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Finding the Right Fit for PSP

Posted by Aaron on Tuesday, March 27, 2007

IGN PSP sits down with Sony Computer Entertainment’s John Koller for a second interview about Sony’s PSP. Here is a sample:

March 26, 2007 – What is the future of the PlayStation Portable? That was the question IGN posed to some of the brightest and biggest talents who have worked with the game system. It’s going to take technology, skill and vision to keep PSP going at this pace and attract a bigger audience. If there’s a development team out there that thinks it has proven its ability to pull that off, chances are they got a buzz from IGN this week.

In a two-part interview, we talked with John Koller, the Senior Brand Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment. John has been looking at the future of PlayStation Portable from the beginning. He knows the hardware, as he has been instrumental in the positioning and direction of the system. And he knows the games, as John’s history with SCE goes way back to PS one, where he was the Product Marketing Manager for the Syphon Filter series. Our first discussion with Mr. Koller focused on the technical aspects of the PlayStation Portable, while our second exchange of questions talked more about the business model of PSP.

What is the future of PlayStation Portable? You’re about to find out…

:: ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND FUTURE OUTLOOK – Entering into the third year of Sony being in the handheld market, how are you feeling about what Sony Computer Entertainment has accomplished so far with PlayStation Portable and also about what the company and system still have ahead in the coming years?

We’re thrilled about what the PSP platform has accomplished over the past two years in terms of carving out a new space in portable entertainment. No other handheld gaming system can match the PSP’s high-resolution widescreen and its multi-functional features that enable you to watch movies, listen to music, view photos, and surf the Web. Last year we added some new entertainment options such as TiVoToGo, enabling PSP users to watch recorded TV programming wherever, whenever. But the PSP experience remains centered on gaming, and this past year saw the release of major new franchise titles built from the ground up for the PSP system, such as SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 2, Killzone: Liberation, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. For 2007 there will be a lot to get excited about with the PSP system, and we expect interest from both current owners and non-owners to surge.

:: PLATFORM WAR – Sony said back when it was about to launch PlayStation Portable that the “Platform War” between PSP and DS wasn’t exactly the company’s concern, that the DS was going after a different crowd and that each system would find and fight for its own audience. Of course, that was early on — before Nintendo pushed DS to become such a phenom and sales magnet. Is SCE feeling the need to fight head-to-head at this point, or does PSP still live and breathe on what it alone is able to accomplish?

Gamers want to pit the PSP against the Nintendo DS, but both are good for gamers, and both will have to contend with iPhone, game-carrying cellphones, portable video players and more vying for your attention.

The PSP is unique in that it doesn’t have one direct competitor, but competes with several portable entertainment systems on different flanks, whether it’s gaming, videos, or music. Nintendo has done a great job with DS. Our concern is making PSP the best portable gaming and entertainment experience for consumers, and we’re already delivering on that today.

:: UNIQUE PSP DEVELOPERS – One of the interesting developments with the PSP’s history is that a number of members from huge development teams have spun off to concentrate on PSP game design — chief amongst these are Ready at Dawn, High Impact and BigBig. Was this a concerted effort on Sony’s part to double up its teams, or was this just lucky timing that these crews went out on their own and found their way to Sony’s door?

SCEA has certainly benefited from the natural progression of developers branching off to create new studios. The three studios you mentioned leveraged years of great experience working on some of the biggest console titles to create their PSP games, and it’s worked out well for them, when you look at titles like Daxter, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters and Pursuit Force. The PSP is a compelling platform for them because it offers a lot of creative freedom, and the results can equate to high-quality, console-like games that can be played on the go.

To read the rest of the two page interview click here.


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