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Fishlabs cautious of PSPgo opportunities

Sony will find it hard to compete with the iPhone installed base and multiple functionality, says mobile studio head

The PSPgo might be a great gaming platform, but Sony will need to prove it can sell big numbers before new studios will jump on board, according to Michael Schade, CEO and co-founder of leading mobile studio Fishlabs.

"The game experience on PSP is great, no doubt, but Sony has to prove they can sell several million devices first. When Apple launched their App Store they already had about 20 million iPhone and iPod touches sold and we all heard the early success stories. We would have been stupid if we had not embraced this sky rocking platform. PSPgo hasn't launched yet."

Speaking exclusively to, the head of the Hamburg-based company said that although the PSPgo is a technically great device, new high-end games on the iPhone 3GS are fast catching up in terms of performance.

Furthermore, he believes iPhone developers could find competing against high-budget console productions on PSP a tough proposition.

"I wonder how many consumers understand that a mobile game beefed up for PSP, even if it is hardcore stuff like Galaxy on Fire, can hardly be as compelling as a title ported over from PS2 in terms of production value. You could argue it is being sold for a smaller price but consumers are merciless, they demand the most for the lowest price," Schade pointed out.

Sony will find it hard to catch up with Apple, he believes, since the iPhone and iPod already have a massive install base and a store full of games.

Additionally, the iPhone combines two equally strong functionalities - communicating with other people and playing games - while the PSPgo is still primarily a gaming device. "If the iPhone combines both, is always on, always with you, how can you beat that?" questions Schade.

What Sony could offer that iPhone presently doesn't is a more limited, high-production selection of titles to download, however Schade doesn't rule out Apple innovating in a similar way in the future.

"I would not like to be in the driver seat at Sony for the PSPgo. However, the biggest chance for Sony is probably to make sure that high-budget productions pay off by limiting the number of titles on PSPgo. Apple still does not have an answer to this. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't in the future, given the speed of innovation that Apple constantly surprises with."

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