Eades: Still room for hardcore handheld

But, will be hard for Sony to beat Apple.

There's still plenty of room for a Sony-created hardcore-focused handheld, which may or may not be the PSP2, despite Apple's dominance of the market.

That's according to Andrew Eades, co-founder and executive director of Buzz! and Blue Toad Murder Files developer Relentless Software.

Last month Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said the PSP2 will be "dead on arrival". "We are approaching saturation on the handheld market," he said. "We're starting to see DS sales crack. The ubiquity of the iPod touch is cutting into the handheld market. I think the PSP is dead on arrival, I think the PSP2 is dead on arrival."

But, according to Eades, the PSP2, which may or may not exist, has a shot at being successful when it eventually hits store shelves.

"My personal point of view is that yes, there clearly is room for a hardcore handheld gaming device," Eades told Eurogamer sister site GamesIndustry.biz.

"Do I think that that's the mass-market portable system? No I don't, I think that's an iPhone or an Android or an iPad, those are clearly aimed at a more mass-market audience. That doesn't mean that there's not a place for that. I don't know whether I agree with any analysts about it, it's up to Sony how they address the market they want to address.

"Who knows what the specs of the next generation of handhelds will be? They'll be comparable in some ways and not in others. The inputs will be comparable in some ways and not in others. The important thing is where they're aimed. If something's aimed at the core gamer then the core gamer will love it, because it'll be an amazingly powerful games machine that they can carry around with them, if it's aimed at a mass market audience then it will need mass market features.

"I think that's a harder win for Sony. Sony's excellent at making games machines and consumer electronics, but to beat Apple or Android right now, I think that's a hard thing to do. But you can't dominate a sector forever. There will come a time when even things like iPhones don't look so hot. I can't predict that. What I can do is make sure we focus on creating the best games we can for our audience on whatever platform they have."

While Eades "can't confirm or deny the existence of PSP2", he did mention that if it exists and finds a family audience, Relentless will take a look.

"So if we find that PSP2 has a really good family audience who enjoy social games like the ones that Relentless makes, then we'll make games for it," he said.

The much rumoured PSP2 is said to have touch controls on the reverse of the unit and enough horsepower to reproduce visuals on par with those seen in early PlayStation 3 games.

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