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Sony CEO calls Nintendo's handhelds 'babysitting tools'

Pete Davison | April 11, 2011
Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton made his feelings on what he calls "the Game Boy experience" very clear -- he doesn't view it as competition.

SAN FRANCISCO, 11 APRIL 2011 - This morning's Top Story is the news that SCEA president and CEO Jack Tretton clearly isn't a fan of Nintendo's handhelds -- and he has big plans for the future.

Speaking with Fortune on Friday, Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton made his feelings on what he calls "the Game Boy experience" very clear -- he doesn't view it as competition.

"Our view of the Game Boy experience," he said, "is that it's a great babysitting tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting twentysomething is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those. He's too old for that."

Of course, the DS family has to date sold more than 146 million units worldwide, while the PSP struggles on with just 67 million -- so he's absolutely right, there is no competition. Just not in quite the way he might have meant.

Tretton's comments came as part of a discussion on what he believes to be Sony's best year ever. He believes that the 360 and Wii are "starting to run out of steam in terms of continuing to be relevant in 2011 and beyond." His point is that the PS3's once-pricey tech has allowed it to remain more technologically competitive and relevant than its peers. It's clear he believes the PS3 will outlast the 360 and especially the Wii.

It's this philosophy that Tretton is counting on with the NGP. He believes that incorporating technology that is ahead of its time will allow it to remain relevant long after the 3DS ceases to matter in the minds of gamers.

"With the NGP we asked 'what is it that is lacking?'" he said. "We looked at every technology out there, every [bell and] whistle, and how can we make those as flexible as possible for consumers to experience."

Tretton claimed last week that price didn't make or break a system, implying that NGP may be a bit more expensive than people are expecting. He's right, of course, it's not price that makes or breaks a system -- it's the games. And games are the one thing he barely mentioned in his comments to Fortune.

 

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