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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sony president, CEO visits UA

_Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, is visiting campus this week. He will meet with administrators from various colleges and give an address as part of the Eller College of Management Distinguished Speaker Series. Tretton, the father of a UA undergraduate, contacted the university a few months ago to ask if he could be of any assistance, said Nancy Smith, director of Corporate and Business Relations. Opportunities are still in development, but the UA is now a “preferred recruiting institution” for internships, Smith said. Sony activities will take place throughout the week. _

Daily Wildcat: As a UA parent, what do you think of the university and has that influenced your decision to reach out?

Jack Tretton: One of the things that impressed me so much was the tradition. The school is actually older than the state, and you can feel that. There is tradition in everything it does. The school takes education so seriously and that was very important to me, not only in the undergraduate but the graduate programs. The rest of the world would be extremely impressed if they knew as much about the university as I do.

What does it mean for the UA to be a “preferred recruiting institution”?

I think I’ve personally spent more time at UA than any other college since I’ve been in college myself. I’m a fan of the university and everything it represents. Familiarity breeds interest. I’ve seen what a great institution it is. In just the two short years we’ve had our internship program, we’ve had a UA student in the program. It’s a great opportunity for me and my company in particular to have a relationship with such a fine institution.

Are you trying to strengthen that relationship or make it more formal with your visit?

I think this is really the first formal relationship. I’ve kind of been informally involved since my son enrolled three years ago. This is the first formal connection with the university and I hope it’s something that strengthens over time.

Does Sony have any other relationships with universities at this point?

Nothing official. We’re starting to build those more, and want to do more college outreach, but unfortunately, finding time is difficult. Arizona is the first. It may not be the last, but Arizona is the flagship in term of close relationships.

What’s changed in the gaming industry since you started working in it more than 20 years ago?

The industry probably evolves and moves at a quicker pace, in my opinion, than any industry out there. It reinvents itself every year and there are always new challenges.

But like history, it does tend to repeat itself a lot. I’ve seen a lot of cycles since the mid-‘80s. I think the biggest change is it’s gone from being seen as a toy to really something at the heart of mainstream entertainment.

What were some of the main challenges in managing Sony after the April hacking incident?

I think adversity is something everybody faces in their business life. We certainly have had tremendous competition over the years and continue to see people trying to take a bite out of our business. The network outage was the first thing that had a direct impact that we were at a loss to be able to control. We learned some important lessons from that. We shored up security. And I think we learned just how consumers felt about us. We were thrilled that 94 percent of people came back immediately and we’ve been able to add 3 million gamers since then.

What advice do you have for students who want to get involved in the video game field?

Just that having a passion about something is a start. We tend to gravitate toward things that we’re interested in. I’ve found that gaming can be great as a hobby, but it’s also an entrepreneurial industry. I think it requires a lot of creativity in individuals who want to get involved in the industry. I think they should take a close look at what attracts them to the industry and match their skill set to the industry they’re looking to target.

What are employers like Sony looking for?

Creativity, first and foremost. Somebody that’s open to change, open to new ideas. This is an industry that changes on a daily basis, so if you’re not a real malleable person, the volatility in the industry is going to be tough to adjust to.

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