Question Time: Sony

Question Time: Sony

Question Time: SonyAs part of a mega three-part series, each of the big players in the console market – Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft – have agreed to let us speak to their head honchos, their proverbial Charles in charge, so we can get an idea of where each company is headed in the lead up to Christmas and beyond.

But here’s the (ever so slightly awesome) twist – we want you guys to be fielding the questions.

So here’s the deal: We’re looking for the most insightful, probing questions. Simply post them in the comments section, and we’ll round up the best questions and take them right up to the top of the chain and get the answers you want.

First up is Sony. We’ll be speaking directly to Michael Ephraim, the managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and New Zealand.

As always – keep it clean folks!


  • This is a brilliant idea.

    Hopefully I’ll think up some questions when I finish writing this report last-minute – which I’m presently taking a break from.

      • Just 20 minutes. I wanted to give myself a solid 2 hours to start and finish it. 😛

        My questions!

        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?

        On a similar issue – regional pricing. I realise it’s a complex process and a direct comparison is difficult to make (dependent on publishers, fluctuating exchange rates, employee income, distribution method, etc.) but within the industry as a whole, is any attempt being made to better represent the current world economy? If so, is Sony playing a role?

        Lastly, does Sony Australia presently have any plans to campaign for an updated classification system that’s better reprentative of target video game audiences?

  • Will Skype ever make it to PS3, as it did the PSP? Their is a Camera for PS3 and even more so now that more players(cisco, Panasonic & Logitech) are making moves into the video chat arena?

    (I think you can do it wih Kinect now too.)

  • 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?

  • Michael

    Seriously YLOD – how do I get my games saves back? Full games save info should be in the cloud!

    Seriously AUD = USD (I know we are part of SCEE but UK price of a PS3 is $50 cheaper including post, why wouldn’t I?

    Seriously 2nd hand games – I WILL NEVER BUY A FULL GAME FROM THE ONLINE STORE AS THE PRICES ARE POOR – My game (physical Media) and I want to sell so I can buy more games, I have a fixed games allowance so who actually loses here?


      • Yes and to answer one of the other replies I think you can just backup the save files, but am I going to back up every week or day just because of YLOD? I don’t know when it is going to happen do I?
        Either I pay (again as this is the 2nd time) just to get my games saves and it breaks again or buy a new one (can’t just insert old HDD as its auto format) as lose everything!
        Just seems a little poor!
        Gsme saves could have gone to the SD Card if they had kept it? There are otehr options – just want thoughts

      • This. I would like a justification for why we have such ridiculous pricing costs for games.

        According to RRP’s:

        New Game in America: $USD60 = ~$AUD60 – $AUD65
        New Game in the UK: £40 = ~$65
        New Game in Australia: $AUD110 = £68 = $USD105

        I understand the currency values change, drop and fall. But the Australian dollar has been consistently above the old system where $AUD1 = $USD0.50, which the old system is based off. I hate to say it, but these prices are going through the roof, and I only can afford/justify purchasing my games from an Australian store if there’s a sale or a collector’s edition which I can’t import.

    • I agree with the save data question.

      YES, there is a backup option, but it’s for the whole HDD. I have a 500gb hdd, a 40gb hdd takes 6 hours to backup, who knows how many days 500gb will take to backup.

      So the question is, can we have a backup option JUST for save data? I’m sick of locked save data. Either provide us with a way to backup just our save data or leave the save data locked to the PSN NOT to the PS3.


      • it’s not actually. you just go to ‘save data utility’ or whatever its called and copy it to a usb. if all your save files are so important, just do it every now and then.

        i mean if you hard drive assploded on your pc, you’d be in the same position.

  • When can we expect to see the next iteration of PlayStation consoles? Any hints as to what kinds of features we can expect?

  • Will the Move concept (wand motion controls) carry over to future PlayStation consoles (assuming it’s successful), or is it a one time thing?

  • Is Sony pushing for stereoscopic 3d in all first and 3rd party developers and what support if any are they providing for this??

  • 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?

  • please, please, please, ANY psp2 news. there MUST be something going on. i would even be happy of an announcement date when something might be said. i just want to know. im so excited.

