Michael Ephraim From Sony Answers Your Questions

A couple of weeks back we asked you for questions - and now we have answers! Michael Ephraim, the Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, has taken the time to peruse over your questions and has gotten back to us with some great responses, which you can check out below.

Thanks for submitting your questions, and thanks to Michael for being such a great sport and taking the time to answer the difficult questions. Much appreciated!

The PSN is gradually evolving into a nice little place, but is there any concerted effort between Sony and local ISPs to come to an agreement on unmetered content? The video store, for example, seems to offer a good deal but I’m unwilling to pay an $50 on top of the store prices every month to recover my download allowance – Our market isn’t like Japan or the US, and since Sony is deliberately managed in regions couldn’t that be more accurately reflected? (AmbroseIV) Glad to hear you are enjoying the PlayStation Network (PSN). Beyond extending the great games content at Sony Computer Entertainment we have worked really hard over the past year to offer new services such as PlayStation Network Video Delivery Service, that offers movies on demand, catch up TV with ABCiView, and PLUS7 in Australia, and also, increasing the content offer on VidZone – adding VidZone TV, and also the recent addition of EMI to the service adding great names such as Coldplay, Katie Perry, David Bowie and Empire of the Sun to the service.

Importantly, with PlayStation Network we offer a free to join and play environment, where you also receive free system software upgrades that continually offer new service applications and content and keep your PS3 “future proof”; in the last year we have not only expanded games content, but offered this across TV, music and movies.

Our clear focus is on innovative technology, increased content and increased choice in how you want to consume it. Delivering more games and other entertainment on demand, means consumers are paying closer scrutiny to their broadband plans; not just the size of plan, but also speed. In Australia, while the broadband market lags other countries, each year we are witnessing an increase in household connections that offer download speeds that make video and interactive content a more feasible experience, coupled with this reduced caps and even “all you can eat” offers. So, while Australia still has a way to go in terms of broadband infrastructure, Australian consumers in the last year have been able to access much more competitive plans from internet service providers (ISPs) and this will continue to get more competitive with increased consumer demand, and increased access to content on demand . So, our focus is on the technology, content and consumption choice. But we are always observing ISP usage and consumer demand when marketing our services and service expansion.

Will Skype ever make it to PS3, as it did the PSP? (woodsdog) Good question. Skype is still a popular and desired feature of the PSP experience, in addition to enjoying great games and now movies on demand. Our global development teams certainly take into account the relative desirability of the feature set, so consumer needs and technology innovation really drive the product development process. It’s impossible to look into the future but I would guess, like everything, it’s a possibility particularly with PS3 system software upgrade ability. For example, with PlayTV, we found that consumers were text chatting on the phone to make their viewing experience more social – so there is a new live text chat feature coming later this year. We have added more Facebook functionality to PS3 in the past year, and I recently read about the new alliance between Facebook and Skype – certainly the social space changes rapidly.

Cross-Game (voice) Chat has been something many PS3 owners have desired for years. Sony has briefly mentioned that it was being worked on in the past, and there were many rumours that it was going to be a part of the PlayStation Plus service. Where is XGC sitting at the moment, is it still in development, and will we ever see it on the PlayStation 3? (Jim Neale) At the moment we have cross game text chat and in game voice chat – so right now you can already voice chat when you are playing the same game. As with a lot of PS3 development, features are based on user requests – so we should forward this to our product team! In fact, as I mentioned we are seeing a lot more community and sharing features as part of our product development process.

Why do games cost so much – especially games that are digitally distributed? (Everyone!) If you look at every industry, not just the games industry, the same questions are asked by consumers. From a business perspective, there is a lot of complexity involved - from very volatile exchange rates, to taxes and duties, distribution and transit costs, marketing and operational costs, size of market and so on. We try to be as comparable as possible within these parameters, and in some instances Australia has sometimes been more competitive on pricing.

Do these jeans make my bum look fat? (Harry Sachz) Harry, that’s a relative question, and it’s difficult to tell from your post! What would Kevin Butler say?

