Ex-PlayStation US chief says Candy Crush is fun, Xbox on the right path

Originally published October 28, 2014

By Ian Sherr

A half-year after Jack Tretton stepped down as head of Sony’s PlayStation division in America, he has time to do something he didn’t have a chance to before: play Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.

To devout PlayStation fans, this could be considered a form of treason.

When he was in his old job, he was laser-focused on Sony products, vetting games for the PlayStation and the company’s Vita handheld video game device. When he wasn’t doing that, he was checking up on what his competitors, including Microsoft and Nintendo, were up to.

Sure, he knew about games made for mobile devices, but he didn’t have the time to actually play them. Now he slings around Apple’s mobile devices, complete with the most addicting and popular titles. “While console is obviously very important and a very big part of the gaming business, it is just a part of the games business,” Trenton said in a wide-ranging interview at his office in Redwood City, Calif. Now he’s playing several mobile games, and experiencing what’s outside the console industry. “I never thought I’d be saying that even a year ago.”

In a spartan office he’s rented, Tretton is relaxed as he talks about getting back into the game, so to speak. He likes advising, and he’s been talking to experts throughout the industry. And he says he’s probably met more people in the months since he left Sony than in the past 20 years.

When he’s not doing that, though, he’s trying to beat the owl, a notoriously hard level of Candy Crush.

Dressed in a purple-shaded shirt, a sport coat and jeans, Tretton weighed in on how he sees things from the outside, the benefits of having a more female perspective in the industry and the health of game makers.

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