  • What are the proper, environmentally-friendly ways of disposing of PS3s? After mine bricked from a firmware update (and the blu ray drive packed in before that), it’s currently just taking up space in my closet, so…

  • With the massive disaster that was the PSPGo (let’s not sugar coat it), what direction are you looking to go for the next handheld Sony device, be it a follow up to the PSP or something else entirely.
    Obviously the UMD was a mixxed bag of nuts, but digital distribution only also didn’t work for you guys.

    so where to from here? How deep are you delving into user requests for ideas?

    Sorry i know it’s a multi-tiered question 😛 haha

  • Why have Australian retailers had no psp consoles for over 4 months with no announcement of a new model to at least get customers excited for your brand?

  • Regarding the video download service.

    The current pricing is ridiculous, often it is cheaper to go to JB-HiFi to purchase a bluray than buy the same movie through the service eg Aliens. Conversely, rentals are more expensive than the video store.

    Does Sony acknowledge this is erroneous and when are we likely to see prices fall to a reasonable figure? Suggestions $0.50 to $2 for rentals. $3-10 for purchases with $5 the sweet spot for HD.

    Regards Kactus

  • I’ve got to agree with Matty above. With the AUD pretty much equal to the USD (and the fact it has been pretty darn close in recent years) why do online products cost so much more on the Australian PSN than they do on on the American PSN? The pricing is the reason that I almost never buy anything off of the PSN – the bang doesn’t equal the buck.

    • That’s my question too.
      For digital distribution, I cant see a reason for such a large price discrepancy and I can only see it as price gauging.
      I’d love to hear him try and justify it though.

      PS This isnt just a Sony issue… Same question for all 3.

  • Why does Sony segregate its audience? The PlayStation Stores in Europe/Japan/America all offer different game content, specifically PSOne titles.

    This also effects PlayStation Plus – the content on offer differs between stores. What is the point of this?

  • Are there any plans to improve game release dates so that they coincide with releases in the US / EU region?

    Granted that things are better this year than they were a few years back, but having more than a 10 day difference in release dates prompts me to just import ps3/psp games from the US/EU.

    Most would agree that importing is usually cheaper, and the 3-5 days shipping time still means that I get the games before it is officially released in stores.

    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.

  • Australia’s geographical isolation has always played some part in our relevance to products offered by Sony for Playstation but with digital delivery making that barrier less relevant how is Sony now evaluating Australia as a market.

    • …..a follow up to my own question here I guess: How much of a barrier is the current timeleness and cost of OFLC classification fees for Sony in Australia?

  • One of the more interesting features touted in the period leading up to the release of the PS3 was the potential for interconnectivity with the PSP. While this has been implemented to the extent of enabling media streaming and remote play, one area which has failed to eventuate since then was the promise of in-game interconnectivity, the most frequently cited example being the possibility of using the PSP as a detached rear-view mirror in racing titles, etc. Given the recent emphasis on emergent forms of gameplay evident from the Playstation Move, is there any chance that this interconnectivity will be resurrected, and would Sony consider offering incentives for third-party developers to do so? It would certainly give the Sony brand a unique point of differentiation in the marketplace.

  • I have two questions
    1) Will there ever be a function for music on the PS3 hard drive to be played in the background; for example while playing games, as is available on the Xbox 360?
    2) For a while now there have been numerous multi-platform software titles that in the visual aspect, appear worse on the PS3 (such as Assassins Creed 2, Grand Theft Auto 4). What are the reasons for this when the ps3 is meant to have superior hardware capabilities?

  • 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? Content such as that is not impacted by country-specific classification laws.

  • What’s the truth behind PS3’s compatibility with PS2 games – without the Emotion engine physically installed?

  • This is a question raised by my XBOX Live experience that I plan to ask Microsoft later, however it applies to online console based gaming in general so I’d like to hear the Sony response too.

    In terms of location Australia is rather far from just about everywhere else. We also have a much smaller population than other regions. This introduces a lot of latency and connection quality problems for Australian gamers (data just can’t move fast enough and with a relatively small amount of players we just get broken up and thrown into random matches instead of being grouped together).
    I own serveral online multiplayer driven games that are almost unplayable online because of the way they handle match making.
    I don’t mind some lag, its unavoidable, but when a game I paid full price for continuously places me in high latency matches I do feel cheated not just by the lazy developers who designed the game but by the people who made the console I’m playing for as well.

