Sales of the PSP might be up more than 280% since the holiday shopping season officially began, but Sony's handheld has experienced plenty of turmoil since its release in March 2005. Many owners are constantly searching the shelves for top-notch games, and others find themselves waiting through inexplicably long loading times. And now, Larry Probst, CEO of Electronic Arts, thinks Sony may issue a second SKU for the PSP. This other code could be a downgraded version of the handheld, which currently retails for $199.99.
In speaking with Newseek, Probst said, "I think the price point needs to be lower, and I think you're going to see that next year, along with a different form factor."
And he doesn't just want a price cut, he wants a drastic cut. He hopes to see Sony cut the price of the handheld by 50%: "I think what moves the needle is a new form factor that's smaller than the existing unit, at a lower price, and hopefully that price is $100 lower."
One complaint that continues to prevail, month in and month out, is that too much of the PSP's library consists of ports of console games, a point Probst says is similar to EA's business model.
"It's more likely that we would target platforms like the PS3, Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii if we had an original in mind. Our strategy on PSP has typically been to take the franchises that we build on other platforms and exploit them on the PSP."
Then again, the CEO does admit there is a flaw in this sales strategy. Responding to a question regarding what will "compel a consumer to buy a portable version of a game they already own on a console," Probst replied-
"I would agree with you that if someone owns Madden on multiple systems already, they're less likely to buy it on PSP. It's true. If you've got Madden on PS2 and Xbox 360, how likely are you to buy it on PSP?"
We have no idea, honestly. Bring on the price cut and the exclusives!