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Sony's Yoshida: PS3 Focus Caused PSP Neglect

Sony's Yoshida: PS3 Focus Caused PSP Neglect

November 2, 2009 | By Staff

November 2, 2009 | By Staff
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As Sony Computer Entertainment focused its time and resources on launching and supporting its flagship PlayStation 3, the company let first-party game support for the capable PSP fall by the wayside, admitted Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida in a recent Gamasutra interview.

"We look at all the titles we are working on and try to see if there are any holes or areas where our focus isn't enough," the Sony Worldwide Studios head said as part of a larger interview.

He commented regarding the first-party internal development studios that he commands, from Sony Santa Monica (God Of War franchise) through Sony Japan Studios, working on The Last Guardian, and the Singstar-focused Sony London:

"A couple of years ago we clearly put too much focus on PS3 titles and that caused a lack of support for the PSP last year. So we need to be focused and gear a lot of our resources back to the PSP, and we have many titles this year."

Yoshida added, "We are continuing to support the PSP. We didn't announce new titles at [Tokyo Game Show 2009], but in the near future we'll have some announcements."

Sony Computer Entertainment America reflected a renewed focus on its handheld platform in February this year, announcing a lineup of games and software bundles that included announcements of PSP versions of LittleBigPlanet, Assassin's Creed and Rock Band. Last month, the company introduced the UMD-less PSP Go and launched a large slate of downloadable PSP games on the PlayStation Store in an ambitious digital distribution experiment.

Today, games like Rock Band and Monster Hunter Portable take advantage of the handheld's wi-fi connectivity. But when the PSP first emerged at Sony, it was the hardware's graphical capabilities that got execs the most excited -- and that excitement may have been misguided, Yoshida commented.

"We were excited about the PSP when the hardware was first disclosed to us," recalled Yoshida. "That was the old days of SCE -- it was a finished design when we discovered it. But because of the performance and the clarity of the display screen, etcetera, we were excited that we could make real 3D, PS2-like games for this small device."

He continued, "But we were not critical enough about what more could be done. Initially we were so ecstatic to have these full 3D games, but after a while, you start to realize, 'Hmm... maybe we can play these games on the larger screens and larger consoles,' especially if it's a PS3 franchise."

Yoshida concluded, pointing to some PlayStation Portable successes: "One thing the PSP has from the beginning is the Wi-Fi connectivity, and the titles that best took advantage of that have been the most successful like Monster Hunter Portable from Capcom. It was originally on the console, but it really thrived on the PSP because it's a cooperative game and it's much better to have people playing together and talking about it on a portable, it really works well with the lifestyle of Japanese especially. That's the example of an innovative game, even if the franchise started on PS2 -- but it thrives on the PSP and has had massive success."


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