Angry Robot

PSP, the Aimless Drifter?

What’s up with the PSP? Is it riding the boxcars, bindle on shoulder, swilling rat whisky? Recently an article cropped up titled Ubisoft Urges Sony to Act on Directionless PSP, claiming publishers are abandoning the platform since Sony can’t provide a clear direction. Sky is falling! Except the quote comes from Ubi’s UK managing director, and yes, sales are weak in Europe. But they are far from weak in Japan, where the PSP regularly outsells the Wii. In April in North America, the PSP sold more than the PS3 and Xbox 360 (although they all lagged far behind both Nintendo platforms).

More interesting, perhaps, is this article, which spells out Sony’s, er, direction for the platform, while also filling in some of its background:

When Sony first launched the PSP it had targeted mostly professionals, 28 to 40 years old, who would take it to work every day on subways, trains and taxis. Since then, the purchase demographics have slowly evolved, getting younger and younger, said John Koller, Sony Computer Entertainment PSP senior marketing manager.

The audience has also become more multi-ethnic, with heavy use among urban teens, 15 to 16 years old, from Hispanic, African-American and Asian communities.

That said, Sony seems to have trouble making up their mind about what direction to take. At one point “Sony’s forthcoming marketing efforts will start to put more emphasis on women,” but then the big marketing pushes will include the God of War bundle, a NFL film bundle and a GPS add-on, which are hardly things women are clamouring for. It does seem that emphasizing the system’s non-game functions distinguishes it from the DS, but then that’s hardly the sort of thing that will make game industry folk like Mr. Ubisoft very happy. Oh well.

Bottom line: the system is doing well, so nobody panic.