News Article

Sony: We Take More Risks Than Nintendo

Posted by Damien McFerran

Sony's American boss tells it like it is

Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton has been passing his own unique brand of judgement on his company's rivals and unsurprisingly, Sony comes out on top in his eyes.

Speaking to Forbes, Tretton had this to say:

Nintendo know what they do well and they stick to it. They deliver a casual, youth-oriented entertainment experience, it's very enjoyable after 20 years, and they make money. They print money. Their profitability is their key focus... I think that's enviable.

After adding that he thought Microsoft had "more money than God" he then moved on to his perception of Sony:

We like to see ourselves somewhere in the middle. We don't have unlimited money, we cater to a more mass market audience, we're willing to take a little bit more risk than a competitor like Nintendo.

Oh? We'd say that releasing a machine that is technically underpowered but backed by a revolutionary motion-based control system that your competitors will rush to copy in a couple of year's time is a pretty big risk, Jack.


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User Comments (68)



Corbs said:

You know Jack would sound intelligent if he wouldn't speak. (But if you're reading this Jack, I love the PSPgo!)



Token_Girl said:

Yeah, I agree, Nintendo reached out to a segment of the population that wasn't interested in gaming before, and they responded. Sony backed their console up with a Blu-ray player and subsidized it with money from their multimedia devision to give people an incentive to buy it other than games. Funny how Nintendo's seemingly bigger gamble paid off, and now Sony is basically copying them. He needs to reign in the mudslinging and focus finding ways to get the PS3 in more homes! For example, not saying things that might turn Wii owners off. There are a fair amount who are in the market for a second console, especially after a price drop. And also, a fair amount of Xbox owners who get RROD. His words could have been better spent trying to win them over to the PS3.



Edwin said:

Nintendo risk 1: No HD support
Nintendo risk 2: new control scheme

Sorry Sony, but you haven't done anything as risky.




Sony also make a lot more frack ups than Nintendo. The Wii and DS were two of the biggest risks in gaming history ffs. Thankfully, they're also amongst the greatest consoles of all time.

Anybody home upstairs in the noggin there buddy?



y2josh said:

The only risk I can think of is making a new console that starts out at 500 dollars when one of your competitors is 250.



Reala said:

Natal vs wiimote copy, even Microsoft is taking more of a risk than Sony.



Stuffgamer1 said:

I think Jack Tretton has set himself up to be as universally mocked as Reggie. What is it with the heads of American divisions of Japanese companies?



Reala said:

I see the PS3 as more a case of overconfidence than risk, I think they expected people would flood to the Sony brand and blu ray, even with its price tag.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Even overconfidence is a risk, in a way. The difference is whether or not it's a CALCULATED risk. Though either way, I would say that Sony had a solid long-term strategy, as the PS3 is now coming into its own and being AWESOME! I hear the same thing happened with the PS2, not to mention the PSP. It's kind of the Sony standard.



V8_Ninja said:

Sony? More risks than Nintendo?!?! Good one, Jack, good one. I'm pretty sure calling your console the Playstation 3 and still using the decade-old controller design really is very risky compared to the "Wii" and the TV remote design. In short: EPIC FAIL.



brandonbwii said:

In some ways he's right. Not from a hardware standpoint but software standpoint. Nintendo's ambition ended once they released Wii Sports. Many other titles were somewhat safe sequels. Sony on the otherhand creates new properties left and right. LBP, Uncharted, Singstar to name a few and those are all very different games for different audiences. Then of course they continue legacy content with games like the Rachet series, God of War, and Socom. Pretty risky. On the opposite end they do have seemingly endless money as evidenced by ambitious titles like MAG, proving that they have way more technical ambition than creative ambition.



cr00mz said:

doesnt he mean that the SONY brand in general cater to a more mass market audience? i mean nintendo is all about video games they dont do anything else. Maybe i miss interpreted



Bass_X0 said:

My Wii and XBox 360 does just me just fine. I don't see any need for a PlayStation 3 at all. I can live without the few PS3 exclusive titles. And I'm not that bothered about HD graphics and Blu-Ray. I actually watch more YouTube videos on my Wii Internet Channel than I do DVDs.



