Ubisoft urges Sony to act on 'directionless' PSP
Handheld lacks strategic direction, is over-priced and too technical, says UK MD
Ubisoft has called on Sony to act quickly to stop publishers abandoning the PSP as a viable format.
Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, UK managing director Rob Cooper has said that the format lacks direction, with Sony unsure of how to market a machine he sees as over-priced and too technical for the mainstream consumer.
"I think that Sony is disappointed with sales and it's unsure as to which way to take it," said Cooper in an interview published today.
"Sony needs to show us a bit more about what its plans are to convince the publisher to invest lots more money into it. Especially when you've got the DS selling at such a tremendous pace.
"I suppose it's almost too technical for the casual person, those that are buying the DS at the moment, who want a few buttons and not a lot more. It's so simple what [Nintendo] has done. That's where I think Sony has gone a little bit too complicated, they've over-specced it, the price is too high and they need to go back to the drawing board and start again," he added.
Cooper doesn't think it's an issue with software pricing, rather Sony hasn't communicated to publishers clearly what direction the machine is going to take in the future.
"I don't think it's a pricing issue," he admitted. "As a publisher I'll always say pricing is not the first point of call. I don't think dropping the price of games is going to sell more product or hardware.
"It's direction, a real strategic decision by Sony as to what it wants to do with that product. It's a great shame that sales are at the level they are, because you've got a hardware system that is absolutely beautiful."
Ubisoft has no games planned for the PSP this year, but Cooper insists the format still has potential, so long as Sony can properly identify its audience and move the system out of "no man's land".
"There are ongoing discussions with Sony about what its decisions and strategies are, how they are going to go forward.
"Certainly, we still see it as a viable format. But we're not developing too many games on it until we get some direction. They've got to decide what they want to do with it, and come out clearly and say, 'this is our strategy, this is our process and this is how publishers can get behind it'."
"At the moment they are in no man's land, they're not sure quite how to tackle the DS competition and who is the PSP consumer. They've got to sort that out first," he said.
The comments come a month after Sony's European president David Reeves admitted to GamesIndustry.biz that the system was suffering from a lack of games.
Although support for the handheld is slowing in Europe and the US, sales of the PSP in Japan continue to rocket. The continued introduction of new colours in the Blume series has boosted sales, with the hardware regularly outselling the Wii in the market.
The full interview with Rob Cooper, where he shares his thoughts on the PSP, the problems with Wii consumers and why this Christmas sales period is going to be "vicious", can be read here.