There's plenty of speculation concerning PSP at the moment, so to get up to speed ahead of any announcements at the July E3 Media & Business Summit 2007, Pocket Gamer caught up with Zeno Colaço, vice president of publisher and developer relations at SCEE, during the company's recent DevStation developers conference.
Pocket Gamer: Everyone seems to have different opinions about PSP, so what's you view of the platform, especially compared to DS?
Zeno Colaço: Our performance on PSP has been good but people have tended to compare it to PSone and PlayStation 2, where the hardware was always out of stock. It's a different challenge. We were new to the handheld space. I think Nintendo can take a lot of credit for launching a different type of product for a slightly different consumer and it's done exceptionally well. I think some of the DS games have been fantastic. Where in hindsight we've been short is one or two killer apps that would have been able to drive PSP forward.
What do you think have been the reasons for this?
One of our biggest challenges was PlayStation 2 games could easily be ported to PSP because of the raw processing power of the PSP. We went to all our publishers and developers and said, 'You're not going to set the world alight if you effectively take your PlayStation 2 projects onto PSP'. In reality, that's happened on a lot of early games. Where we have seen successes were games developed specifically for PSP – the GTA games are a classic example.
So looking forward, the PSP business model remains very strong, especially for third-party developers and publishers because the 20:80 Sony model is that 80 per cent of business will come from the games of the thirdparty developers and publishers.
How do you expect to develop the PSP in future?
We now have a credible install base – seven million in Europe, 20 million worldwide – and it's time now to link PSP in with what it can do in conjunction with PlayStation 3 and the network space.
I think the downloadable element of PSP will be a key factor as we move into 2008; connectibility with PlayStation 3 is a key factor. We've soft pedalled this to date, because we had to concentrate on PlayStation 3, but the PlayStation Network isn't just about PS3 going forward.
What about any proposed changes to the hardware?
[Laughs] The technology behind PSP is still top-end and so that doesn't need to be addressed. It's all about showing the power off to its best.
Thanks to Zeno for his time and candor. Keep tracking the latest news on PSP with our dedicated PSP news section.