AVahne said:

whats the risk? Nintendo has catered to a huge audience for a long while and they expanded it even more. plus they risked things by sacrificing HD for motion control and cheaper development



blank_user_1 said:

How can he say "we cater to a more mass market audience," when everybody knows Nintendo so dominates the mass (casual) audience?



See sony? this kind of mentality put you in 3d place. don't you ever learn?



paulcmnt said:

To be fair, Sony did take some risks by selling their PS3 with $600 when actually it cost them around $800 to produce, but that's nowhere near the risks that Nintendo took.



Gavin_Rozee said:

lol, the Wii is cool, but I'd hardly class tilt sensors and IR pointting as revolutionary. GB Color/Advance games had tilt controls, and lightgun games have had pointer aiming for years.



LztheQuack said:

What's that? PS3 was $599 USD? And the PSP Go doesn't support UMD? Wow, those are pretty big risks!



Egg_miester said:

in games i'll agree with him reggie isn't taking risks and even say that games are only worth selling if they sell over a million copies and wont bring over games like fatal frame just because he never heard of them
i am pissed at noa with games and how they are treating club nintendo



WaLuigi1982 said:

I dunno. The reason I was not interested in Sony was because I felt I would just be playing the same thing over. The only game on PS3 I am dying to play is Metal Gear Solid 4. Nintendo offered a newer and different way to play my favorite franchises.



Knux said:

Even though I love both the PS3 and the Wii, I still think Nintendo is smarter than Sony.



RyuZebian said:

To add to the risks already mentioned, Nintendo Wii can't even play a DVD movie. Nor does it have any hard drive space for any real media storage, like music or video. Or good software for playing those. Yepp, the Wii was a big risk for the big N, but it also paid of BIG time.
But to add to Sony's defense, they haven't exactly copied the wiimote with their wands: their tracking is optical, thanks to the cam. Wii uses blue tooth to locate the controllers. So yeah. But to have these new controllers, you need both a cam+controllers. And if you like to play two player games, then you'll probably end up with two of the regular ones, and two wands... Yeah, we'll just have to see how this will work out. Maybe Nintendo's price for complete motion controllers isn't so bad? Oh, right. Wiimotion+...



JimLad said:

"We take more risks"? and "We cater to a more mass market audience"?
Oh deary, why not claim you have the whitest console while you're at it.
The first quote made sense though, basically admitting Nintendo is a better video games company.



Hardy83 said:

This is one advantage Reggie has over this guy.
Reggie is a marketer and, for the most part, knows when to shut up... And also usually knows what he's talking about. lol

aka: if you're not a marketing talk to your PR firm first before you have potential buyers laughing at you.



Mike1 said:

I've never liked Jake Trentton. The guy is a complete arrogant moron. He did an article in EGM magazine about 4 months after the PS3 came out. The guy basically in the article rips on Nintendo and Microsoft. When the author of the article said that PS3's were not selling like Trentton thought, Jack told the author to go into any store and if they have any PS3's in stock, Jack would give him a $1000 for each one. The author then basically said you owe me $3000 since in was in a Gamestop yesterday and they had 3 in stock.

Jack thought the PS3 was a little slow out of the gate but said that within a year the PS3 would be blowing away the Wii and 360. Well, 2.5 years latter, the Wii is blowing the PS3 out of the water, and the 360 is doing better than the PS3 as well. I guess Jack can’t come to grips that the PS3 is basically a big useless paperweight.



aaronsullivan said:

Sony did take a big risk by betting on Blu-ray so strongly and trying to make a console to last longer than the usual 5-year cycle. Making something that expensive was a big risk. No doubt about it.

"More risks" than Nintendo is hard to quantify, but it rings a bit false to me. Nintendo broke through the perception of what gaming consoles should be. Nintendo took the huge risk of alienating it's traditional core gamers and I have to say, Nintendo seems to be risking that daily.

Nintendo bet on the casual market having an attachment to a particular brand and we won't know the answer to that one for awhile. Are these casual gamers playing for a holiday and shoving it all in the closet? Are they looking for the next thing from Nintendo and finding nothing? How long did these people have to wait for Wii Sports Resort when the chief attraction to the Wii for them was Wii Sports?

I'm starting to feel the frustration of Wii games not quite living up to their promise. Motion Plus IS awesome, but... where are the games, Nintendo?