Will the Move concept carry over to future PlayStation consoles, or is it a one-time thing? (Richard) PlayStation 3 has an amazing future proof capability, so I don’t think we'll be looking at a new generation of consoles for a really long time. With PlayStation Move, we are also in it for the long haul - not just a living room sprint! PlayStation Move technology has evolved from our years of experience with the developing motion control capability – we invented controller free gaming with the PlayStation Eye on PS2 way back in 2002. The accuracy and precision of Move today means that we can develop a great diversity of games that both the core gamer will enjoy such as KillZone 3 through to social games for the whole family like SingStar Dance or Sports Champions. With Move, while the experience is great fun, we are taking this innovation really seriously. Developers are really responding positively to PlayStation Move too; because it’s not like you have to make a game specifically for that technology. In fact, it’s technology that is so accurate and intuitive, that can be integrated into your everyday gaming experiences, no matter what your preferred genre is.

I don’t own a PS3, but I’m very fond of the Kevin Butler marketing strategy. Given Australians general love of sledging, such a campaign would undoubtably gain traction here… does Sony Australia have any plans to use those adverts locally? (James Mac) We love Kevin Butler too. In fact, he is the one who I always say succinctly puts it when it comes to perfectly explaining the functionality of PS3 - that “It only does everything!” Because of the online world, and his appearance at our E3 press conference this year, Butler is really already a global phenomenon. In fact, I think he just got promoted and he is now VP of Everything. And boy, he blogs and tweets better than any other Executive I know. Where does he find the time?

Also, are there any plans to update older titles to support the Move controller? Can Sony give 3rd party developers more incentives to update their existing titles to make them Move capable? (Would love to play Borderlands, MGS4, Uncharted 2, Virtua Tennis, Flower, and even Ghostbusters with Move controls.) (kel) As I said earlier, the technology is so good, PlayStation Move can be integrated as seamlessly into game play – almost interchangeably in some cases with your dual shock experience. Already Move features are being added, for example to titles like Heavy Rain and EyePet. We had some early Virtua Tennis 4 code in the office the other day that has both Move and 3D integration, and it is incredible. With the successful launch of Move around the world I am sure you will see more and more games updated with Move capability.

Why does the PAL (Australian) PS Store lag so far behind the US, Asia and Japan in terms of the breadth and volume of free and paid content? Australia has more in common with the US and the rest of Asia than it does with Europe – excluding the common PAL format. What’s preventing Sony from creating a unified (global) PS Store for non-interactive content such as themes, wallpapers etc? (Ronnie) Actually, the store content from games, to TV, to movies, to music is actually pretty sizeable in Australia. And we have some more applications coming to the PlayStation 3 this year that will add further to the content offer. A lot of digital rights content negotiations nowadays are by region, or in some cases just by territory, so having slightly different digital content on offer is pretty common.

Does Sony Australia presently have any plans to campaign for an updated classification system that’s better representative of target video game audiences? (AmbroseIV) Yes, we do this through supporting the industry body, the iGEA, which I am a board member of. The iGEA represents the industry on classification and other broader matters. In terms of the lack of an R18+ classification level for computer games in Australia, this is something that is really topical and has received a lot of attention - we applaud the initiatives of the people who are lobbying to address this, including individual consumers. There was a recent status report regarding public consultation about this issue, and it was revealed that over 70,000 submissions by the public were made to the government with approximately 98% of those people supporting having an R18+ classification. That’s a pretty indicative message from the public.

Big thanks again to Michael Ephraim for answering all of our reader's questions!


Comments

    Michael Ephiramtruely comes from a media relations backgroud.
    All questions answered to the benefit of Sony as a corporation, with inconvenient or negative questions deflected or dodged.

    Anyone satisfied with the answers provided here?

    Were there any direct answers I missed?

      Yeah I agree. While I appreciate him taking the time to reply to the questions, he hasn't really answered anything. I would've liked more info on pretty much every answer.

      The last question was answered directly. He actually said "Yes" to it.

      Otherwise, I agree. Nothing much was actually said, and the info that we all already know was regurgitated. Maybe someone should have told Michael that he was speaking to gamers, on a games news site, of all places. What he said may have been of interest to someone who had not been keeping up with the news.

      The first question was, PSN is becoming good but are u gonna get deals with ISP for free quota?

