Sony Computer Entertainment America's senior VP of marketing, Peter Dille, has admitted that the PlayStation Portable has been hit hard by piracy - with as many as 50 million units in the marketplace potentially having been compromised.
"I'm convinced and we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP," Dille told Gamasutra. "It's been a problem that the industry has to address together; it's one that I think the industry takes very seriously, but we need to do something to address this because it's criminal what's going on, quite frankly.
"It's not good for us, but it's not good for the development community. We can look at data from BitTorrent sites from the day Resistance: Retribution goes on sale and see how many copies are being downloaded illegally, and it's frankly sickening. We are spending a lot of time talking about how we can deal with that problem."
The admission comes at a point when Sony is finally giving the handheld platform a significant boost, with a string of key titles set to hit the shelves this year, including Assassin's Creed and MotorStorm - but Dille agreed that older hardware could pose an ongoing problem for genuine software sales.
"Those numbers are correct," he said, referring to the 50 million units. "There's a lot of hardware out there; toothpaste is out of the tube. We're not going to get that hardware back into the toothpaste container.
"I'm not naive, but I do think that most people are inherently honest," he continued. "We learned a lot from the music business, and it became so easy and so common to download illegal music - everyone was doing it. It's almost like people lost sight with the fact that, well, 'If everyone's doing it, then it can't be that bad.'
"But, it actually is bad; it's bad for the platform. Again, I'm not saying that that's a magic wand; I think that we have to make sure from a technological perspective that it's not as easy as it is to do that."
Dille also admitted that the company faced mass desertion from third parties over the PSP, with developers "just about ready to jump off the cliff and pull support for the platform".
Sony's UK MD Ray Maguire recently told GamesIndustry.biz that the company had under-supported the platform, but was happy to see a groundswell of support for the handheld building over the course of this year.