Exclusive Interview with Ray Maguire – Sony Vice-President and Head of Video Games committee

Posted By | On 15th, Mar. 2011 Under Interviews | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

GamingBolt.com’s very own George Reith got a chance to meet up with Ray Maguire who is the Sony Vice-President and Head of Video Games committee

Reith touches on various points surrounding the PSP2 and the Sony gaming in general.

Check out the full interview below.

George Reith: You have probably been asked this a million time today, but what were you impressions of the nominee list?

Ray Maguire: (Laughs) I chaired the table that actually got down to the ten and the process… it took us a long time to do that and the conversation was vigorous, it was impassioned; lots of people backing different things.  You know, we argued for a long time as to what, why and when… so actually I was really pleased with the diversity and the titles that we got, different genres, making sure that we got some of the biggest commercial successes in there. We got a few that weren’t that commercially successful but were still absolutely brilliant games and now of course it’s up to the game consumers to vote, in their tens of thousands, and see which ones going to be number one, which I have no idea!

George Reith: Which game do you think, personally, deserves the award?

Ray Maguire:  Again, this is part of the conversation round the table; I think there could be one of a number of those games that could win. Only because the range of genres was big enough and I think… I think we could get a surprise winner this year. I think sometimes it’s too easy to think that the most commercially successful one will win, but I think maybe there might be an upset issue.

George Reith: Are you a gamer yourself?

Ray Maguire: It’s like working in a sweet shop, isn’t it? At the end of the day you can’t eat too many otherwise you become very, very fat and I actually should do some work rather than juts game all the time! Obviously we’re spoilt for choice and obviously just trying out the games on our own platform is pretty much a full time business.

George Reith: Are there any games that missed the nominee list which you think should have made it?

Ray Maguire: It’s always a difficult one; I was chairing it so I wasn’t there to make the decisions, just to ensure that there’s fair play, which there was. Yes, of course, we all have our favourites that we would like to put in there, but I guarantee that my favourite possibly wouldn’t have been on the list.

George Reith: Do you think, in regards to gaming in general, there have been advancements from previous years? Do you think  the industry is making progress?

Ray Maguire: Yeah, it’s very clear when you look at the rise of social networks and the reach of gaming; Farmville for instance over 29 million people, on that game… Cityville, loads of people transfer immediately and get an audience that would takes months to get through a boxed product. It’s clear to me that the whole universe of game is expanding, growing, quickly and for every person that we can get in on a Doodle Jump or an Angry Birds is potentially going to be the person who potentially wants to get into Heavy Rain in the future. They’ll grow I think as the next challenge comes, the next challenge comes when they become more comfortable with the whole idea of gaming, especially if they are not a native gamer, then we should see even more of the population starting to game.

George Reit: You were mentioning games like Angry Birds which are typically labelled as ‘casual.’ Do you think there is much of a gulf between what is considered ‘casual’ and what is considered ‘hardcore’ and if so do you think it will close over time?

Ray Maguire: It’s one of these things about definitions isn’t it? As far as I’m concerned; if you are having fun it’s valid. If it engages you, if it makes you smile or makes you frightened or whatever emotion, then I’m up for it, I think it’s great. If it wasn’t for some of the easy routes into gaming a lot of people wouldn’t be gaming today. I was thinking about gaming experience when I first started, which was the Atari 2600, you couldn’t even make out what those things were. They were just kind of like these vague blobs, supposedly it was a car or supposedly it was an alien, well things have moved on massively from then to where we are now. But if I hadn’t started with my Atari I probably wouldn’t be gaming now.

George Reit: Returning to the Sony side of things; there have been some exciting announcements involving the NGP and the Xperia play. It seems they are taking very different directions in the kind of demographics they are aiming for. Do you think Sony is trying to broaden its horizons?

Ray Maguire: Yeah, we have to look at content and platforms. From the technology side; we are a technology company, of course we’ll be pushing the boundaries on what our devices can do, so next generation portable is a very, very powerful device, but taking into account that now we have community based gaming, we like connectivity, we are becoming more of an ‘always on’ world; we also bring that into the mix as well. On the other side we also look at our intellectual property, the things we have created over the years and we have some less technical platforms and varying degrees of technology and technological capability, but all sitting under an android platform that we can still supply content to. So I think it’s natural to look at it from two points of view:  one, from a content point of view across all devices and one from a set of excellence through our own platform.

George Reith: With all this talk of handhelds and mobile platforms, where do you think the PS3 stands? There have been talks of extending the console cycle; do you think the PS3 is going to be able to push through the whole ten years?

Ray Maguire: Yeah I think, hopefully within the next year, you will see the relationship between portable and static and the relationship between the Playstation 3 and the Next Generation Portable… will have a much, much stronger relationship; both talking to each other, sharing experiences and if you think of the Playstation 3 as your entertainment hub, firmly centred around gaming, but of course giving Blu-Ray, giving music, video, pictures, browsing, connectivity, communication… So, that becomes your hub and then your Next Generation Portable is what you take around with to continue that entrainment experience on the move.

George Reit: The NGP seems like one of the most powerful devices we’ve ever seen, let alone in portable format, do you think that’s going to put pressure on other developers and hardware to push the boundaries with home consoles?

Ray Maguire: No, I think it just gives them more choice and allows them to be more creative, which is exactly what they’re there for.

George Reith: Not trying to put conflict in the air but how do you think the NGP is going to face up to the 3DS?

Ray Maguire: …we’ll see.

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