      2 paragraphs of the answer was just advertising rubbish, throwing out how great psn is and the last paragraph is dedicated to saying no in the most round about way.

      I didnt bother reading anything else.

    I kinda got ripped off with mine, hahaha
    I damn HOPE Cross Game Chat has been forwarded to the team, like 1year+ ago :P

    He kinda lied about the pricing one. I just want symphony of the fucking night released in this country.

    Also kotaky that bigpond ad lags my interwebs something fierce.

      you can get it on x-box or unlock it on the PSP rondo blood one (I think that's the name)

    What an absolute load of crap..I don't know why you ever bother interviewing these people. They never give you an answer. It's all about the company line..All you will have to do with Microsoft & Nintendo interviews is change the photo at the top.What an absolute embarassment to his company

      I have to say I think you're being a little harsh here.

        Maybe, maybe not. Let's see an interview in 12 months & see if the transcript changes.

        I don't think his being harsh at all. Let's just take the 1st question for example, there's about 3/4 of a reply full of nothing but advertising dribble, then at the end he answers the question indirectly by saying, "caps are getting bigger, wait or pay more for some of the unlimited packages".

        As said by someone, did Kotaku mention what the readership here is? We don't need all the press release bullshit.

        He also completely dodged other stuff like digital distribution, half his reasons were with physical products. Yeah we don't give a shit about that, how does it possibly cost more to digitally distribute game X to USA than to Australia, especially when you can deliver it from the USA, there is no difference at all. Send the packets a different way, charge more. Awesome? No, bullshit.

        Go ahead, if there are valid reasons, explain them...or dodgey mcdodge dodge.

    For a hell of a lot of words, there's incredibly little content there... guess that's why he's CEO of SCEA.

    Summary for the TLDR crowd:

    Working with ISP's:
    "Sales pitch + No"

    Skype on PS3:
    "We could if we wanted"

    Cross game voice chat:
    "We could if we wanted"

    Game pricing:
    "Blame the parameters"

    Harry's Bum:
    "I suggest you ask your relatives"

    Move on future consoles:
    "SCE does not respond to rumours or speculation about future consoles + sales pitch"

    Kevin Butler adds:
    "Here's a list of Kevin's accomplishment with no answer."

    On Move compatibility with existing games:
    "We could if we want" (although if it's not a Sony game, I don't see how it's up to them)

    PS-Store content:
    ""Not our fault" brush off + "look at how much you already have!""

    R18+ plans:
    "Nothing extra planned, others are doing it all for us + facts you already knew"

      I feel more satisfied reading your answers than the real ones! At least yours were honest!

      What a waste of time this article was. It's not Kotakus fault but it's nice to see Sony keeping up the tradition of arrogance and condescendance towards the consumer...

      Wish i read this this first. much quicker and less painful.

      This is actually a really good summary dude, ThankS.

      ah great summary :) cheers

    I have to say I started reading, then realised it was PR talk, so I just skimmed it for answers or interesting stuff, but they weren't there.

    No meat, lots of salad.

      And you don't make friends with salad!

    Not totally satisfied, but it'd be naive to think he would expose the Sony services to criticism. Relatively happy though. I think he said a little bit more than I expected. (...but maybe in reading between the lines I'm just making up the answer I expected/want to hear...)

    I know most of the comments are negative Mark, but I liked this segment and idea - even if it's not Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, it'd be great if we had this sort of thing again at some stage.

    I really do hope nintendo and MS give a bit more than just standard PR answers. That was fairly disappointing on Sony's part. I think that if they agree to do an interview for a site FOR gamers, who don't put up with their marketing BS, then they should be prepared for these kinds of questions and have answers that can at least partly make the readers feel like they got something out of it.

    (not taking any stab at kotaku, just sony here)

    Well now, this was...aggravating, particularly (for me) in relation to the pricing question. Let's break that one down shall we:

    - "From a business perspective, there is a lot of complexity involved – from very volatile exchange rates" (our dollar is currently almost 1:1 with the U.S.)
    - "to taxes and duties" (which are different and more expensive in Australia than in every other nation why?)
    - "distribution and transit costs" (huh? But...it's digital content, and Sony has it's own distribution system...what is he referencing here?)
    - "marketing and operational costs" (what? So in a country which barely has game advertisements, they make things cost more here than anywhere else? Besides, advertising on the PSN shouldn't cost much - all advertising is on PSN is a giant picture with a price underneath it...And why the hell would the operational costs affect the pricing? They don't anywhere else in the world)
    - "size of market" (so...when there is less demand, the price is increased two-fold? Even though this is digitally distributed content?)

