Ubisoft urges rescue of "directionless" PSP

Over-priced and too technical, says UK boss.

Ubisoft has called for immediate action from Sony in order to stop publishers abandoning the PSP.

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, UK big cheese Rob Cooper said the handheld lacks direction, as Sony is confused about how to sell a machine he feels is over-priced and too technical for most of us.

"I think that Sony is disappointed with sales and it's unsure as to which way to take it," Cooper told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published today.

"Sony needs to show us a bit more about what its plans are to convince the publisher to invest lots more money into it. Especially when you've got the DS selling at such a tremendous pace.

"I suppose it's almost too technical for the casual person, those that are buying the DS at the moment want a few buttons and not a lot more. It's so simple what [Nintendo] has done. That's where I think Sony has gone a little bit too complicated, they've over-specced it, the price is too high and they need to go back to the drawing board and start again," he added.

Cooper doesn't think it's an issue with software pricing, rather Sony hasn't communicated to publishers clearly what direction the machine is going to take in the future.

"I don't think it's a pricing issue," he admitted. "As a publisher I'll always say pricing is not the first point of call. I don't think dropping the price of games is going to sell more product or hardware.

"It's direction, a real strategic decision by Sony as to what it wants to do with that product. It's a great shame that sales are at the level they are, because you've got a hardware system that is absolutely beautiful."

Ubisoft has no games planned for the PSP this year, but Cooper insists the format still has potential, so long as Sony can properly identify its audience and move the system out of "no man's land".

"There are ongoing discussions with Sony about what its decisions and strategies are, how they are going to go forward.

"Certainly, we still see it as a viable format. But we're not developing too many games on it until we get some direction. They've got to decide what they want to do with it, and come out clearly and say, 'this is our strategy, this is our process and this is how publishers can get behind it'."

"At the moment they are in no man's land, they're not sure quite how to tackle the DS competition and who is the PSP consumer. They've got to sort that out first," he said.

Coopers comments come just a month after Sony Europe boss David Reeves admitted that the PSP was suffering from a lack of games.

However, despite support dwindling in Europe and the US, sales of the PSP in Japan continue to rocket. The continued introduction of fresh colours as well as beastly sales of Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G mean the handheld regularly outsells both Wii and DS there.

Pop over to GamesIndustry.biz for the full interview with Ubisoft UK boss Rob Cooper, where he dabbles in all sorts including the problems with Wii owners and why this Christmas is going to be "vicious".

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