Interview with Justin Keeling (head of publishing at ign.com)
Q: Have Sony deliberately hyped the Playstation 3 UK launch so that demand will outstrip supply?
A: This is really a question for Sony. Although it will be interesting to see if demand does outstrip supply. The major gaming retailers have reported high levels of interest from consumers, and there will certainly be lots of demand. But there are also estimates of there being around 200,000 PS3s available for sale, so we think there’s a good chance that you will be able to buy a machine without ordering in advance.
Q: Does the Playstation 3 play Playstation 2 and Playstation games?
A: It plays the vast majority of PS1 games and around 75% of PS2 games. You can access a list of working games here:
http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/774/774133p1.html. We think there are also likely to be software updates to the PS3 to increase compatibility further.
Q: Will the Playstation 3 be able to play video/game DVDs from other regions of the world or will it be locked to one region?
A: The situation is different for games and DVDs. DVD films are region-coded to the usual territory standards, meaning you can’t watch foreign DVDs on the PS3. But games on the PS3 aren’t currently region-coded, so you can play a game from any country on a PS3 at the moment.
Q: How many games will be available at launch?
A: Around 30 titles are available at launch, including games that you download using the PlayStation 3’s internet connection.
Q: Will this lead to a thriving second hand market for Playstation 2s as people upgrade?
A: As with any legacy hardware, expect to see an increase in second-hand PS2 sales. But many people may want to keep their PS2 for now - partly because of its size and to save money, but also because there is still a fantastic selection of games. And there are some great forthcoming games like God of War 2, which is brilliant.
Q: How many does Sony expect to sell on Friday (mainly pre-orders) and in the first month in the UK?
A: Sony won’t release sales estimates for the UK, but I expect over 150,000 to be sold in the first month.
Q: How many has Sony sold in the countries the Playstation 3 has already been released in?
A: According to Sony, around a million in the US and a million in Japan.
Q: How will the Playstation 3 compare to the Xbox 360 and has Sony made a strategic error in not launching this for Christmas 2006?
A: The Xbox 360 has been out longer, so right now it has a better selection of games, and a fantastic online service. But Sony has the advantage of a Blu-ray movie player built in, and a free online service, though this is still developing.
It’s too early to tell if delaying the PS3 launch was a strategic error. You could argue that HD TVs are more widespread in the UK now than they were last Christmas so there's a bigger potential market.
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Interview by John Brace
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