Tretton on Smart Phone Gaming: "I’m like, 'you wasted time.'"
Jack Tretton thinks the Vita is the future of portable gaming and notices the distinction between smart phone gamers and core gamers.
There was a lot of talk at E3 about tablems and smart phones, in part thanks to the announcement of the Wii U and Microsoft's SmartGlass technology. In an interview with Jack Tretton at Forbes, the Sony bigwig distanced himself from that sort of experience and championed the Vita, although I suppose you could say that he's slightly biased.
"What I find lacking in a smartphone or tablet experience is it’s great for 5 or 10 minutes, but if I spend 30 minutes playing a game on a smart phone I get mad at myself. I’m like, “you wasted time.” You know, it doesn’t feel like I accomplished something. But when I’m using a Vita, putting in a good hour is just about right, and that’s typically about as much time as I have to devote to it.
"I like the whole idea that I can put one hour in on the portable, then come back home and continue on the console. It was always frustrating to me that in a game like Tiger Woods or MLB, I had to have two separate experiences. I was so accomplished on the portable version, but not nearly as accomplished on the console, because I had spent so much more time in the portable space. But now they are one and the same."
The interviewer asked if the feeling at Sony was that anybody who wanted to "buy into the Sony games ecosystem" was required to purchase both a PlayStation 3 and a Vita.
"The thing that we always try to avoid doing is sending everybody down a linear path and saying “You have to do this.” And that applies to every aspect of our gaming. Motion gaming, you want dedicated motion gaming? We’ll give you that. You wanna play Killzone? Somebody may never want to touch the Move controller, somebody else may want to try the Sharp Shooter attachment, somebody may only play with the Sharp Shooter. We don’t want to force people down a path.
"I think that’s also true of the portable gaming experience. It depends on what games you’re into, or it depends on how you play and where you spend your time.
"It begs the question, “Wow, isn’t that a big investment for a consumer to buy multiple platforms and multiple games?” Well, if you’re a gamer, a large percentage of those people do just that. And if you can justify owning two consoles, I think it’s very conceivable to justify owning a portable device and a console. But if you’re not a gamer, I think it’s difficult for people to relate to that. And that’s where free games and $0.99 games on a smartphone seem good enough.
"But if you say that to a gamer and you read any of those blogs… I mean if you wanna make a million enemies, write an article that says that smartphones and tablets are the future of gaming. And you will get flamed by so many hardcore gamers that you’ll need a security guard out in front of your house."