updated 09:35 am EST, Wed January 19, 2011
PSP2 January 27, Xperia Play February events OKed
Swirling rumors of a PSP2 unveil on January 27 were supported on Tuesday with a corroborating story. Sony's console should be revealed that day and will be quickly followed by the Xperia Play in February, likely at Mobile World Congress. The Bloomberg source hinted that the two might be linked through a platform that would not only share music and movies through services like Qriocity but also games, although it wasn't stated that the PSP2 and Xperia Play would have the same game support.
No technical details were given, but an early prototype of the PSP2 has hinted at a best-of-both-worlds control scheme that would meld both a touchscreen, and possibly a backside touchpad, with dual analog sticks and other hardware PlayStation controls. Claims that its performance might be as fast as a PS3 may have gained weight as they came from the same publication that first backed the January 27 date.
The company's PlayStation group head, Kaz Hirai, has already alluded to mixing touch and buttons.
The one-two combination would be targeted at fighting off both Apple and Nintendo. Although the NPD began keeping US console sales data largely secret beyond its clients last summer, PSP sales plunged in 2010 and saw the PSP Go's price slashed repeatedly after it failed to take off. Most of this has been attributed to the lower prices and stronger game lineup of the Nintendo DS series, but it has increasingly been attributed to Apple's iPod touch and iPhone. The faster hardware, greater Internet awareness and less expensive games have been draws where the PSP has mostly gone unchanged since 2004.
Apple sold 19.45 million iPods in just the fall alone and acknowledged during its fiscal results call that over 50 percent of those were the iPod touch. Sony has only sold 18.5 million PSPs in the US in its roughly six-year history where Nintendo has shipped 47.4 million DS systems.