    When someone asks you a question, you could at least try to give an intelligent answer. Thanks for trying anyways, Kotaku.

      I understand the frustration, but trust me - I've been trying to speak to publishers about price for the last two weeks, and the stock standard response has been absolute silence.

      So I actually have respect for Michael, for actually trying to answer the question instead of ignoring it altogether, even if most would find the answer unsatisfactory.

        I get what you're saying, but I just don't think this is good enough - and yes, the industry as a whole (not just Ephraim) is to blame for the silence on this issue, but still. I don't see how he actually tried to answer the question at all, although I will grant that he didn't just ignore it (although, considering how everyone did ask it, it would look odd if he gave no reply). After all, he wrote only five lines, and used very general terms - it's just traditional PR. When someone actually acknowledges the issue and gives an informed response about it, that's when they are worthy of respect, in my opinion. Sorry, but I'm tired of getting screwed over just because I live in Australia.

        I feel sorry for you at the moment Mark - it's gotta be hard covering an issue where, as you say, people won't tell you anything. Still, good luck and keep trying =)

        Am I right in assuming that price differences between Australia and the US are determined by publishers rather than retail? Publishers presumably set the RRP, etc.

        Thanks for trying to get an answer out of them, though. It does raise eyebrows when the standard answer is not to answer at all...

        I know this is a little off topic and the example applies to a different publisher but sometimes the direct approach is the most rewarding.
        Maybe a good idea is to ask publishers direct questions like the following.

        1. Why is Fallout New Vegas $50-$60 USD in American retail stores and $90-$100 AUD in Australian Stores.

        Taking Answer to question 1 into account

        2. Why is Fallout New Vegas Priced on steam (a Digital Distribution channel) Priced $50USD for people in the US and Priced $90 USD for people in Australia.

        3. When Fallout New Vegas was in pre-release on steam it was priced at $50USD for Australians and was Increased by 80% on release to the current price. What justification is there for the increase?

        Final questions to put all the other answers into another light depending on excuses for distribution costs, exchange rate etc.

        4. Why are all of these direct prices so much higher if Australians are able to buy online and order physical retail copies from sites like CDwow and OZgameshop for Under $40AUD?

        Now again I understand that this is a different publisher than being discussed here but this example could be cookie cut to cover just about all publishers at the moment. Capcom seems to be the only online distributed games that are not regionally priced at current(and good on em for it to!)

          1. Why is Fallout New Vegas $50-$60 USD in American retail stores and $90-$100 AUD in Australian Stores.

          2. Why is Fallout New Vegas Priced on steam (a Digital Distribution channel) Priced $50USD for people in the US and Priced $90 USD for people in Australia.

          For one thing, remove the exchange rate factor for a moment, because we are Australia and pubilshers have local offices in this country and so the cost of the game is based on the operating budget of the local office, so obviously at the very minimum they have to cover their local operating costs.

          A few years ago, EVERYTHING was physical and the move to a digital service can take a number of those sales away, the issue is though an Australian buying a digital version means these offices are unlikely to cover their costs via the physical product anymore, so just because it's digital doesn't mean it instantly it will be 50% cheaper, I'm of the belief that it should be slightly cheaper, but nothing dramatic, these Australian digital sales are credited back to the local office.

          The operating costs are a large factor, please remember that are wages over here are quite different to the rest of the world.

          AU Min Wage - $14.25 ($570 per week)
          UK Min Wage - £5.93 (21 yrs and older)
          US Min Wage - $7.25

          Now partially taking into account your example in Number 3, from Steam...

          AU - F:NV - $89.95 / 14.25 = 6.31 Hours Work
          UK - F:NV - £49.95 / 5.93 = 8.43 Hours Work
          US - F:NV - $49.99 / 7.25 = 6.89 Hours Work

          While the cost of the game is more at somewhere like EB, etc... Australian game prices ARE in line with the rest of the world and technically in some cases we are in front.