I actually hope the sales this holiday are a bit disappointing to Nintendo so the motivation is to get some sort of Wii HD thing on the front burner. If Microsoft and Sony truly try and extend the life of their consoles another few years, Nintendo has a great opportunity to catch up with the visuals, while the others catch up with the interfaces. It could bring in a huge amount of support for third parties.

Still can't wait for Mario, Metroid, and Zelda though! I'm such a sucker. lol.



bestbuck said:

I love the PS3 and the Wii. Sony have made one helluva machine. Nintendo on the other hand are the only Company capable of taking the games industry forward and this guy knows that. Sony would love to be as good as Nintendo



New_Age_Retro_Hippie said:

The Wii and the DS are bigger risks than every other product Sony made. Just because Sony makes lofty risks like the PSPGo and $599.99 doesn't count. It just makes them look dumb, not bold. Motion control? What a risk to do what Nintendo did three years prior. The Go is probably their biggest risk and biggest mistake. It alienates everyone.



Strofan7 said:

See my opinion Nintendo always plays it safe. I know the whole motion sensor and everything was a bit of a risk but nintendo will have buyers no matter what. EVERYONE has played a mario game at some point in their life, and Sony and Microsoft don't have those franchises that people will almost automatically buy. They have to go out of their way to be something special, while nintendo knows that they do not. They played to their gaming strengths by creating a cheaper console that anyone could play so it wasn't really a big risk at all in my opinion.

This may sound like I'm not a big Wii fan but thats quite the opposite. Sony has to gamble big and to be honest I think the PS3 is an amazing machine, but I still prefer the Wii.

And I still think the 360 is garbage.



Noire said:

He's right guys. Nintendo would never be stupid "gutsy" enough to hold that giant hunk of plastic and silicon above their heads like that. One slip, and you're in a world of hurt.

Congrats, Sony, I never thought anyone would have the stupidity "guts".



super-nintendo said:

Some of you can laugh now but will cry later. Sony is winning right now with PS3 Slim worldwide. They have GOTY with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves 97 on Metacritic and had GOTY last year with LittleBigPlanet and Metal Gear Solid 4. I love Sony AND Nintendo and benefit greatly as a gamer.

And 360, halo, and natal is garbage!




A more mass market? You ean people who like insane amounts of blood and gore (which are not necessary)?
You and Microsoft took the charm out of gaming.
What happened to those days where we were happy to have more colors in sprites?
Now all we need is brown and grey.
I love Japanese gaming, but Sony doesnt get it.
No matter how much trash talking they make, Nintendo is still the best company in the world. Dont be sore losers. Its pathetic for them to trash talk like this.



Kid_A said:

I'm with GabeGreens. Now it's not cool to like games like Mario and Starfy, because there too colorful and whimsical. You have to be "hardcore" now. Microsoft and Sony really did take the charm out of gaming.



M00se said:

ps3 is a good system, great actually, but this guy is wrong. nintenod has taken a HUGE risk. microsoft tokk a huge stupid risk with natal. the playstation wand... eh.



Zenman said:

the ps3 was risky! i had like, new technology that was better than the 360 with no other real revolutions
like someone else said earlier, even natal, the blatant wiimote copy, is a bigger risk than what sony has done



Ristar42 said:

I've never owned a playstation 1, 2 or 3... Went from SEGA to Nintendo consoles. Maybe the 'spiderman' font was the risk?



TeMPO said:

The fanboy bias in some of these comments are just as ridiculous as the blanket statement made by Tretton.

For the longest time after moving to Australia from the USA I started over with only a PC. Then I bought a Wii and, while I found a fair number of games enjoyable, what irked me the most was the constant stream of worthless games hitting the shelves and an even worse selection of new and original downloadable titles on WiiWare. Then, after a while, I went out and bought a PS3. Since then I haven't begun to run out of worthwhile titles, both on disk and via download.

I've been a big fan of Nintendo since I was about 5. I'm 30 now. And for what it is, I think the Wii is a great console. It's not necessarily Nintendo that I'm disenchanted with at the moment, since I agree that they themselves have taken plenty of risks in stepping away from conventional hardware and making gaming accessible to a wider audience. I just wish the same ingenuity and imagination applied to the majority of Wii developers. So while I don't agree that Sony has taken greater risks than Nintendo, I do think that game-for-game the PS3 provides a far better library of titles to choose from. Fortunately, from the looks of some of the Wii and WiiWare games in development, the bar is being raised a bit. Hopefully more developers take note of that and learn from it.

