Folks in Australia and New Zealand say they’re always getting screwed when it comes to new game releases. Just listen to them whine about how they still haven’t got Rock Band, and what it’s going to cost when it finally arrives. Of course, living all the way down in the bottom corner of the world like they do, crammed in there between Hawaii and the Orkneys, it’s really no mystery why they’re always behind the times. Fortunately, Reeves sympathizes, and he has a plan.
New Zealand gaming site ButtonMasher had a bit of a talk with Reeves at E3 this year, and asked him about the long delays gamers Down Under have to put up with while waiting for the latest and greatest new releases. “I think honestly you will continue to do that because I don’t think that the localization is controlled enough in the U.S.A. to be able to put it into New Zealand,” Reeves said.
But all is not lost! “We are a PAL market and we are going to do it in PAL and we are going to do it properly,” he continued. “You can wait for it and you can have it in good quality, you know you can get the stuff from Bittorrent if you want to and download PSP games, it’s up to you.”
The interesting thing, aside from the fact that engaging in software piracy is apparently now “up to you,” is that while speaking at the DevStation conference in June, Reeves referred to piracy on the PSP as a problem, saying, “We know about it, we know how it’s done.” But is it really all that bad in his eyes? Reeves also admitted to the audience that piracy “sometimes fuels the growth of hardware sales,” and while he added that “on balance” the company is unhappy with piracy, it does raise the question of whether Sony is willing to live with – or even tacitly encourage – some low-level copying if it means increased growth for the PSP in underserviced markets.
While no company would ever admit to anything but a zero-tolerance position against piracy, the bottom line is and will always be market share and profit. Given the region’s historical difficulties with both lengthy delays and ridiculously high prices when games finally do arrive (a Kotaku report recently suggested that when Rock Band comes out in Australia, a full setup including instruments will retail for around $400 AUD – that’s almost $380 in real American money) a little bit of strategic eye-aversion should come as absolutely no surprise at all.