          Though we should be comparing our prices to the UK , seeing as basically everyone gets stock from Europe. So store RRP...

          AU - F:NV - $108 / 14.25 = 7.57 Hours Work
          UK - F:NV - £49.95 / 5.93 = 8.43 Hours Work

          Technically better off than the UK again.

          Yes, our dollar is incredibly strong against the major currencies at the moment and you can save alot of money by buying overseas if everyone so chooses, but please remember that we don't actually have it as bad as everyone makes out!

          3. When Fallout New Vegas was in pre-release on steam it was priced at $50USD for Australians and was Increased by 80% on release to the current price. What justification is there for the increase?

          I really think this is an issue with Steam, it's not just a single publisher and the same things pop up, price updates, as well as updates to game unlocks to reflect the local markets also.

          It's the same thing over and I just feel as though when Steam update and list the game at it's first instance, they will do a blanket US price and date across all regions regardless if they have the local details, that is an issue with Steam I feel, they shouldn't allow Australians to pre-order something if they don't have the details.

          Basically, you just learn from it and when a game is listed, pre-order asap, thus you won't get burned if it goes up!

          Final questions to put all the other answers into another light depending on excuses for distribution costs, exchange rate etc.

          4. Why are all of these direct prices so much higher if Australians are able to buy online and order physical retail copies from sites like CDwow and OZgameshop for Under $40AUD?

          These companies are based in the US and UK respectively, they are buying stock directly from distributors over there, thus no interaction with the local companies over here, so they will always be able to sell cheaper than local retailers here.

            This I all understand except for the following.

            1. When the Australian dollar was in the toilet (not that long ago) and everyone was complaining about price of games publishers and distributors all came out and blamed the poor Aussie dollar and the postage costs to get the product down here to the bottom of the disc. Now having both of these "issues" removed the price doesn't change and both of these groups fall strangely silent on the issue when asked.

            2. From what I can understand from your comments your basically saying "Aussies get paid X so we can charge X" and therefore we will just charge what we feel like and they will just pay it. This is exactly what I have a problem with. Especially when once upon a time steam was priced the same for everyone, but now they have the option and local retailers complain they jack up the steam price accordingly. It is distinctly anti-competitive.

            3. The main reason steam prices were jacked up for Aussie regions were retail stores who complained about losing sales because steam had the same global price and Aussies wern't buying in store any more. Has anyone looked in their local EB (or other) games store recently???!!!???!
            Its freaking disgusting the abysmal PC sections they have. If anyone is damaging their pc sales its themselves. 1 shelf of starcraft/warcraft and maybe 1 other game if your lucky and a shelf of old pc games (diablo 1 anyone) at more than I paid for it originally!!!

            I don't really expect it to change but I do my part. I support companies that don't regionally price (picked up dead rising 2 for $39.99 USD online) and I absolutely refuse to buy a game that is regionally pricing here unless I order it from overseas for half the price or ill wait for the bargain bin. If people didn't blindly bend over and take it while the gamer is taken advantage of maybe it wouldn't happen so often.

        Mark,

        Fair enough he dodged the question, (he is running a business after all) but thank you for actually asking it!

        I haven't seen any journalist, anywhere, on anything asking the price question directly to people who could answer it.

        And to all those who be hating on Mark and Michael Ephraim, its not just the games industry.. the massive (and getting bigger) price differences are showing up everywhere and nothing will happen till the retailers start pressuring the distributors which definitely won't happen before Christmas.

        And lastly was it Kotaku or Giz that ran the article on the on-line bargains to found while the dollar is high? I say publish lots more of that.. If we all keep buying from places like Amazon, someone will eventually have to do something.

      Not saying that his response was particularly insightful and you do raise some great points (particularly the lack of transit costs on digital content), but he was referring to volatility of the FX rate. The fact of the matter is that the exchange rates have fluctuated a lot over the past year and it's somewhat unreasonable to expect retailers or publishers to reduce the pricing when it's just as likely that tomorrow the rates could move in a way that would be harmful to them.

