Jack Tretton has been working in the games industry for 27 years and has attended every single E3. But these last few weeks have been the most eventful of his career. So, what's it like to have been the boss of Sony Computer Entertainment America during that tumultuous E3 and in the days that followed, including Microsoft's change of heart on DRM?
"Gamers are the most passionate people in the world," said Tretton (pictured, right) in an interview on Up At Noon. "They fire me up. It's painful when you make them unhappy but it feels really good when you make them happy."
At E3, Tretton received standing ovations when PlayStation 4 was shown for the first time, with a price $100 below Microsoft Xbox One's $499, and without any used game or game-swapping restrictions. It was, according to most observers, the most stark head-to-head E3 conference victory in the history of the long-running console wars.
Tretton said that he had not watched Microsoft's live conference staged earlier in the day, including its announcement of a higher price. "We were doing rehearsals and I was going through my stuff," he said. "I heard a little bit of applause and I figured if there was applause and it was in our arena that was probably good news."
But he dismissed the notion that Sony had reacted in any way to Microsoft's announcement of a $499 Xbox One, packed with Kinect. "A multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporation makes those decisions months and months in advance," he said. "We felt we had a great value proposition that people would respond to but you don't know how you're going to be positioned against your competition. We felt good about it regardless of where our competition came in, but lower is better than higher, we learned that with PlayStation 3."
On Microsoft's decision to reverse its contentious DRM policies, Tretton offered a dry, "I guess they got the message" adding that Sony had spent a great deal of time and energy on "listening to the consumers and to developers."
He spoke about the elation following the Sony press conference. "The industry does this [roller-coaster hand waves] and to really survive you have to stay even-keeled," he said. "I try to keep myself from getting too down but also I try to keep myself from getting too up. I really had to allow myself to enjoy the moment for a couple of minutes after the press conference finished and then you kind of have to shake it off and say, ok, day one of a ten year battle, and we have to win the consumer's support one consumer at a time, so it's back in the trenches."
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