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Joseph Olin (AIAS President) Interview

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Written by DM on Tuesday, June 06 2006

What did you think of this year’s E3? How did it compare to last year’s E3?

This year’s E3 was great! I always enjoy the explosion of new games that are shown and it’s the home of Into the Pixel. Certainly this year’s hands-on of the Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3 were important to see, but there was no shortage of some terrific new titles across the board for nearly every platform imaginable.

As the President of the AIAS, you have a pretty wide perspective on the industry. What is your take on the next-gen console situation? Do you think Sony is asking for too much money and consumer faith? Do you think Nintendo can pull it off without technological power? Do you think MS will ever be able to break into Japan?

Wow! That’s a lot to reflect upon… from my AIAS seat, the transition to next-generation consoles (and PC gaming when you include MS Vista) will be viewed as a significant period of time in the history of interactive entertainment. Consumers, and not just game players, have more entertainment options than at any other time in their lives, they are demanding more flexibility in how they receive their content and as part of the entertainment mix, games (and I mean console, pc, mobile, etc.) are an embedded part of their entertainment landscape. Depending upon what type of games you enjoy, whether you’re a parent with young children or someone at my stage, a parent with teenagers at home, or a college student or adult, the new systems offer a great range of entertainment options and it becomes “your choice!” Choice is almost always a good thing. The three platform companies have different approaches and propositions they have put in front of their audiences. Ultimately, the levels of success each may reach will be determined by delivering the entertainment experience that exceeds the expectations of its audience.

It has, and probably always come down to the games, or game quality, don’t you think? Your reference to the lack of technological horsepower (compared to Xbox360/PS3) for the Nintendo system somewhat misses the mark. There are about 35MM GameBoys in people’s hands and I wouldn’t say the lack of 128-bit processing power has been a factor in this segment. So to that end, for the audiences that Nintendo has publicly stated it wishes to reach, the Wii has enough power and “screen presence” to satisfy players; certainly games like Red Steel and Zelda and Mario Galaxies these, to me are as compelling to play as Gears of War, or Viva Piñata, or Warhawk or Resistance: Fall of Man.

So much has been written on the PS3 price points… I believe that Sony’s position is that it is offering a premium entertainment experience and is priced accordingly. I am sure that it will be a difficult item to find this holiday season, like the Xbox 360 was upon its launch. As to Christmas 2007… a bit too far away to speculate at this point!

If you had to pick one thing that you think the AIAS has attempted and succeeded at, what would it be?

I would say that the Academy has been successful in providing the talented men and women who make games an opportunity to recognize and promote their great work through the Interactive Achievement Awards.

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