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Ubisoft: The PSP Is "Directionless"

While the PSP has managed to stage a major comeback and vault into the top position in Japan on a monthly sales basis recently, there are still a few doubters out there. One of them is Ubisoft UK managing director Rob Cooper.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Cooper said he believes the handheld still "lacks direction, with Sony unsure of how to market a machine he sees as overpriced and too technical for the mainstream consumer." Now, we all know about the PSP overhaul - PSP Slim/PSP-2000 - and the fact that two unbelievably great games have already dropped in 2008 (God of War: Chains of Olympus and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII), but according to Cooper, Sony has yet to solidify its plans for the PSP.

"I think that Sony is disappointed with sales and it's unsure as to which way to take it," said Cooper. "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."

We have heard nothing but good news on the PSP front lately, including the distinct possibility that many publishers who had initially abandoned the portable are now returning thanks to better sales. But we can't forget about the casual gaming market - big publishers like Ubisoft never do - and perhaps that's the main reason for Cooper's stand on the issue. He continues-

"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."

Ubisoft currently has no PSP games scheduled for 2008, and while Cooper still believes the system has plenty of potential, he says Sony needs to move the system "out of no man's land." As he says, Sony just hasn't zeroed in on who the PSP consumer really is.

"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."

Well, we're still not agreeing on the whole idea of PSP sales being abysmal; if this were 2007, we'd understand the viewpoint, but ever since the hardware redesign and the arrival of some excellent software, this little handheld has experienced major sales growth. And we do have one question- what is the "direction" of the PS3? It seems that Cooper is putting a lot of emphasis on this from a publisher standpoint, so obviously, Sony has cemented a direction for their home console, but not the portable. This, we remain somewhat confused about, but hey, we kinda get the gist.

6/5/2008 Ben Dutka

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Comments (17 posts)

Dark5tatic
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 10:41:54 AM
Reply

lol like ubisoft is the one to talk. If they keep making games like HAZE their company will be directionless.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:09:52 AM

Ubisoft only published Haze; Free Radical was the developer.

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Bugzbunny109
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:34:18 AM

Dark static, Haze is an excellent game!

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ThePoetRazel
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:07:09 AM
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This is my biggest gripe with Ninty, they are taking the games industry back rather than forward. Simple may be a little more accessible for the lazy types out there who can't be bothered to take a few minutes to understand how to play a great game, but it gives up far too much.

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Bugzbunny109
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:43:09 AM

I agree with poet and i also agree with Rob Cooper. I think that the psp is going no where, i would be glad if sony really did something cool with it, I mean that my psp is just gathering dust because I dont play it anymore. I am on my laptop and ps3 everyday, because they are alot more interesting. Sony should do something that will blow my mind away, like they are doing with the ps3[HOME]. Maybe then they will have good sales. People just buy the DS because it looks fun, but the psp looks plane and simple, if they really changed the look, I bet it will make more sales.

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m2tbo
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:59:10 AM
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Remote play is an incredible feature for PSP. There is nothing technical about games but some of the better functions of PSP take a little bit of time to learn. Since the PS3 came out the PSP has only gotten better and better. You can watch or listen to anything installed on the PS3 hard drive through remote play...heck you can play some games through it(I'm thinking PixelJunk Monsters), or what about Skype capabilities(for PSP-2000)? My only problem is the size since it is hard to use it as a music player when walking around.

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hald
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 12:16:30 PM
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I agree so much with Rob Cooper on this one!
I just sold my psp because I never used it any more. It has been in the inner pocket of my jacket in over a year playing music for hours and it was great but then I got a mobilephone with a simple music-sync-function and forgot my psp.
The whole problem with this machine, I think, is that theres a HUGE lack of games avaible for play.
(Im sure there is some great games out there but i simply will not pay 40£ for a game without knowing if its worth the money.)

Besides the video-function is way to complicated to use. I WISH I could just turn it on and watch movies or rent/buy movies in the playstation store to transfer or stream to my psp.

The browser is SO slow and the psp doesn't have enough RAM to load the most sites I visit.

