The Playsation Phone IS the PSP2 (And That's Why It Will Succeed)

Despite vehement – if mixed – denials from Sony, it’s hard to believe the long-rumored, much sought-after Playstation Phone is anything but a reality.

After all, those pictures and list of specs certainly seem convincing. Beyond the the fact that the snaps show the trademark buttons and long-rumored touch-pad, it’s also an idea that just makes sense. People have been clamoring after one for so long for a reason.

But may gaming commenters have suggested that the phone will become “a third pillar” in Sony’s lineup: a kind of mobile offshoot that would run alongside the PS3/PS4 and “the real PSP2″.

I don’t buy it. The Playsation Phone will be the PSP2. Sure, there may be a functionally similar model without the phone. But this will be the next portable Playstation.

 

There's No Market for the PSP2

Many hardcore gamers’ response to the Playstation phone has largely been one of ‘neat’, but I want the real PSP2 because I am a gamer and I need real games – a sentiment I totally relate to.

But a question that needs asking is: what’s the market potential for a dedicated games device in 2011? Yes, the Nintendo 3Ds will sell bucketloads – but it’s because of its capacity to appeal to a wide range of people, from young children to working mothers to seniors. There is also the surprisingly well-received 3D screen. It’s again something new that, like the DS, will provide new gameplay opportunities.

But if the PSP2 is simply an upgraded games system, how much market potential exists for it? Mobile gaming is fundamentally shifting because gaming on iOS devices and, soon anyway, Android and other platforms, present a better option. iPhones and Android have even dented the massive the sales of Nintendo’s DS.

And why? Simple: people have a limited amount of time and money. If they have a phone with them that plays something to keep them occupied at the subway station, it’s good enough. Or, at the very least, it’s enough to make someone pause before dropping $249 on a dedicated game device.

Don’t mistake me, however. The games on iPhones of Droids don’t hold a candle to games like God of War or Metal Gear Solid. The point is that, beyond a small audience of hardcore portable gamers, portable games don’t have to be epic or graphically impressive; they just have to be fun and easy to play.

Assuming it simply has better graphics and a similar form factor, what motivation will there be for Sony to spend hundreds of millions on R&D and marketing to put out a device that appeals to a niche audience? The rise of mobile phone gaming has altered the market and has made the idea of a dedicated hardcore system ‘with better graphics’ an economically untenable one.

 

Why The PS Phone is a Better Solution

So, if mobile gaming has altered a great deal – with Nintendo’s DS/3DS being the only standalone that will survive – why would a Playstation phone work where a PSP2 would not? Well, for three reasons:

  1. Multifunction devices have way more market appeal: A device that is both an Android smartphone and a gaming machine has vastly more market appeal than either a standalone smartphone or a gaming system. It appeals to a wide demographic and will inevitably create some new customers. Rather than only appealing to hardcore gamers, a PS Phone would appeal to millions more.
  2. Lust Appeal: Because the phone will also run Android – and notice I said also and not exclusively – it will be accompanied by a big push from Google to push their OS as a gaming platform. It will become a ‘halo phone’ for Android – the droolworthy model that makes the entire platform seem better. People will crave this thing because it will be a compelling all-in-one competitor to the iPhone.
  3. A dedicated Sony Marketplace would  provide a better environment for game developers: Right now, games are tricky on Android because of piracy and a clunky payment system. But Sony do know a think or two about a gaming marketplace (PSN is quite successful after all). But after an awful experience with the PSP and piracy, Sony will work to make their online store as safe for developers as possible. And if it’s good for developers, that will result in more and better games.

So all in all, those hoping for a PSP2 shouldn’t hold their breath. There just isn’t much motivation for Sony to make one. Instead, rather than ‘three pillars’, Sony will likely release this in early 2011 and a phone-less version later in the year. And from a market perspective, it will also be the right thing to do.

Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang
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8 Comments »

 
#1
Basharca
November 3rd, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Dude what you said makes total sense, however, do you have anything to prove it ??

I mean how about saying that the psps2 will be considered as an ipod touch while the ps phone will be considered as the iphone ( ipod touch + games ) so maybe sony is thinking of such thing, or maybe you are right, still we have no evidence and we must way and see to get the final answer.

Thanks for sharing :)

 
 
#2
rajeev
November 11th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

oye Navneet , its playstation and not playsation…. :D

 
 
#3
Satish13
November 11th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Well the PSP-Phone uses google android, therefore not a true successor to the PSP series. Its purpose it to cater the the phone market and have PSN games on the Android market simply to expand its base. (The PSP phones doesn’t have an analog stick, therefore can’t be successor as it can’t play previous titles) But it is no doubt a great way to get people want to game on a phone, its like what nokia tried to do with the N-Gage but this time its actually a recognized system. Because its has PSP “blood” running through it it will do well as a phone that can play “real games” because sony’s approach is to allow the phone function as well as button input for games. IMO it should do well, just not as much as I may hope. But next year Sony will release a true successor, which will be running XMB(hopefully) but will have the option as a phone, and I see a Sony ericsson icon appearing on XMB as well. I’ve done a photoshop of my concept if anyones interested. http://yfrog.com/mqpsp2conceptdiagramj

 
 
#4
C Dawg
November 12th, 2010 at 4:35 am

The author pretty much hit the nail on its head in his prediction. Sony would basically be taking a page out of Apple’s book with the iPhone/iPod touch. However, I believe it will be entirely up to whether Sony and Google can play nice with each other. Surely, if there were to be a “phoneless” version of the PSP2, it would have to be technically identical to its phone counterpart, also running on Android. And as you may already know, Google has historically been sketchy when it comes to supporting all the various third-party Android based devices with equal future firmware releases. Google tried to keep many of the improved features found in Eclair exclusive to their flagship Nexus One handset. If there were to be a marriage between a Sony Android based phone and the PSP2, Sony and Google would have to become best friends. The good news is that friendship is looking like it’s becoming a reality in recent light of the newly launched Google TVs made by, none other than, Sony. Here’s hoping!

 
 
#5
Brutikus
November 12th, 2010 at 5:00 am

The biggest problem Sony must face is the fact that digital media is much (very much) easier to pirate the that from a UMD, CD, DVD, Cartridge, etc. The biggest plus is that Google has been met with the same problem, of piracy, on their Droid phones.

 
 
#6
gamer bud
November 17th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

is this post still on?

 
 
#7
bifdy
November 25th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

i really hope the PSPhone is PSP2! eveything you said makes perfect sense.

something i’ve noticed from engadgets pics is that the back of the PSPhone has been almost entirely obscured! what are they hiding?

my guess (or wish) is that they are covering 2 extra buttons – a new place for the L2 & R2 buttons perhaps – right in the middle of the back of the device – the natural position of your middle fingers when holding the PSP! if it isn’t already implemented, it needs to be!

cant wait for this – i hope it meets my expectations – a TRUE iphone killer!

 
 
#8
keysy
December 7th, 2010 at 12:59 pm

good aricle but you are failling to realize and everyone else who doubts is too. the psp2 hasa huge market and potenail to be the next big thing. i still dont get pacther. imagine the galaxy pad with dual controls and a mini blu-ray slot for disc based games. if you wouldnt buy that your crazy. has anybody thought about the next format for mini disk yeet . im sure sony is. why? becuase peoplea re crazy to think that everyone will trust digital downloads hell somecountries right now wouldnt even be possible to sell your system too. there fore there willbe another handheld before this happens. even with the i pad look at it and where it sells its missing a huge market.

 

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