Jack Tretton has no illusions about the addictive nature of video games.
“If you're a gamer, it's really gaming, food, and sleep,” Tretton, the president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, told “Off The Cuff.”
“If you do get into gaming, you find yourself passing hours and hours away,” he said. “It is incredibly immersive, it's addictive, and once you get hooked, you can't put the controller down. You find yourself leaving late for work, or for school, and you rush back to start gaming again as quickly as possible.”
Sony Computer Entertainment of America (a unit of Sony Computer Entertainment) publishes and markets Sony’s Playstation. More than 70 million Playstation units have been sold worldwide.
“Anytime I have some free time and I want to escape, I'll whip out my Vita”—a Sony handheld console—“and do some portable gaming,” Tretton said. He said he plays whenever he’s stuck at an airport or on a plane. “In that passive environment where I am a prisoner, gaming is a great escape.”
“We've got a billion people worldwide that consider themselves gamers now. There'll be generations going forward where it would be very strange to have not played a game,” Tretton said.
When asked about the violent content of some of the games, Tretton stayed on message. “It’s mainstream entertainment. It’s a part of society, and unfortunately violence is a part of society. But I feel like gaming has done so much good for society that it is a real positive area to get yourself into if you’re a consumer.”
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Gaming is also part of Tretton’s home life. “My son is absolutely a gamer, and he's had access to every type of genre and every platform that's ever been made. But he's really more of a sports gamer. He does spend a lot of time gaming,” he said.
“I think, you know, parenting comes down to budgeting the decisions that they make and the time that they put in their various passions,” Tretton continued. “I'm very fortunate that my kids are very self-disciplined and they make sure that they know when it's time to study and when it's time to play.”