Activision CEO Bobby Kotick hasn't exactly been subtle about his desire to see Sony cut the price of the PlayStation 3. Today, he's trying to take that public prodding to a new level by telling UK-based Times Online that if Sony doesn't cut the price of its hardware, Activision may have to reconsider its support for the console.
Here are the relevant bits:
“They have to cut the price, because if they don't, the attach rates [the number of games each console owner buys] are likely to slow. If we are being realistic, we might have to stop supporting Sony.” Ask when and he says: “When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support the console — and the PSP [portable] too.”
He also states that games on the Wii and Xbox platforms are providing a better return on Activision's development investments.
So where does this grandstanding actually lead? I'm willing to bet that it's not going to change a thing when it comes to Activision's future lineup. Even if the entire company starts to collectively view the PlayStation 3 as an afterthought (though some might argue that they already do), they're still going to be dumping money into Xbox 360 and PC development. And they'll still want to maximize the return on that investment... by porting those games to as many different platforms as possible. The relatively lower costs of porting that code to make it run on a PlayStation 3 probably aren't as harsh as Kotick's quotes make it sound, because it's not like Activision is out there making games exclusively for the PS3 or anything like that.
Put another way, they're already doing most of the work when they develop a game for other modern platforms. Not putting it on the PlayStation 3 probably isn't the huge cost-cutter that he's making it out to be.
Even if carried out to its fullest tantrum-like potential, the most you'd probably see would be a drop in quality on the PS3 versions of some Activision games, sort of like they were back at the platform's launch. It might also impact Activision's peripheral game market, since they have to go and produce PS3-specific versions of turntables, guitars, and skateboards. But even though Activision's PS2 games brought in more money than its PS3 games last year, it's not likely to want to toss out all of the $241 million that it brought in from PS3 game sales last year.
So he's bluffing.
Sony's been passing around a comment in response to the story. Here's Gamasutra's version of said comment, attributed to Sony's Patrick Seybold:
"PlayStation has tremendous momentum coming out of E3, and we are seeing positive growth with more than 350 titles slated to hit across all our platforms, including many anticipated games from our publishing partners. We enjoy healthy business relationships with and greatly value our publishing partners and are working closely with them to deliver the best entertainment experience."
What, you were expecting some kind of "we don't want Activision's money-making music garbage on our platform anyway" retort?