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Hirai confirms PSP2 touch controls

Sony games boss dismissive of Apple but cautious over PSP phone

Touch controls have been confirmed for the successor to the PlayStation Portable, with Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai discussing the device in a new interview.

Speaking to The New York Times Hirai commented that, "Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel."

"But you can definitely play immersive games better with physical buttons and pads. I think there could be games where you're able to use both in combination," he added - in what may be a reference to Sony's ongoing argument that PlayStation Move's physical buttons allow for greater variety in gameplay than rival Kinect.

Rumours of a PSP successor have been ongoing for several months, with most pointing towards a track pad on the back of the device - although some rumours mention a touchscreen display on the front as well. A recent patent application made by Sony also describes a rear-mounted touch-sensitive panel.

Most descriptions of the prototype devices, which are believed to already be in the hands of developers, also describe two analogue sliders instead of just one.

Elsewhere in the interview Hirai was dismissive of competition from other mobile formats, saying: "The games being played on Android and Apple platforms are fundamentally different from the world of immersive games that Sony Computer Entertainment, and PlayStation, aims for."

Hirai also acknowledged rumours of a PlayStation-branded smartphone, believed to be based on current PSP technology. Despite leaked images being in wide circulation, Hirai was concerned at the dangers of confusing customers over which device to buy.

"We don't want gamers to be asking, what's the difference between that and a PSP," he said. "We have to come up with a message that users will understand. It would have to be a product that keeps the PlayStation's strengths intact."

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