updated 09:30 pm EDT, Tue June 15, 2010
Sony PSP ads jab Apple
Sony stepped up its rhetoric against Apple at its E3 keynote today with the start of a new ad campaign. The new spots, centering around a teen named Marcus, argue that the PSP hasn't been getting enough attention and that it deserves more credit as a game system. In one ad, he complains to Sony exec Kevin Butler that he's tired of people "talking about those apps on the phone" in an obvious poke at the iPhone, suggesting the attention should go back to games such as Peace Walker.
The campaign is part of a strategy to revive the PSP, which Sony acknowledged hadn't received much attention in recent months. Sales of the handheld droppped rapidly last year and haven't been helped by the PSP Go. Just before E3, the company went so far as to characterize the more expensive, somewhat incompatible PSP Go as a public experiment that showed it what didn't work.
Without an update to Sony's own devices, though, the success of the product strategy isn't apparent. Sony's existing lineup, regardless of the marketing, has seen PSP game revenues cut in half by Apple as gamers have either switched to the iPhone and iPod touch or else stopped buying games for the PSP as they began to use the Apple system more. Besides lacking modern graphics or motion response, PSP games are often more expensive and usually cost about $40; iOS games rarely cost more than $10 and encourage sales for those who couldn't normally justify the cost of full-priced titles.
A true sequel to the PSP has been rumored but may not ship until 2011, leaving Apple relatively uncontested in hardware. If true, an ad campaign highlighting strong games may be Sony's only option for fuelling sales throughout the rest of 2010.