Interviews// VP of Sony's Worldwide Studios, Jamie MacDonald

Interview with Jamie Macdonald, Vice President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios

Posted 17 Aug 2007 16:27 by
Jamie MacDonald, VP of SCE Worldwide Studios
Jamie MacDonald, VP of SCE Worldwide Studios
Sony’s Jamie MacDonald (pictured here) joined SCE London Studio in 2001 as its first director, and has been responsible for introducing and establishing such major new global franchises as EyeToy, SingStar and The Getaway.

Jamie was at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival earlier this week to give a talk on social gaming, specifically focusing on PS3 Home, the free community-based service which will be rolled out on PS3 later this year and will allow users to create their own avatar characters and interact in a virtual world using their PS3s. Jamie was also at EIF 07 to say a little more about Sony’s plans for social gaming, focusing on the forthcoming PS3 version of SingStar.

SPOnG managed to grab him for half an hour after his talk to find out a little more about the future of online and social gaming on PlayStation 3. Read on to find out what’s in store.

SPOnG: Hi, Jamie, thanks for your time today. Can you let us know a little more about what your role is at Sony, what your responsibilities are and so on?

Jamie MacDonald: Sure, I’m the vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios in Europe. So specifically this means that I’m responsible for the London Studio and the Cambridge Studio. At London we pride ourselves on being early developers of the social gaming genre, so we were responsible for EyeToy Play and a whole bunch of EyeToy products, as well as SingStar. We also did The Getaway. And today at Edinburgh, we’re mainly here to talk about PlayStation Home, which also comes out of the London Studio.

At Cambridge Studio they are responsible for Heavenly Sword, which is coming out this autumn. So those are really the main titles that we’re currently working on.

SPOnG: I’ve been hearing some good things about Heavenly Sword from our guys that have played it already.

Jamie MacDonald: Yeah, it’s looking great… playing really nicely.

SPOnG: So, today you’re here to mainly talk about PlayStation Home. What’s the history of that concept? Where did it come from?

Jamie MacDonald: Well, PlayStation Home actually came out of my frustration in the early days of PlayStation 2 online gaming… Well, not just my frustration, but me and a bunch of other guys. This frustration that when you went into an online game you had no idea of who you were playing with. There was no sense of any community or network. Increasingly if you went into, say, a first person shooter game you’d last for five seconds before getting killed. It was just a really frustrating and unfulfilling experience.

So, the origins of Home were exactly that: “Let’s build a place where people can go and hang out… even if they’re not actually playing an online game, they can go there just to meet up with people.” Or if they are playing they can agree to go off and do particular missions or whatever. Or somewhere they can just hang out and play small casual games. So, it was originally on PlayStation 2.

SPOnG: When was this? What time are we talking about?

Jamie MacDonald: This was, well, we did the early work on it around three years ago. It was a very small team, just kicking around some ideas, then probably about a year ago we realised we were onto something. Then we were presenting it internally to our people in Tokyo and the United States. So it’s kind of grown from there really. We thought that this was something that could really work well as a kind of glue for the overall PS3 online experience.
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