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Sony set for "big push" on PSP downloadable games

SCEA's John Koller reveals plans for UMD/PSN simultaneous launches

Sony Computer Entertainment America's director of hardware marketing, John Koller, has revealed that one of the company's "big pushes this year" will be downloadable games for the PlayStation Portable.

And he also outlined plans to release digital versions of key games alongside the UMD launches - a move which might spell the end for the proprietary format which has proven unpopular with retailers.

"Holistically, the idea of digital distribution fits into the world as we go forward," Koller told Wired. "Not to say that retail isn't of extreme importance, because it is. But the idea of offering content to consumers, to make it easy, you can wake up in the morning, download something and go, it's very appealing.

"So one of our big pushes this year is to be sure that the right kind of content and the right kind of games in particular are placed on the PlayStation Network for download on the PSP.

"We've been engaged in a wide range of conversations with publishers over the last year, year and a half about software and games overall on the PSP. One significant topic that hasn't necessarily been covered a lot is inclusion of digital copies of the games that they're launching on UMDs.

"In the back half of this year, we should see a good rise in the amount of content that comes to PSN for the PSP. We're aware that most of the content thus far has been for PlayStation 3, and that's based on the usage model and who has been demanding that content. But as we continue, and there's more of a desire from the consumer for PSP content, we're going to really increase the size and amount of content that's available."

And when asked about the timeframe for new titles, Koller noted that a number of titles recently announced were set for release in the latter part of 2009, and that "marrying those launches with the digital versions of those launches obviously makes development sense".

"We haven't really decided how the timetable will work on launches that are digital versus retail, but we are looking at digital versions of the games that launch on UMD, yes," he said in response to a question specifically noting PSP editions of LittleBigPlanet and MotorStorm.

Koller's comments echo those made recently by Sony's UK MD Ray Maguire, who told GamesIndustry.biz that downloads would "increasingly become a bigger part of [the PSP's] future."

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