A report on Newsweek claims that Sony’s Ken Kutaragi dragged his feet on signing exclusive third party titles, costing Sony games such as Assassin’s Creed and Grand Theft Auto 4.
From the article: “PlayStation chief Ken Kutaragi hadn’t finalized the business terms for independent publishers on the PS3. And without that, he was reluctant to greenlight any expenditures on Western third-party exclusives. In previous generations, Kutaragi’s slowness hadn’t been much of a problem because the first two PlayStations launched in Japan 8-12 months ahead of North America, leaving plenty of time to nail things down with Western publishers. But with the PS3 launching in North America just a week after Japan–and a year after a fiercely competitive Microsoft–Kutaragi’s tardiness became a major issue.”
The article goes on to claim that both Take Two and Ubisoft were interested in exclusives, but Sony’s delays coupled with Microsoft’s persistence wore them down. The story cites sources without giving any indication as to where they are from or how high up the chain they may be. None the less, Sony did respond indirectly to the claims. “I don’t want to get into confidential discussions with another company,” said Jack Tretton, executive VP of SCEA. “There was interest on Take-Two’s part to bring Grand Theft Auto onto Xbox platforms. We wouldn’t encourage them to do that. The interest came from them.”
It could be that Sony’s growing first-party lineup was reason enough for giving up exclusive claims on some games. “We’re the only company in this industry that’s got development resources and talent that have established Number one hits on all three continents,” said Tretton. “We really feel like we’re well positioned to contribute platform-defining games from a first-party standpoint, and we’re not dependent on third-party community to the degree that a Microsoft would be. That being said, you would be crazy to say that you would never entertain or not welcome exclusives. It’s just a question of how deep into your pockets do you have to reach to secure that? Desperation breeds deep pockets. Confidence breeds the opposite. When it makes sense, you do the deal. When it doesn’t, you pass.”