We're all looking forward to a great year for the PSP, which has recently surpassed the 50 million mark worldwide and can definitely use some top-notch software to continue its surge. We'll see the handheld adaptation of LittleBigPlanet and MotorStorm: Arctic Edge for starters, and then there's the distinct possibility that Ready at Dawn is preparing a new God of War title.
Even so, Sony's senior vice-president and marketing director for the UK and parts of Europe admitted to letting the PSP slide too far in the recent past. According to a recent GamesIndustry.biz interview, Maguire attributes this to the amount of effort invested into getting the PlayStation 3 off the mat early on, which is understandable. Said Magure:
"It was slightly under-supported, mainly because a lot of the energy was going into stuff we're doing for PlayStation 3. There was an added complication in that the UMD model wasn't brilliant for third parties, either. But I think as the installed base has grown – we're now at 50 million globally – the PSP has become one of the best-selling formats ever, and I think people are seeing that they need to get back into it. I think we had a bit of a barren year last year, and this year we seem to have a bumper crop."
As Sony didn't really give the PSP enough attention, retailers treated the handheld in much the same way. This isn't something Sony wants to have happen, so in this new push to solidify the PSP's place in the market, Maguire says that retailers are beginning to come around and that they have confidence in 2009.
"Retailers are looking at it as well, realising that they haven't supported it as much as maybe they might have done, and they're also thinking about how we almost reintroduce the PlayStation Portable into the market place, with the confidence that we should have had last year, but didn't. We do have that confidence this year – many things are happening with the PSP. The online side of it is developing nicely, and there are clearly lots of great games for it this year, but also we're introducing new colours – so it starts to become much more desirable for a wider range of consumers."
If you'd like to read Part Two of the interview, feel free; Maguire has some very interesting things to say. For the most part, we absolutely agree that the PSP was under-supported, although we wonder why – if extra focus on the PS3 was the culprit – we didn't see more in the way of PS3 advertising… Well, whatever. Let's just hope the PSP continues to rise, because there are plenty of ardent fans out there, and a bunch of great software on the horizon.