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Patent reveals touchscreen handheld device from Phil Harrison

Panajev2001a from the NeoGAF forums has discovered a series of patents that point to a new handheld device from Sony. The patents, filed in January, refer to a "hand-held device with touchscreen and digital tactile pixels." The patent is assigned to Sony Computer Entertainment America, and the inventor is credited to be Phil Harrison, former head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios.

This patent could describe the next PSP (or PSP Phone). However, it could take years for anything to surface after a patent filing. Some patents (like this one) haven't seen the light of day. With a touch screen and motion sensing capabilities, whatever this new device is will be able to match the functionality of devices like the iPhone. Intriguing. Can't wait to find out more.

[Thanks, Noshino!]

Japan readies for God of War by throwing party

God of War: Chains of Olympus is on its way to Japan on July 10. To help get the game into the minds of PSP gamers -- and peel them away from Monster Hunter -- a special event was held last Friday in Tokyo. There were 15 booths where people could try out the game, tons of free swag such as keychains and t-shirts, and specially crafted drinks made from goat blood, harpy milk, and cyclops sweat were served. Japanese hip-hop group YOU THE ROCK★ was also around to keep things lively. See photos of the event here.

As Chains of Olympus devs Ready at Dawn have let their sun set on the PSP, this summer's release for Chains will be the final game on the system from the crew. In that respect, this event was not only the celebration for kicking off the PSP God of War game in Japan, but also, an unintentional farewell. We only hope the game does well in Japan because it really deserves the love.

Pre-order Secret Agent Clank, get bonus figurine

Secret Agent Clank won't be out until three weeks from now -- specifically on June 17 -- but SCEA wants to make sure you've already put down a fiver for the new adventure. What are they doing that will make you want to part with precious money before actually getting the game? Well, you'll be getting a nice Clank figurine all decked out in his secret agent robo-tuxedo. So if you're planning on picking this title up, then pre-order from Gamestop (and Gamestop only apparently) and you can grab this free bonus item for yourself.

Watch this Secret Agent Clank video interview

So Ratchet is in prison, Quark is taking on bosses, and Clank is wearing the nice James Bond threads. Looks like High Impact Games is having some good old fun with the characters in this one. So what exactly is going on in Secret Agent Clank? If you haven't been clued in yet or have forgotten the info from our countless interviews and hands-on from the past, then watch this Gamespot video interview with design director Lesley Mathieson. Included in the video, you'll see an interesting scene involving Ratchet, some shots of Quark in battle, and of course more Clank and his gadgetry.

Make sure you hit those back links, too; there's a lot to read up on this game. Secret Agent Clank is expected to hit retailers by June 17.

Daxter plushie is incredibly adorable

What an adorable Daxter plushie. It's so cute you just want to grab it and squeeze the life out of the thing. It's a really sweet ode to the weasel-like hero. In case you're wondering, this cuddly little snuggle toy was made by Deviant Art member Chao-Fangirl. We wonder if she'll make us one of her plushies. Maybe she will ... if we ask really nicely.

[Thanks Max! Via That Girl's Site]

SCEA is best reviewed publisher of 2007

SCEA has had a rather stellar lineup of games in 2007. On PS3, gamers were treated to titles, such as Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank. On PSP, gamers could enjoy Syphon Filter and Jeanne d'Arc. Even the PS2 got some love, with God of War II and some strong ports of PSP titles. Sure, it's had it's share of stinkers (what publisher doesn't?), but it managed to best the industry with the most critically acclaimed lineup of the year.

Next-Gen's Matt Matthews sorted through GameRankings data in order to gather his findings. What was undoubtedly a tiresome process becomes a fascinating read. Notice the incredible absence of prolific publishers, such as Ubisoft and Midway on this chart? Why? They're pretty far down the list.