I could keep writing but you know what I mean.

AND yes, sony should focus on leading the psp in whatever direction they decide, as long as its not 10 different directions!

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WaR_HaWk
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 12:20:46 PM
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I want Mario Kart or just Mario for PsP.

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br0d1n
Wednesday, June 11, 2008 @ 2:27:47 PM

DS :)

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Warukyure [Power User]
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 12:23:31 PM
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I have no idea what this guy is going on about... Sony has no direction for this platform? Since when does Sony shape any of its platforms? Last time I checked third party developers made a console what it really was. If a platform was more RPGish (PS1/PS2), the developers made it that way. If the platform was more shooters and war games(Xbox/360) thats because developers made it that way.

The reason why Nintendo has "direction" for the DS is because they themselves have plenty of first party developers to give others an idea what type of games it is intended for. I'm not saying Sony can't do the same but if you look at Sony's first party developers, they are all diverse, from shooters, to platformers, to even sports games. Sony tries to make games that cater to all tastes, does that make it directionless then?

To sum it all up, like your one to really talk about the PSP, don't bash unless you've ACTUALLY made a game for it, and lets not talk about crap like Chessmaster eh?

(Oh well, not that it matters to me, I only by localized games from japan or in japanese anyways)

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hald
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 12:26:26 PM
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- Warukyure
I don't think you understand.
What i get from this article is that sony dont know if the psp is a; games machine, musicplayer, videoplayer, gps, camera, "ps3-remote" etc. etc..

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ThePoetRazel
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 1:32:47 PM

The reason i love the PSP is that it is all those things you mentioned. The same with the PS3, it's so many much than just a games console.
do you want to carry around a phone and a camera or both in 1? the popularity of camera phones says it all there i think.

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Kiengo
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 12:32:09 PM
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YAY! Warukyure's back! You always have awesome posts, and I enjoy reading 'em. Anyways, I love my psp; I can find any type of game for it that I want, plus I use Remote Play quite frequently... what's not to love? And hald, Yes it is.

Last edited by Kiengo on 6/5/2008 12:34:01 PM

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Warukyure [Power User]
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 3:59:31 PM
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Hey thanks for the bit of confidence Kiengo!

hald: What I don't get is why Ubisoft thinks thats wrong? GPS software? I would get it over TomTom or Garmin. Music Player? Its my backup music in case my batteries die. Video Player? Bigger screen than iPod last time i checked?

If this article was about functionality, then why is Ubisoft the one to question it? They don't make periphirals they are SUPPOSED to make games. He probably can't see that people that own the PSP CAN do more if they want to unlike being locking into just gaming like Nintendo's handhelds.

And if he questions the gaming part then why doesn't get his company in working order and make something instead of complaining?

God of War (Ok, bad example), Crisis Core, Vice City Stories, Liberty City Stories, Monster Hunter, Metal Gear Solid? Tell me that those weren't just blind leaps of faith onto the PSP. No, those were developers that saw it as handheld console that wasn't GIMICK-Y and was GRAPHICALLY SUPERIOR.

All in All, its good games that make the console, not which/what type of console it is or what it can/cannot do.

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Reccaman18
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 4:34:17 PM
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@ rustykidrullz, Mario will never be on the PSP, cause that is made by Nintendo. Thats like Home coming out on the 360.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 4:51:57 PM
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As far as I can tell, Ubisoft is only complaining that the PSP doesn't really cater to the casual gamer. They're trying to hide behind this "directionless" thing. Just because Sony hasn't targeted a very specific demographic or type of gamer with the PSP - like Nintendo does with all its products - doesn't mean they don't have an idea of who wants to buy it.

It's a sleek handheld that should appeal to a wide variety of people, and that's all I can say. It now has the software, it's not too terrible in terms of price, and the PS3/PSP connectivity is only getting better.

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AscientDire
Thursday, June 05, 2008 @ 11:18:19 PM
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Could directionless be considered a good thing? If taking into account Sony might want the PSP to eventually be an all-purpose media device, one might consider this comment a compliment??

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