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Sony's Koller ignores holiday 2008, promises better 2009

"I think going into next year we're going to see significant growth. We're counseling retail to be ready for it. We have a number of very strong franchise games on the docket that will be launching next year," John Koller responded to Edge's troubling report on the decline of PSP software. "We haven't gone public with those, and many third-parties have not yet either because they're concentrating on holiday, but we have a number of very strong titles coming."

While we understand that many of these unannounced titles may be far off from now, we're a bit saddened to see Sony (and their third party partners) remain so secretive about the upcoming 2009 lineup. Right now, it appears Sony is abandoning holiday 2008 altogether. How will they drum up support for the handheld this Christmas season, when they've shown no guarantees of what will be available in the coming months? Sony -- it's time to stop playing the same ol' game of secrecy. Now, when your customers are losing faith in your system, is when you should bypass the typical product marketing schedule -- and you give us something to get excited about.

PSP Brite battery life will decrease by 20-30 minutes

PSP main man John Koller went to Gamespot to talk about the upcoming PSP Brite, and revealed a few key facts. He admits the change is "minor," one in a continuing series of changes the PSP may see along its proposed life cycle. Most revealing of all is his comment about battery life: the brighter screen will draw more power, diminishing battery life by 20-30 minutes.

He does say that the now-discontinued extended life battery will make a return, possibly rebranded for use with the PSP-3000 series.

Next wave of PSP announcements coming 'before E3'

While the PSP managed a respectable showing at E3, with surprise titles like Super Stardust Portable and Resistance Retribution coming out of nowhere -- it certainly felt like a meager lineup compared to Sony's other system, the PS3. With the drought of PSP games still going strong, one has to wonder: is that it? PSP's main man, John Koller, assures PSP fans that there are third-party games in the works -- in fact, some will even debut this year. The next wave of PSP announcements will come before next year's E3 ... but we'll have to be patient.

Koller tells MTV Multiplayer that "going towards the end of the year and going into 09 and beyond, we're going to see a lot of very large franchise games come from third-parties," he said. "They're going to be a bit of a surprise, they're going to be like 'Wow, that's coming to PSP?'"*

* Image is a joke. Just think about it.

GPS games could be heading your way next year

It only took, y'know years, but American PSP owners will be able to enjoy GPS navigation some time next year. Not only will the platform support navigation and maps, as expected, but John Koller wants to offer something a bit more. SCEA is investigating game development which can take advantage of GPS technology. Koller told MTV Multiplayer the upcoming peripheral "changes the dynamics of GPS but also changes the way developers think about games on PSP because you can start integrating GPS into it." According to Koller, Sony will introduce the GPS solution to third party publishers and is currently brainstorming ideas within its first-party studios. "There's been a number of things that our first-party worldwide studios have looked at, and they've been trying to look at different options," he said.

Koller promises more first and third party games, less ports

It's undeniable that the PSP is in the middle of a serious software drought. Even John Koller, PSP's main marketing man in America, acknowledges that. Why the sudden drop of games, after the successful launches of games like God of War: Chains of Olympus and Crisis Core? It's simple -- PSP wasn't performing too well earlier in its life cycle, and developers have only recently woken up to the incredible potential of the PSP as a platform. "I think what you're seeing is the result of decisions made 18 months ago, a development cycle ago when hardware sales weren't as strong as they are now and we were shifting demographics from that older, professional consumer to the teen group. There was kind of a little bit of a lull in hardware sales 18 to 20 months ago; you're seeing the results today from those decisions back then."

Since then, Koller and the Sony team has been going on a publisher "road show," and according to Koller, their efforts to envigorate the PSP development community has been successful. "Our worldwide studio team is actively developing titles for that platform and we've been on a road show amongst every, major third-party publisher -- which we actually just finished last week -- and have been talking to them about really how to publish on the PSP, and the level of excitement is really palpable."

When can we expect new game announcements? Well, that's up to each publisher. However, Koller promises that "we're going to see a very good lineup of quality franchise titles coming over to the PSP that are really unique." In fact, "you're not going to see many ports anymore, and I think that's good." We'd agree.

Read the complete interview at IGN.

Ten year life cycle for PSP, promises Koller

Three down ... seven more to go?

Sony has often touted the PlayStation brand as a long-living one. The PS1 had a lengthy life cycle, and the PS2 still goes strong today. Many thought Sony's claim that PS3 would have a ten year life cycle was a joke -- but considering Sony's track record with the PS2, we wouldn't be surprised to see Sony go for such an ambitious plan.

How will PSP remain a 10 year product? FIrmware updates and hardware revisions will undoubtedly keep the system fresh for years to come. In spite of the release of the redesigned PSP-2000, original PSP owners are still able to access many new features, and can still play all new games. John Koller told IGN: "We've talked about the PSP being a 10 year product, but a 10 year product in the continued... how can I put this... in the continued lifecycle, so we obviously had the 1000, we have the 2000, so the PSP as it was first launched in March 2005 isn't going to the be the PSP that it ends up as in 10 years"

John Koller talks about the PSP turning 3 and what's to come

As you all know, the PSP turned 3 years old recently -- and Sony's John Koller sat down with Game Informer and talked about what's in store for the PSP now. Obviously Koller gleefully explains this has been the best year for the PSP yet, thanks to the varied games released as well as a slimmed design and price drop. He expects the fourth year of the PSP to continue this momentum.

He goes on to say how it's a unique marketing proposition due to its multiple functions in addition to being a gaming device as well as some unexpected upgrades to the handheld, like Skype support. It's consumer demand in action! A big emphasis for the coming year is more Remote Play with the PS3. We're excited to see where that goes, too. Some elements, like watching TV on the PSP can work in Japan, Koller says, but aren't possible in the US. We assume it's because we've got pretty sour bandwidth across the nation.

We can also expect some updates on a video download service for the PSP, a GPS system, camera, keyboard, original games as well as new entries of respected franchises, and of course, a few secret cards we can't know about until closer to E3. In all, it seems the PSP is shaping up to have an interesting fourth year and we're excited to see where it goes.

[Thanks, Joe!]

John Koller explains how to use Skype

From Crackle: Skype on the PSP

There are some confusions on how to run Skype on the PSP. Many fans are unfamiliar that the PSP headset will work with Skype (but make sure you have the PSP remote control as well!). See how the program works on the handheld in this comprehensive video from PSP's main marketing man at SCEA, John Koller.

Focus on new firmware, PC Store and UMD movies part of PSP future

The PSP Man, aka John Koller, spoke with 1UP at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There, he had a chance to talk about what's planned for PSP in 2008. With the success of the PSP-2000, Sony has no immediate plans to introduce a new hardware model for the PSP. Makes sense. Rather, new firmware updates are key to the company's vision of the handheld's future. "In the near future, it's going to be all firmware update additions. If we add anything, it'll be through firmware updates."

The PC Store will continue growing throughout the year, but don't expect the ability to purchase content directly from the PSP any time soon. "We're concentrating more on the PC right now. We're using the kind of TiVo-to-go model, where before you leave on your trip, you download a bunch of stuff and you bring it with you on the go. That'll be the way it is moving forward for the foreseeable future"

Finally, UMD movie will make a comeback as SCEA tries to deliver content on their own terms. The company will be actively promoting titles with the full backing of SCEA's marketing division. "We, actually, at SCEA, we're going to be launching our own titles, as well, so we have a deal that we're going to be launching some studio titles on our own."

For more, read 1UP's complete interview.

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