updated 06:50 am EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Sony to pursue hybrid game format model
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) boss Andrew House has promised that the NGP will get game downloads the same day as retail. In an interview with MCV, House said that the company aims to adopt a hybrid model of distribution for the platform, building on PSP Go strategy of dropping the UMD drive featured on the original PSP design. However, unlike the PSP Go, NGP games will be available in on flash storage cards through retail stores, and through digital download as well. Some games will also be available as digital download only.
"One thing we learnt from PSP, is that we want to have simultaneous delivery in digital and physical for NGP. Just to clarify that, all games that appear physically will be made available digitally, said House. He added, "Not necessarily all games have to be made available physically. And having the option of a digital-only method affords more creative risk-taking, and that's because you don't-have that in-built risk of physical inventory."
The future of gaming on the NGP will be a more tiered structure, with the success of the iOS platform having more than a passing influence. Whereas games for the PSP were generally high-end costing as much as $50 a title, House sees games evolving differently for the NGP. He still expects to see high-end titles that utilise the 4GB of storage available on the flash cards that will still carry premium pricing, but offer in-depth game play. As they will be larger in size, he anticipates that customers would rather purchase the flash card version, rather than necessarily download them. However, for those that do, downloading the title through the PlayStation Store will be an option.
Further, as the recent PlayStation Minis have demonstrated, there is also a casual gaming market that isn't necessarily interested in the hard core gaming that forthcoming titles such as Uncharted will offer. These will of course be priced much cheaper and are necessary to help combat the success of the iOS platform. A number of the leading PSP Minis are in fact ports from the iOS platform including, Angry Birds and Field Runners.
House also talked about the Android strategy being pursued by sister company, Sony Ericsson. "We are working with Sony Ericsson in a number of areas. But I should stress that for PlayStation Suite [for Android] to have the kind of scale for publishers to find it attractive and for us to garner a larger audience, it needs to be a multi-manufacturer device strategy. But we did want to work with a sister company in the mobile space to pioneer this," he said.
The quad-core CPU, quad-core GPU Sony NGP is expected to arrive in the fall.