a lot made of the PS Vita’s Japanese sales, what’s your take on that?

MD My understanding is that the Japanese launch was within expectations. It’s a very different market than here in Europe. There’s a number of interesting dynamics at play. PSP is still very strong for them out there and going great guns. In terms of the launch line up, all I can say is that for Europe I know it’s very strong, it’s very appealing, we’ve got lots of very big Western-based titles that are going to appeal to our gamers.

It’s hard to draw too many parallels with Japan. I think they’re on target with what they want to achieve. We’ve got our own goals, we’ve got a great line up of titles that’ll appeal to a Western audience so we’re really happy with that.

OPM  Shuhei Yoshida did speak about the launch line up better suiting a Western market, would you agree with that?

MD We were launching worldwide so of course we want to do well in all our territories. It’s just the dynamic of the way things have happened that, certainly in our market, we have a lot of titles that appeal very strongly. Those titles will come in Japan. No doubt they’ll be in the pipeline and it’ll get stronger there.