As a side note, I see a lot of people on this site make ignorant comments about other platforms on a regular basis. But I fail to see how one can say they are a gamer and at the same deny themselves the experiences that the majority of the gaming market offer. Especially (as super-nintendo pointed out above) when many of the greatest games of the past decade have only been available on other platforms.



Wolfcoyote said:

Hardware, yes. Software, no. And way to go, Jack - I was going to purchase a PS3 this winter to put next to the Wii.

I would say that after "having egg on their face" regarding the negative press surrounding the Nintendo 64 and especially Gamecube, I'd say that allowing such a console as the Wii to hit retail in this day and age of multicore processing, high definition visuals and twelve-button controllers is one of the biggest risks ANY hardware manufacturer has done. Case in point, the Wii hardware itself. Remember:

The processor speed can't even reach 1GHz
Internal storage is only 512 MB
The controller looks/functions as a TV remote, but with sensors built in
Visuals can't go above 480p
Optical media cannot exceed 9.4 GB

And yet...I LOVE this thing. And so do 55 million others. You'd think that Sony fans such as myself wouldn't spit on this thing if it was on fire, but after two years of owning this machine I can say that Nintendo's risk more than paid off. I just can't explain why...



CanisWolfred said:

They do, actually. Nintendo has been playing it pretty safe these days, and it's really starting to tick me off. Even though I don't always agree with Sony's decisions, at least they're trying.



Zenman said:

on a different note, it seems that Tretton is kinda like Joe Biden, both have a hard time shutting up



astarisborn94 said:

That's almost halirious to hear if it wasn't such a big lie. Nintendo did take a huge risk with the Wii this generation and it payed off. Sales, quanity, features, and quality.

Sony doesn't have the sales.

Thank you Nintendo for ignoring your so-called "hardcore" audiences (The unapperative ones of course) and doing something smart. Attracting new audiences to the table and keeping the real fans together.



Curt said:

Updating the graphics and adding online support is 'taking risks' by sony's standards? Give me a break.



Mach-X said:

Why do you guys have to be SO bi-polar? Calling the PS3 a 'giant useless paperweight'? For crying out loud it's a technical marvel, just because you are a Nintendo fanboi doesn't make the PS3 a 'paperweight'. Same with calling the 360 and Halo 'garbage'. Uh, have you checked Halo 1,2,3 sales totals? It's a fantastic series of games that receive rave reviews all over the board from day one on the Xbox. Just because YOU don't like something, doesn't make it 'garbage', especially on the type of scale Halo represents. By the way, I don't own a 360 or PS3. The 360 because I'm waiting for Microsoft to stabilize the hardware, PS3 simply because it doesn't have the exclusives I enjoy. But I would never call either platform 'garbage' or 'paperweight'. Sheesh get some valium.



super-nintendo said:

@mach-x, sorry man. I didn't mean to make you upset.

My comments about halo refer to halo 3 and ODST being average and overrated. 360's hardware is well known for being shoddy and deceptively expensive with no wi-fi, HDD standard or Blu-ray.

If you get a PS3, check out Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2 Oct. 13th. PS3 truly defines "next gen" with amazing graphics, gameplay, and story. Both Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Super Mario Galaxy are 97 on Metacritic and I will enjoy them both.



luigiman2 said:

Sorry, but I personally think that Nintendo is better. I mean like Nintendo adds cool things to games like they made the Nintendo DS so that you can touch the screen with the stylus and they made the Wii so you can actually point your Wii controller at the screen. That's pretty cool. And they made the Mario Series.



Ristar42 said:

I think to suggest Nintendo only offer a 'casual, youth-oriented entertainment experience' is pretty wrong, and its daft PR statements like that which encourage 'fanboyism' - translate - 'Nintendo is for babies etc...'

Nothing casual about some of the rock hard VC downloads, and having played many of them the first time around I'm not sure I'd qualify for this chaps's 'youth' demographic either.

