Phil Harrison’s frustration with Sony Japan, Nintendo’s family-oriented games

A 2008 Game Developers Conference Update on Sony head Phil Harrison - Image 1Even top-ranking executives, it seems, aren’t exempt from occasional feelings of frustration. Just ask Phil Harrison, head of Sony Studios Worldwide.

During this year’s Game Developers Conference, Mr. Harrison admitted frustration with the company, especially with their Japan studio. Find out why after the jump.

GDC 08: Phil Harrison expresses frustration with Sony Japan - Image 1  

During a private lunch held at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony head honcho Phil Harrison admitted frustration over the company’s Japanese division. The reason? Sony of Japan was too slow at accepting ideas of social gaming.

Harrison mentioned that Japanese executives apparently didn’t believe in the concept of families and friends playing video games together. The fact that the European branch of Sony had three products meant to encourage social gaming

Those games, Harrison explained, were even before the Nintendo Wii was even released – served to highlight the apparent contrast between the two branches of the company. Harrison put it this way:

It’s a very interesting and frustrating thing for me to experience because I have been banging the drum about social gaming for a long time, with SingStar, EyeToy and Buzz.

And our Japanese colleagues said that there is no such thing as social gaming in Japan – people do not play games on the same sofa together in each other’s homes. It will never happen. And then out comes the Wii.

Harrison also cited the example of Nintendo’s approach to family-oriented gaming with the following statement:

What’s interesting with Nintendo adverts – and they are the same the world over – they always show the view from the television back to the sofa, which is very clever. And what do you see? A family or friends all on a sofa.

The Sony executive reportedly admires Nintendo’s success in marketing and sales; he specifically named Nintendo’s Wii Sports as “a title that encapsulates the idea of a true ‘next-generation’ game.”

Who knows? With Harrison’s clout, we may see something similar in the future. Keep checking back here at QJ.NET for the latest development on this matter.

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