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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 talks PSP to MTV: reveals US GPS plans, downloadable PSP games, and the fate of Dark_Alex


Sorry, Colin! The headline simply can't reveal how many small details were revealed in Stephen Totilo's incredibly extensive interview John Koller for MTV News. In the interview Koller revealed that all upcoming PSP games developed by Sony will take advantage of the system's full 333MHz speed, with no negative impact to battery life. Other accessories for the US include the upcoming GPS peripheral, which is currently being "tweaked" with an expected release in the next 10-12 months. The PSP camera "may get a spec change" before coming to America -- but the TV tuner will never make its way to the US.

Bringing downloadable games to PSP is one of the next things to tackle for Sony. echochrome was originally meant to be a downloadable PSN game for PSP, but it became much larger than anticipated. "It was initially going to be a download-service-only game," Koller said. "We changed it to a UMD because it's a very rich game. That's where their mind is. They're developing that kind of game." Thankfully, other downloadable PSP games are in the works. When can we expect them? In the next six to eight months.

In regard to the homebrew scene, Koller says that there were no talks between Sony and Dark_Alex, saying that "I think he's taking a hiatus." For even more, please visit MTV News for more.

More PSP "exclusive titles" remain unannounced

E3 is right around the corner, and Sony's getting the PSP ready for the big show. In a great interview with GameDaily, John Koller, senior marketing manager for PSP, had a couple of key things to say. Of particular note is his response to what he thinks the key titles of PSP later this year:

"There are a number of exclusive titles coming from a third-party perspective, but without getting into all of those since many are unannounced, I think the three big games for PSP are Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (again, a fantastic game), SOCOM: Tactical Strike (a huge franchise for us on the first-party side) and then God of War."

We're excited as-is by the upcoming PSP library, but to think that even more exclusives are coming is tantalizing. We were surprised by Star Wars Battlefront becoming a PSP-exclusive ... could any more big hitters be coming our way? Read the full interview at GameDaily for more info on the PSP/DS war, UMD sales, and more on why this is the "year of the PSP."

Koller says UMDs "always been a steady growth"


Senior Marketing Manager John Koller has had a lot to say about PSP in the past few days. The system, which is now two years old, has seen its share of successes and problems. One undeniable truth has been the lackluster sales of Sony's proprietary movie format, the UMD. Although the format is considered dead by most, Koller claims that the format has "always been a steady growth."

The problem with UMDs, he notes, is the inappropriate selection of movies in its catalog: "There hasn't been the drop off that's been reported. The movies that have had some selling problems, quite honestly would in any environment, are the ones that weren't targeted against that 16-24 year old demo, or even now as we get a little bit younger the 13-24 year old demo. They're not looking for the older catalog late 70s early 80s kind of movies. A lot of them weren't alive then."

Looking at the top UMD movies (pictured, above), it's clear that successful UMD movies target a very specific demographic. However, considering the scarcity of movies in our weekly PSP releases, it's clear that the format is not experiencing the "growth" that Koller is hinting at. There's more to read at Game Informer, but note that the interview reiterates many points that we covered at GDC.

GDC 07: Less than 15% of PSP owners have a DS


John Koller, Senior Marketing Manager, revealed an interesting internal statistic in last night's blogger panel: according to his research, only 11-14% of PSP owners have a DS. Although the system may be selling less than Nintendo's dual screened portable, it's clear that Sony's device is targeting a completely different market from Nintendo.

"We're not just competing against Nintendo," Koller explained. The platform has to compete against the iPod, the Zune, and a plethora of other multimedia devices. When asked how Sony will attempt to differentiate their offering even further, Koller simply smiled and hinted that the XMB will become much more fleshed out in the coming months.

Zune & its impact on PSP's identity crisis

Rocky Mountain News recently sat down with senior marketing manager and friend John Koller about the current state of the PSP, and how it faces an identity crisis. "We looked at (the PSP)... as a strong portable game system with multifunctional limbs... It's still a gaming system at its heart." The article notes that Sony wanted to highlight the games of the system first and foremost, and with an excellent library of launch games, the gaming critics and community at large embraced the handheld.

However, with a lack of consistent high-profile original games for the system, many PSP users demanded the media functions of the system to be up to snuff. With the failure of UMDs, and cumbersome media restrictions, the PSP has failed to reinvent itself as a defining media platform as well: "The PSP consumer has turned out to be a different consumer in many ways than what we have targeted," Koller admits. By focusing on firmware upgrades, the upcoming GPS and camera peripherals, Sony has a chance to redefine itself. Some other highlights of the article include:
  • As mentioned before, Sony is working on a DRM that can deliver video and music to the system. They are considering how to deliver content, whether it be through Connect, or even a third-party service.
  • "Future iterations of the PSP are likely, Koller said, but Sony is counting on the current version to be around for 10 years, much like their consoles. Sony typically releases a new console about every five years, while continuing to support previous models for another five years."
  • While Nintendo will be Sony's direct competitor, Microsoft's upcoming Zune appears to worry Sony. "I am assuming, we are assuming, that the Zune will eventually have game play," Koller predicts. He expects Zune to have "a huge impact" on the industry.
[Thanks steve, Via Kotaku]




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