      If the Australian dollar maintains its relatively high performance for some time then it is inevitable that prices will come down as a function of competitiveness within the market place when publishers realise they can make the same profits margins at a lower price and will outsell their more expensive counterparts.

      On the flipside, if the Australian dollar heads back down to 90 US cents (or lower) then this only proves that the AUD is volatile and that any price reduction poses a greater risk to retailers/publishers.

      Sure you could say that WHEN that happens they could jack the prices back up as it would be reasonable but you have to remember that it is a lot more difficult to increase prices than it is to decrease them. By increasing the price you make your product less appealing compared to your competitors so it's a lot safer to just leave your price higher for the time being and potentially decrease it in future when you are certain that you won't have to jack them up again.

      In addition to this is another key issue and that is the structure or composition of the gaming industry:

      The best way to explain this is by imagining a different industry which is made up of many suppliers, such as the food industry. In such an industry there would be a large incentive for an individual supplier to reduce the cost of their goods as it gives them a competitive advantage over the hundreds of other suppliers out there, more people will buy what is otherwise the same food at a cheaper price.

      Now if we look at the game industry we have two levels: the retailers and publishers.

      Retailers are numerous (JB Hifi, Game, EB Games, Dick Smith, Target, Big W, K Mart, Myer, David Jones being the larger retailers and then there are numerous smaller retailers) and at this level you will see that competitive pricing is at its best and prices vary quite substantially from store to store (JB HiFi and Game will typically tout the lower prices), but you will still have the ~$80 benchmark that games will rarely go below and this is largely a result of the second level of the market -- publishers.

      The game publisher market is almost the exact opposite. We have a market (and this is not exclusive to Australia) where games are largely controlled by few, large publishers (EA, Activision, Ubisoft being the major players which come to mind).

      There is a distinct lack of supplier (i.e. publisher) numbers to promote active price competition. Any one of the few publishers is far less likely to try to undercut their competitor because they know that the other players will fight back and then they will all be worse off (prices going down = profit margins going down). It becomes a sort of understanding between publishers that it is far better to rip off the consumers than it is to rip off each other.

      Essentially what you end up with is a reluctance for publishers to reduce their prices as a result of unwanted price competition. Add to that the volatility of the AUD with respect to the USD at the moment and the reluctance of any supplier to decrease price in the short-term (and then increase it at a later point when the AUD declines again) and you start to understand why the prices are still relatively high.

      Hmmm...perhaps a little more explanation, as I understand what he is saying somewhat:

      - “From a business perspective, there is a lot of complexity involved – from very volatile exchange rates” (our dollar is currently almost 1:1 with the U.S.)

      What he is saying (volatile) is that the dollar could go from 1:1 to 2:1 at a moments notice. What if Sony priced games at 50 AU dollars then the stock market crashed? They would lose 50% of their revenue. They need to account for best and worst case scenarios and knee jerk reactions to changes in the dollar is just not good business sense.

      - “to taxes and duties” (which are different and more expensive in Australia than in every other nation why?)

      They're not more expensive than "every other nation" they're just more expensive than US and let me explain the 2 main reasons. The first is that Australia is a socialist leaning nation. For instance we have a fully funded public health system. Therefore our taxes are duties are more expensive than the states since the money you save on tax you need to put aside for retirement and health (amongst other things). The second main reason is that in the US there are lots of hidden taxes. When a piece of software is advertised at, say, 50US$ there are often sales taxes on top of that. So the equivalent US price might be 55 or even 60US$. The second reason doesn't necessarily apply to digital sales however, but the first absolutely does "AND SHOULD" but I won't go into the depths of that argument right now.

      - “distribution and transit costs” (huh? But…it’s digital content, and Sony has it’s own distribution system…what is he referencing here?)

      I assume he is refering to both physical AND digital products so your rebuttal is not completely fair. Even so, digital distribution does not have zero costs. There are server costs, internet costs, administrative costs, some of which will need specific work for each region.

      - “marketing and operational costs” (what? So in a country which barely has game advertisements, they make things cost more here than anywhere else? Besides, advertising on the PSN shouldn’t cost much – all advertising is on PSN is a giant picture with a price underneath it…And why the hell would the operational costs affect the pricing? They don’t anywhere else in the world)
      As someone else mentioned they do have offices in Australia and those offices need to be funded by less consumers, so the operational cost per product will be higher.