On the subject of fanboyism - The playstation was such a ubiquitous brand that I never felt the need to own one... so many other people did that I prefered to spend my money say, importing 2D shooters and RAM cart stuff for the saturn. I'm also mainly a retro gamer, so of the new consoles the potential of the VC and Wii remote made a pretty easy choice.



TeMPO said:

I totally agree with super-nintendo's comment about Uncharted. I only just got the first one a couple months back and was completely blown away by it so I'm itching to try out the second. From what I've seen so far it will easily come away with game of the year. So if you do get a PS3 you need to pick that one up pronto. It's a must-play.

@LEGEND_MARIOID: That doesn't really make sense to me. To me a gamer is a gamer. "Hardcore" is just a silly elitist title people like to give themselves so that they sound more important than they actually are. I don't understand why anyone would want to wedge themselves into one corner of the industry, especially when many times it's only based on principles bred from ignorant statements like "this platform is the best, that one is crap". Gaming is, and has always been, about having fun and every platform presents new ways of having fun through their exclusive content. So no, I don't think it has anything to do with whether or not people are "hardcore" gamers. I think it has more to do with peoples' bandwagon opinions unfortunately denying them of something they would most likely enjoy if they actually gave it a chance.

@Ristar42: In a way, you actually do qualify, as do most VC users...myself included. If you look at the majority of the market on the Wii it does seem to provide a lot (not entirely, but a lot) for a younger demographic. But, as you pointed out, it also has tons of classic VC content. But the irony is that the reason a lot of us like those games is because that's what WE played when WE were young. VC still targets a youth audience, but instead of targeting it directly they target it through nostalgia. We enjoy it and, in turn, spend money on it because we're able to go back and revisit the things we enjoyed when we were younger. It's the same reasons behind why I have a soft spot for older toys and cartoons while I really couldn't care less about modern versions of the same series...because they're what I used to love and what I feel are the classics. The originals I enjoyed as a kid. But if you step outside of that and look at it from the viewpoint of someone who didn't play those games while they were growing up and doesn't have that nostalgic draw towards them, then no, the Wii doesn't have nearly as much to offer the modern adult market when compared to what's available on the PS3, 360 and PC.



SmaMan said:

I think Sony's taking a legal risk by releasing their black wii re- oh, I mean "wand".

And they also took a risk at releasing a protable console that doesn't have discs or cartridges, and making the 3rd most expensive game console in history... and at this rate it's going to suffer the same fate as the 1st and 2nd on the list (3do and Neo-Geo respectively)
The big problem with those two was that they were so graphically enhanced that no one knew how to make games that could truly take advantage of the hardware... hence the reason why there's not that many good PS3 exclusives... and why they've been advertising the same few titles and the non-gaming features for their gaming console since launch.

Maybe that's why they're giving it a 10-year lifespan... that's how long it will take for the devs to catch up to it!



TeMPO said:

"Maybe that's why they're giving it a 10-year lifespan... that's how long it will take for the devs to catch up to it!"

Of course...because planning ahead with the evolution of the market in mind is obviously a stupid move.



SmaMan said:

Good point, but...
1. Let's see if it lasts that long... The 3DO died out quickly and the Neo-Geo, while was on the market till about 2003, no one really bought the home console since it cost so frickin' much.
2. By then, Microsoft and Nintendo will have moved on to the next generation with new consoles, and most people will dismiss the last-gen PS3 at that point as out-dated technology while they go to bigger and better consoles of the next-next-gen.



TeMPO said:

I might agree with you on that if the PS3 was the first-generation of its kind (as I believe the 3DO and Neo-Geo were), but as a system in its third iteration roughly 15 years down the track I don't see them plummeting into ruin anytime soon. Especially with sales now on a substantial rise from the price drop for the PS3 slim.



