Europe has always been a strong market for Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Italy has certainly been among PlayStation’s strongholds in the continent, even more so with the PS4 generation.
During a PlayStation Now-focused event hosted yesterday in Milan’s trendy fashion district, Twinfinite talked to Sony Interactive Entertainment Italy General Manager Marco Saletta about the introduction of the service, the situation for the PS4 in the local market, and the future.
Giuseppe: Why has PlayStation Now been implemented this late in Italy compared to other European countries?
Marco Saletta: We had to be certain to be able to take advantage of a sufficient broadband support infrastructure to be able to guarantee a high-quality service for our customers.
G: We can say that at long last we have that, after such a long wait.
MS: At last we have that. Broadband speed is finally becoming significantly faster – at long last – in our country as well. I’d say that we’re almost within the European average, even if still slightly below that. Yet, large steps forward have been made over the past three years.
G: What are your ambitions for PlayStation Now in Italy? Do you think the Italian consumer is ready to make the jump to streaming?
MS: Actually, we don’t have set targets. We approached the launch of PlayStation Now with the attitude of wanting to study the trend and to understand the response from the Italian consumer both to the catalog of products included in the service and to its subscription model.
Over the next six to 12 months we’ll observe what happens, and then we’ll start to draw conclusion and try to understand how to improve the service for our consumers.
G: Are you perhaps considering PlayStation Vue as well?
G: Since we’re almost at the end of a generation, could you tell me what’s the situation of the Italian market for PS4?
MS: On the Italian market, PS4 is still the console with the highest installed base growth speed in the history of PlayStation, and we’re in its sixth year already. We’re particularly happy about the way the PlayStation community is reacting to it.
There have been trends that helped the adoption of the platform over the years: the exclusives on which we worked in a timely manner shown that this is the way to go. Exclusive content is the way to go to improve. I think we still have a few years ahead of us for PS4, and we’ll work both in engaging the community that already owns the console and to invite new consumers within our world.
G: Speaking of content for PS4, it has been my impression over the last few years that Sony is at its best in the field of single-player games. Do you think Italian consumers are more sensitive to this kind of story-driven experience, or to multiplayer titles?
MS: Again, the real topic is content: we had highly-successful releases like God of War and Spider-Man in Italy last year, and those are traditional single-player games. That being said, I can tell you that the engagement we have on titles like FIFA or Fortnite in our country is absolutely respectable even compared to other European countries. Our guiding light is content.
G: So now that Italy finally joined the countries that can enjoy PlayStation Now, do you think our internet infrastructure can deliver a good service?
MS: Yes. Our beta revealed that five 5Mbps bandwidth in upload and download you can easily play without significant lag even in multiplayer. At the moment, we’re satisfied. There might be situations of high-load at launch on certain highly-downloaded titles that the consumer probably won’t even notice, but we’re very confident.
G: What do you foresee in the future of PlayStation in Italy?
MS: What I foresee is all about continuing to work on PS4’s community and bringing in as many consumers as possible.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how far the PS4 will go in the next few years, especially considering the sunset of the generation and the change at the helm with former PlayStation Europe boss Jim Ryan preparing to officially take on the role of global CEO.