Sony Corp. plans to release a series of devices that will support games for PlayStation Portable video game console, a media report claims. The set of gadgets may actually be successful, given the vast lineup of quality games. There is a question though, why not make PlayStation Portable 2 a mobile phone?
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Sony is planning to release a smart-phone capable of downloading and running PSP games along with a portable device that blurs distinctions between netbooks, electronic book readers as well as portable game consoles. The two devices are expected to compete against various multi-function products that are already available and are incoming from various makers.
Quite naturally, Sony would not confirm or deny plans to release certain products, but, fairly speaking, it would be natural for Sony to diversify its PlayStation Portable business: not everyone wants to carry a number of devices, but would prefer one or two universal gadgets despite of quality of experience. Therefore, Sony’s plans to release a PlayStation Smartphone and a slate-type PC are completely logical.
There is a more interesting product incoming from Sony Computer Entertainment: the PlayStation Portable 2. The original PSP was released back in 2005 and it is somewhat morally outdated now. Various versions of Nintendo DS are constantly outselling the PSP and it is highly unlikely that Sony will be able reverse the trend, thus, PSP 2 is inevitable rather sooner than later.
The direction for further development of PSP is rather clear: Sony wants digital delivery of video games for its portables, hence, it is more than likely that the PSP 2 will come with a SIM card and, logically, even voice calls and SMS capabilities. So, could the PlayStation Portable 2 be a smartphone capable of launching premium games from Sony and its partners? Let us try to consider all the pros and cons.
- Ability to download games and access Sony-sold content anytime and everywhere;
- Ability to make phone calls, write text messages, playback music and play quality video games on a single device;
- Sony will be able to offer better quality graphics, audio, services and so on a premium handset that will not cost the user ~$1500 like an iPhone since Sony will maintain a typical game console business model: games pay for the hardware;
- Developers will be able to create mass online video games for an Internet-enabled PSP, which seems to be a big area for growth;
- Antenna, baseband chip and SIM card will make the device a little bulkier (still, since the phone is no longer needed, it may not be a problem);
- Battery life of a device that should be able to render high-quality graphics and make voice calls may be too short for a phone;
- Sony will have to sell the new device using new channels and compete against regular mobile phones directly, something that PSP has never done;
- It is not completely clear how Sony plans to enable PSP video games on a smartphone. The PlayStation Portable is tailored to ergonomically fit gamers, whereas smartphones should also be tailored for making phone calls and browsing the Internet. Still, this seems to be a problem for designers;
Although there are clearly a number of disadvantages in WWAN-enablement of PSP, if the information by the WSJ is correct, Sony is preparing a PSP-based smartphone, hence, will finally merge phones with high-quality portable video games. Will it be a success? That’s a question.