There is no doubt about it; by Sony’s own admission, the PlayStation Portable Go was perhaps the worst-kept secret prior to this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. Of course, it wasn’t the only thing. Talk had been hovering around The Last Guardian, Project Natal, and a leaner, meaner PlayStation 3 in the weeks and days leading up to the show, with only that last item not coming to pass.
It’s difficult to play a winning hand when everyone at the table already knows the cards you’re holding.
“People don’t respect confidentiality in this industry,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton laments in an interview with CNBC. “It’s tough enough to keep a secret within your own company, much less when you speak to third parties.”
And while E3 has passed and things like motion control and digital distribution plans are now more out in the open, Tretton still has his worries for the future. The PlayStation 4 is still years away, but Tretton is concerned that when the time comes, the rumor mill may once again beat them to the punch.
“This is an industry that has trouble focusing on today,” he says. “We want to constantly talk about tomorrow.â€¦ You have to prepare for people to know things in advance. The frustrating thing is they only know a part of the story and that opens up a lot of conjecture and misinformation that ultimately waters down the reality when you roll it out.”
1. Don’t tell anyone a God damned thing
2. See #1
To wit, Metroid: Other M seemed like a prime candidate for a leak, given the partnership Nintendo forged with Tecmo’s Team Ninja. And yet, as Siliconera pointed out yesterday, not even Koei knew of the title in development… and they had just merged with Tecmo earlier this year!
Even the games we supposedly knew about, Mario and Zelda, were little more than that: Nintendo themselves had said last year that those teams were working on new titles, but we had scarcely a clue of what those might entail until just last week.
Game|Life asks “How many times have you read articles about a new Nintendo announcement that say something to the effect of, ‘Third-party developers were shocked to hear about the device, saying that Nintendo had not informed them that it was in development?'” For instance, remember the rumor of LucasArts being upset about not being in the MotionPlus loop?
Game|Life points out that there are two ways to approach this situation: To tell as many developers as possible, as soon as possible, in order to garner more support for when it’s showtime, or to keep it all a secret and make a bigger splash with the inevitable announcement, all while protecting your secrets from your competitors.
“I’m getting the sense that this is, more and more, a have-your-cake-or-eat-it situation,” says Game|Life, and I have to agree.