      - “size of market” (so…when there is less demand, the price is increased two-fold? Even though this is digitally distributed content?)
      A smaller market for any product will mean higher costs because the fixed overheads need to be distributed among less consumers.

      I hope some of my comments help clarify. By the way I'm not paid by Sony, and anyone who has read many of my comments will know that if anything I'm anti Sony, so these are just what I understand to be some of the reasons for the higher costs.

    Half of these were pretty much non-answers. I get how he's Sony's game-face in Australia and has to spout their PR, but seriously?

    This is ridiculous, the the answers provided are all information we have already known.

    Furthermore, some of the important questions (locked save data for one) are not mentioned, and the useless one is being used (jean sizes? seriously?)

      With all due respect, do you really think the Managing Director is the right person to ask a question about locked save data? And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. I asked every single relevant question put on that comments page, and I thought, why not just throw jeans one in for a laugh just to see what he said in reply.

    LOL, why did I read this.

    He went waaaaaaay off track with all of the decent questions.

    Make him do it AGAIN.

    Thanks for trying Mark... but as has been said ad-infinitum, there were no answers here.

    Did you ask these over the phone or in person... or were these submitted via email? The only reason I ask is that they're so vague and generic, he may have handed them off to PR for a response.

    I appreciate you asking my question, but that wasn't an answer... I already knew what Kevin Butler was, but I didn't (and still don't) know if they planned on introducing the campaign here.

    I think Michael Ephraim just got promoted:

    The VP of Not-So-Ninja Deflections.

    Honestly though, I know PR-dom is all about not giving any chances to make your products look bad, but at least go for the angle that makes you endearing. Maybe endearing's not quite the right word...

    One example I like is Gabe Newell. When he has to explain why his company can't provide/do something, he does it in a way that is honest and inspires empathy.

    I'll probably cop it for sticking up for "the man", playstation is a billion dollar international brand, what were you expecting? Comments that strain relations with retailers and publishers? The reason these responses are so carefully worded and limited in information is because branding and marketing is a carefully modeled And controlled process. Hate the game not the player.

    Well there was 5 minutes of my life I am not getting back ... again. When will I learn to stop reading this drivel from Sony, complete marketing bs ...

    Just get him to explain 1 thing ... how is Playstation Plus worth the money for us??? I'd get it if we could have got access to the KZ3 Beta, but no, only US for that!

      Are you sure of that? I've got one guy on my friends list who has been playing KZ3 for a few weeks, so I assume he's in the beta (he's a Plus subscriber, too - the only one I've ever seen lol).

        Same, I've had my code for sometime... I played the game for about an hour and was impressed again. Love the heavy feel of the shooter.

        Not going to continue playing though, as it was a confirmed purchase already and have plenty of games to push through before Feb next year.

    I think the jeans question was the most informative of the lot and I applaud it

    I read all that for no PSP2 news? Dang!

    Can we change the title of the article to "Michael Ephraim From Sony Evades or Ignores Your Questions"?

    Seriously - from what I remember of Ephraim in the past he's usually been decent enough. But this is... shabby.

    In fairness to him, though, a lot of the questions are on issues that he's not directly involved in i.e. he doesn't run the team that develops the PS3 firmware, he doesn't run a developer or publisher that would be putting Move controls into older games, etc. Although he could just say so.

    But other questions - e.g. the pricing of digital download vs physical media and even the Kevin Butler one he just fobbed us off. How hard is it to say "We have no plans to use the Kevin Butler ads in Australia" if they don't intend to use them, or "We hope to run some of the Kevin Butler ads in Australia" if they do?

    What a waste of time, the guy answered next to nothing. The question about game pricing was the worst load in the lot... if they really think the prices are competitive in Australia, how come valve can afford to distrube software for alot cheaper electronically with steam?

    All the services they are adding to the PS3 I dont use. I want to play blu rays and then play some games, thats it. Seven plus was rubbish because the definition is awful and its a clunky interface.

    Thanks, Nothing to comment,a bit boring! Carry
    on a long distance to pass.

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