    So my question is where does Sony stand on these match making issues, and does Sony have any plans to introduce and enforce quality control standards for match making to help improve the online experience all users rather than just the ones in the most popular region?

    Call of Duty: World at War had a brilliant system that allowed the player to set the game to A) search for local (low latency) games exclusively, B) search for local (low latency) games for a minute before giving up and going with the first host it finds or C) search for any games and join immediately.
    Would Sony ever consider building such functionality directly into their consoles operating system?

  • My question is:

    When releasing budget lines of games (Platinum etc), could they not change the packaging and instead put a platinum sticker or sleave on the normal edition covers instead please?

    Why -because who in their right mights wants a collection with ugly platinum cases!? Certainly not me, so I don’t buy many titles even though I would if they kept their original cases.

  • Is Sony actively working to integrate the suggestions from the share site, and can they provide some kind of indication of which they are working on and when they might be available.

  • My PS3 was supposed to be a part of a media center do-it-all hub. But why is it taking so long to implement better support for all common file formats?? Having to use decoders on a pc to send to the PS3 seems silly when the ps3 should be perfectly capable of supporting many more formats. Also, why is it the I can’t buy any FPS games for my PS3?? Yes, I know they exist, but for the love of teddy-bears, I cant competently aim with my fat thumb. Surely mouse support should be a prerequisit on all FPS games, then just match-make mouse gamers to other mouse gamers. I’ve not bought at least 8 games because of this… Your money loss really, not mine..

  • Awesome questions people. I think I might just amalgamate the whole game prices question.

    I’ll try and get some of the more techy questions in there – I’m sure Michael will be able to answer them, but worth mentioning that he probably won’t be able to answer them all.

    Keep them coming – brilliant response chaps and chapitas.

  • 1. How many Playstation Moves will he sell this year? Does he really think this is enough of a jump from the Wii for people to trade across?
    2. Sony went from first in the last console generation to last in this one. What does he think were the reasons behind this & how are they changing into the future?
    3. What’s the content plan for PSP? I am one of the few owners of a PSPGO & I really wanted to love it, but their lack of games & high prices have seen me move to an iPod touch, even though I hate the lack of buttons. Do you think that iPod has redefined what people expect to pay for digital game content – if so, what is the PSP response?
    4. I’ve always been a fan of Sony advertising from the PS1 days. The Move stuff that I’ve seen seems almost embarrasing compared to their cool & edgy stuff of the past. What can we expect to see this Xmas – anything cool or different?
    5. What are you most worried about from Nintendo & Microsoft (& Apple?) this Xmas?

  • What do you say to ‘apps’ similar to ones on apples app store making to the PSN?

    Things that aren’t necessarily games but none the less functional, to beef up the XMB a bit?

  • Dear Sony boss man; why is there such a large disparity between the US and Australian PSN stores?

    New content appears to be released on the US store quickly and at a reasonable price. Much of this content does not make it to the aussie store. I’m talking the bigger PSN games such as Castle Crashers, released on the US store weeks ago, and I believe still not out on the AU store. Regardless of when it is actually released, why does this disparity exist, and do you expect aussie PSN users that get treated like second class citizens to support such a business practice?

    If you are aware this is a problem what steps are being taken to address this, rather then the usual “we will look into it” are there any practial solutions to this issue in the pipeline, and will loyal consumers be rewared with an improved service, that is similar to other countries?

  • If anything SONY when will you add in some new things to the PlayStation Plus like a Backwards Compatability add-on for $10-15. I also wonder when will you also add in an import section of PS2 games. I really want more import titles on the Playstation Network. If you put in a add-on for playability of Japanese PS1, and PS2 games on Disc.

    I would gladly buy a subscription to PlayStation Plus once you add this in.

  • Does Sony believe Move will innovate gaming, or was it primarily a business/marketing decision? Would succession plans for the PS3 include motion-based controls as primary feature?

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