As part of a new Gamasutra feature interview, The Sony Situation: SCEA's Rob Dyer Speaks, Sony's senior vice president of publisher relations for North America candidly admits the problems the PSP platform faces.
While it still sells extremely well in Japan on a weekly basis, sales in the U.S. have fallen dramatically. More troubling is that software for system almost never shows up anywhere near the top of the charts. The last PSP release to enjoy a top 10 placement on the U.S. NPD Group chart was August 2009's Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Our analysis suggests that DS games currently outsell PSP titles 8 to 1.
Alongside Japanese-developed upcoming hits like Kojima Productions' Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Square Enix's Final Fantasy Agito XIII, as well as the games of EA Sports -- a stalwart that is usually the last to abandon a dying system -- Dyer promises "A lot of the stuff that will be announced at E3 we're very excited about, because they are huge titles."
Dyer freely admits that piracy has had a profound impact on the system: "That's been the biggest problem, no question about it. It's become a very difficult proposition to be profitable, given the piracy right now."
However, he promises that Sony has developed technology which will "slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days... There's some code that you can embed that we've been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent."
Moreover, he says, "the category shrunk inside of retail." However, Sony has turned its attention to that problem as well: "We're going to fix retail. First party has done a great job of getting some campaigns in place to do that."
"We will have a good line-up this year. And hopefully, by virtue of that, we'll carry through to next year as well," says Dyer, not commenting on Sony's handheld plans past this point -- although a PSP 2 has been widely rumored to be in development.
You can read more of Dyer's thoughts -- not just on PSP, but also DLC, working with small PSN developers and major publishers, and the future of the PlayStation Move motion controller -- in Gamasutra's latest feature, The Sony Situation: SCEA's Rob Dyer Speaks, live now.