Phil Harrison, who is moving from Sony Europe to Atari, will have quite a task at hand. Atari currently stands with a 55.5% average. We wonder if Harrison's Atari will be able to compete against the offerings of Sony and its various Computer Entertainment first-party divisions. We doubt it.

[Via Joystiq]

Rumor: Patapon Spin-off?

According to EGM's Quartermann, their top guy for all things rumorlicious, something "Patapon-related" will be popping up on the PlayStation Network. It seems that this unique rhythm game might actually be getting some sort of spin-off.

Patapon has barely just been released in the west and already we're hearing rumblings of a sequel or a spin-off. Hey, we're not complaining; we're just a little surprised. It would be nice to have another Patapon game, little eye people and all.

[Via 1UP]

Let's take a look at echochrome plus

Here's the thing: Sony Computer Entertainment America hasn't actually picked up the PSP version of echochrome for the US. We're pretty sure they will in due time, but just in case they don't, you can still enjoy the puzzles in English.

Sony Computer Entertainment Asia is releasing the game on PSP with the title echochrome plus, which has language options of both Chinese and English. Or Mandarin and English. Whatever is more appropriate sounding. This version comes out around the same time as the game's debut in Japan -- March 19th. So if you don't hear any localization buzz, feel free to get your import on.

MTV and SCEA team up to bring back UMD

It's not dead! Sort of. Sony Computer Entertainment of America and MTV have announced a collaboration to bring new UMD movies to store shelves. In fact, they should be available now. "Jackass," "Beavis & Butt-head," and "Aeon Flux" are all available for $14.99 (MSRP) beginning this week.

"This collaboration with MTV is a key first step in meeting the needs of our consumers, who are utilizing PSP as a video player more than ever and are thirsting for more content, particularly short-form videos," said Phil Rosenberg, senior vice president of sales and business development, SCEA in a press release. "MTV's programming is hugely popular, and SCEA can utilize our internal resources to appropriately manage the publishing and distribution of these hit shows on UMD. This demonstrates our commitment to supporting the UMD video format by delivering what consumers want to watch at the right price. SCEA will continue to license movie, TV, and other video content, leveraging our sales and marketing strengths, as a strategic focus moving forward.

The price is certainly nice, and this is planned to be the first of a growing library of UMD movies to release in the future. Does the $15 price make you want to bite? We'll see how consumers respond.

Gallery: MTV on UMD

Sony bans homebrew talk from its official forums

After months (nay, years) of homebrew chatter on Sony's very own PlayStation Forums, it appears that Sony is finally cracking down. With the launch of the PSP-2000 at hand, it appears that Sony wants people to become oblivious to the world of homebrew, due to system security and piracy concerns. "Homebrew applications void the warranty of the PSP®(PlayStation®Portable) system, and an official area to discuss such activities cannot be provided by SCEA. Any postings that are clearly homebrew-related, such as those providing instructions on downgrading firmware updates, will be removed from this board ... Any posting found to be in violation of this policy is subject to an immediate deletion. Members who continue to violate this policy may be subject to an immediate ban from this community, or other disciplinary actions as determined by the community Administrators."

It looks as though Sony is serious about wiping out homebrew, at least on its own turf. Boo! We were going to start a homebrew column here on PSP Fanboy. Does that mean we'll get in trouble from Sony?

[Via Games Radar]

Dave Karraker leaves Sony Computer Entertainment America

Dave Karraker, current Senior Director of Corporate Communications, is leaving SCEA. In an e-mail sent to members of the press, Karraker stated "I am saddened to leave such a great group of people, but I have been presented a global opportunity near my home in an industry where I have previous experience that I feel I must pursue." His position with the company ends this Friday. He will be moving on to Skyy Spirits.

We at PSP and PS3 Fanboy are saddened to see you go, Dave. You've been so incredibly helpful in providing the answers that our readers have been looking for, and we wish the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Joystiq interview confirms Home amibitions for PSP

At E3, we had a chance to talk to SCEA Senior Vice President Philip Rosenberg and John Koller, Senior Marketing Manager of the PSP. We talked to these two Sony executives to find out more about Home, possible PSP integration with Home, the redesign, and more.

