updated 11:45 am EST, Fri February 27, 2009
Sony on PSP Redesign Rumor
Sony PSP marketing director John Koller late Thursday partly fueled speculation in an interview that the company may update the PSP while deemphasizing the company's proprietary UMD disc format. Responding to a rumor from Acclaim's Dave Perry that a PSP2 was in the works without the drive, Koller downplays the possibility of "wholesale shifts" in the hybrid game/media device's design but, uncharacteristically for Sony, refuses to either confirm or deny the existence of a new model and instead drops hints of relying on Internet downloads much more heavily in the future.
"[I] can't comment either way, but I will reiterate that the digital [download] component is very important to us," Koller says. "We've been making a concerted effort to really over-emphasize the ability for publishers to publish on the [PlayStation Network]. Fits our view of the world. Eventually the digital distribution arm will have some leverage. I think consumers right now are choosing some tangible benefits of the disc. But we saw how that movie ended with music. And we know there are certainly some benefits to promoting that part of it now."
He adds that the current PSP-3000 had some indicators of Sony's design direction in the future, highlighting the same-size but improve 4.3-inch screen and the mic for voice chat in games and through Skype. There aren't, however, any new hardware kits being sent to developers.
Multiple reports have alluded to Sony launching a major redesign that would keep the same core hardware but may change the form factor; the company has also taken increasing steps to emphasize downloading games, music and videos through the PlayStation Store instead of manually transferring content from a PC or relying on UMDs, which have typically been unsuccessful for content outside of PSP games.