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PlayStation chief on the Vita and how it will defy the odds

Can the PlayStation Vita be like the Kindle for gaming?


Jack Tretton is an affable guy. A gamer. A mainstay, some may be surprised to know, of every PlayStation platform launch since Sony's original game console hit back in 1995.

He's also now the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America and the guy tasked with answering my questions about the PlayStation Vita and its midnight launch set to take place half a day from the time of our interview and about 600 feet below in Sony's signature Style store on Madison Avenue.

Part of Tretton's likeability comes from his inherent nervousness with public speaking and, at least for me, his genuine love of gaming.

He didn't sleep very well Tuesday night, he tells me before we start shooting. He couldn't stop thinking about things, he says. Those things, I suspect, are more about standing on a stage in front of a room full of PlayStation fans than Vita sales number or attach rates.

The Vita, Tretton tells me, is doing fine. PlayStation's new portable gaming platform, a chunky, powerful device packed with cameras, motion sensing, touch screen and back panel and two thumbsticks, is finding an audience among hardcore PlayStation gamers, he says. And Sony hopes, expects to expand that reach to a much larger audience down the line.

Over the course of our interview at the top of Sony's New York headquarters, Tretton explains why he thinks there's still room for portable gaming in a market seemingly in love with short, inexpensive mobile games, the lessons learned from the PlayStation Portable and PSP Go, and why the Vita's new user interface won't show up on the PlayStation 3, but will likely pop up on other Sony devices.

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