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Interview: SCEA's Eric Lempel on Amazon's PSN offerings


Yesterday, SCEA announced a partnership with to sell PSN codes through the online retailer. We chatted with Eric Lempel about the deal and how it came to fruition. Lempel revealed to us that the program had been in the works long before Amazon started selling XBLM codes, and said that Sony would be "looking into" offering direct access to the PlayStation Store on the web. Read on for more.

Joystiq: Is an exclusive retail partner with Sony, or will we see this program expand to other retailers?

Eric Lempel: Amazon offers a lot of great benefits, but we're definitely open to exploring other retailers in the channel. There's nothing exclusive about this. If it makes sense, and works for both sides, yeah, we'd definitely be open to exploring this with other retail partners.

Which party was responsible for getting the project rolling? Was it Sony, or was it Amazon?

We have a lot of meetings with [Amazon] on a regular basis, because they are one of our customers for all of the physical product. So, we're talking with them all the time. I've been in meetings with them for years, so I can't really say who brought this up but we've all been talking about this for a long time. And I will say we've been talking about this way before the Xbox integration as well, so it wasn't one of these, "Hey, we're doing this, do you guys want to do this as well?" We've thought about this, we've been talking about it. We've kind of had to get the right timing where all of us can do the implementation. We thought now would be a great time just in light of PSP Go being released and the surge of digital content that's become available over the last few months.

Will there be pricing parity between the two storefronts, or is Amazon free to have its own sales?

Pricing will be separate. Amazon is on their own as a retailer, so they can set their own pricing. currently allows users to browse -- but not buy -- PlayStation Store content.

Will we ever be able to buy content directly from the PlayStation website, or will we have to use exclusively for that kind of functionality?

We'll definitely look into expanding that to to provide the same ability, if not a slightly different integration, because you're technically on our site. I think we'll definitely look into that. No timing, no official plans yet.

Why can't I find any minis on

There's only SCEA-published content on right now. There's no other third-party content. But we are opening it up to our publishing partners, so we're going to be speaking with them over the next couple of days, if they're interested in getting involved. We're going to let them know how they can do that.

Are any Sony first-party studios working on PSP minis?

Right now, to my knowledge, they're not. That could change, again, but right now, I don't believe any of the studios are working on minis.

Stay tuned to Joystiq for the rest of our interview with Eric Lempel, as we discuss the PSP minis program, and why the proposed UMD conversion program never saw the light of day.

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