When John was asked why PSP integration with Home wasn't on display at Sony's press conference, he noted that "It's absolutely roadmapped. It's certainly on the agenda. I think the point of the cell phone was just to show you can bring other products into play. But the PSP is certainly roadmapped at this point. Like Phil was saying, it's all about bringing together the PlayStation portfolio of products together and using them the right way with Home."

Thankfully, Philip Rosenberg was able to give us a few hints at things to come. "But being able to access leaderboards, or community, or find out which of your friends are in Home, or in-game via hotspot, I think is realistic. As far as timing? I think that there's more to come."

To read the complete interview, visit Joystiq.

Level 5 answers a few easy questions on Jeanne d'Arc

SCEA recently lobbed a few softball questions for Level 5, the talented team behind Jeanne d'Arc, a title we've had our eye on for some time now. The questions ranged from asking how long the game has been in development [2 years] to describing the overall world and story behind the game. The full interview has been included for your reading pleasure, after the break.

New details on the combat system are given, which imply importance on stance and character position in order to maximize combat skills. One of the combat particulars "Burning Aura," deals additional damage by trapping enemies between two playable characters whereas "Unified Guard" involves lining up your characters side by side to lessen the blow of damage from bad guys. We're already hooked, how about you? Anyone else got this one on your immediate radar? Jeanne d'Arc should be hitting stateside in August.

Continue reading Level 5 answers a few easy questions on Jeanne d'Arc

SCEA admits PSP needs a few killer apps to motor sales

In the tell-us-something-we-don't-already-know department, SCEA's chief financial officer Robert Wiesenthal admitted software potential has been lackluster, and is considered to be slowing PSP hardware sales. "Clearly on the software side, any real killer title will galvanize the sales," he said. This mirrors similar thoughts from Hiroshi Kamide, director of the research department at KBC Securities Japan, who believes the PSP hardware is stellar while the compelling reason to own one is not. "Most of the software is knock-offs of PlayStation 2 titles and that won't do Sony any favours," he says. We tend to agree, which could explain why some of us are so smitten with the refreshing game play in one of the PSP's newest releases, Crush.

Compelling reasons to own a PSP are definitely coming. For those that haven't yet seen our coverage of the recent Sony Gamers Day (SGD '07), we implore you to take a peek behind the curtain of planned content. This summer should prove even more rewarding for RPG fanatics with the Final Fantasy I and II remakes, Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics, Jeanne d'Arc and much more. It would seem developers have been already working on a solution to a problem Sony is, just now, admitting to. Better late than never, we suppose. So lets get that ball of content rolling!

Designer gives inspiration for LocoRoco, hints at sequel ideas

Offering a peek into his inspiration for LocoRoco, designer Tsutomu Kouno once again touched base on its concept, design and production during a presentation at the Nordic Game Conference in Sweden. Fearing a "scolding," he didn't give too much away, though he did cite nature documentaries and the animal behavior of his pet fish as inspiration for some of the characters. I wonder what kind of game we'd be playing if he had a sloth as a pet?

LocoRoco was the first game he worked on alone and wasn't initially approved on its first or second presentation. Only when a demo was shown on the third attempt did LocoRoco's approval come through. We can only imagine how frustrating those attempts at describing game play would have been on a mere PowerPoint presentation. As far as the sequel is concerned, Tsotomu Kouno said the sequel would contain, "new game play based on physical calculation and crowd AI" amidst other surprises. Ideally, the "use of color and music" is the central focus for the series, attempting "to create the fun and dramatic atmosphere of a live musical." Sounds great, as long as we don't end up playing Chicago: The Game Based on The Movie Based on The Play. Personally, we welcome new ideas, but prefer more the same game play that made LocoRoco so unique. It it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

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