Mike1 said:

@54. Mach-X
I'm calling it a big useless paperweight and I stand by my statement. Yes the system is cheaper now, but $600 when it came out was a joke. Compared to the PS2, the PS3 is a giant paperweight. And before you call me a fanboy, remember that I own a PS2 and a PSP.



geek-master said:

sony you just wont stop copying nintendo just for fun. you new version of the wii remote will probibly be a very cheap peice of plastic. nintendo has just celebrated their 120th birthday also when you say the wii is for young people no thats not true!! look at those great wii third party exclusives like dead space extraction and metriod prime trilogy also i think your gaming industrys hardcore gaming fans will come running to nintendo when METRIOD PRIME OTHER M comes out this 2010 :3

also sony what ever hapend to you?! why did you just jump into the gaming industry?! you should have just kept making laptops.

also nintendo knows more about how to put a smile to a gamers face that has played sence the 1980's you know it sony you only have 10 years in the video game industry if you target people for great graphics and not gameplay then your no good as the others. i dont care about shooting up some person in a game i care about a well made game that took years to craft. for example play legend of zelda oceriana of time im speachless.



Monkeh said:

Sony really is one of the most pathetic and unethnic companies I've ever had the displeasure of hearing about.



Ren said:

that is a pretty silly statement.
I remember how skeptical everyone was about the Wii just before launch, gamers and otherwise. I remember myself thinking " it still looks like a cheap gimmick and a sad end for Nintendo". I called some retailers and asked if it was worth going to wait in line and every one told me, "don't worry about it, no one wants the system, they all are buying the sonys".
I finally decided that if it really felt at all like you were controlling something with motion alone, it would take months to get one if I missed launch, so I took the chance after a years long break from video games. Now I'm practically the fanboy I was when I was at 13 with the NES.
To be fair sony did take a sort of risk by pushing the Blu-Ray Player so hard and in turn raising they're console price so much that it sacrificed the success of PS3 as a game system and won them the video format war, but that wasn't necessarily a smart risk to take since it may not have mattered much that it was attached to the PS3.
Nintendo essentially risked an embarrasing flop by releasing what many still call a duct taped gamecube or whatever with 2 other HD-ready systems already out and a scaled back controller with less buttons that used simple motion sensing. It looked like a huge step backwards to all of us and blew everyone away immediatley.
Nintendo just has a different strategy of game focused wowing by fantastic software design and innovative simple hardware. Sony has always been more long term thinking and slow and steady install focused, which this time hasn't worked since Nintendo won so much praise right away that it's overshadowed so much of Sony's potential. PS3 looks great but I still can't afford it, and I'm not saving up since my spare money is still going into more Wii stuff.
Nintendo's risk taking alone is part of what has impressed me about their products this Gen even with DS stuff. Ok we don't always get the tiniest indie developers, but I think they've even done a fair amount for smaller guys to have a chance with WW games. Like the touch screen did, even I think all the Wii motion sensing "shovelware" has started leading to interesting software that is clearly leading the way this cycle.
Sony has done nothing of the sort this time, in fact taking a pretty hard lined traditional stance when it came out; the statements here reak of pure arrogance.



Ristar42 said:

@TeMPO Interesting theory - Nintendo appealing to the 'inner child' of our collective youths!
I think you make a few assumptions about what constitutes the 'modern adult market' though - themes, aesthetics...? I think the Wii has some pretty interesting 'modern' games just recently, Cursed Mountain, Me you and the Cubes...

I agree there is a lot of mass market kids targeted stuff, but much of it is also cynical 3rd party (often PS2 / PC ported with tacked on waggle) shovel ware, attempting to cash in on the Wii sales.

In terms of graphics, one of my favourite games ever is Rez, a pretty abstract game apparently partly inspired by Wassily Kandinsky and reminiscent of Starblade, on the subject of which...
The Dreamcast, now there was a good console - SEGA made some great games back then.



TeMPO said:

@Ristar42 Yeah, not aesthetics so much. Hell, I'm 30 and the games I'm looking forward to playing most at the moment on my Wii are A Boy and His Blob and Max and the Magic Marker. I don't think games should have to be realistic to appeal to an adult audience. By games that appeal to the 'modern adult market' I was really referring to those that offer more serious story-driven, strategic and/or tactical gameplay since, if you're looking at the series' that really have that large following on other platforms, those are the ones that seem to stand out. Unfortunately, on the flipside of that, graphic violence and gore seems to be more and more common among games made for teen and adult audiences as well, which is (in my opinion) a big downside to what the other systems provide on a larger scale. So that's kinda what I meant - the Wii doesn't really offer a lot of games that follow those trends, which I think is both a bad and a good thing respectively.

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