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Sony promises "best year ever" for PSP

Big franchises to reinvigorate handheld.

Sony is preparing to hit us with more major videogame franchises as it continues its renewed focus on the PSP format.

While industry rumour has centred on hardware revisions for the handheld, Sony itself is concentrating on new software, with heavyweight brands promised to be revealed for the PSP in the coming months.

"There's a lot of software coming. We're really focused on software, and I don't think that's a big surprise given that it's going to be the best software year the PSP has ever had, there's no doubt," said John Koller, director of hardware marketing for SCEA, in an exclusive interview published today.

"You can think of some of the major franchises on console that would come over to PSP and people are going to be very excited."

In February Sony unveiled a batch of new titles to help the PSP combat market pressure from Nintendo's new DSi and Apple's iPhone, including new LittleBigPlanet and MotorStorm games from internal studios, and third-party support from the likes Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed and EA's Rock Band.

"The fruits of the labour are pouring out this year, and we've been talking about it a lot, but we've only mentioned about the first half of the line-up," said Koller. "There's another half to maybe three quarters that we're going to be announcing in the months leading up to E3. There's a lot of big franchises to come."

Sony is confidently taking control of the PSP's direction, letting publishing partners know what doesn't sell following consumer feedback.

"They haven't demanded as much new IP, they have demanded larger franchise games that are unique for PSP, and they don't want ports," revealed Koller.

"And they want to be able to find these games because of a lack of marketing behind many of the PSP titles. If you can't find games on the shelf, and consumers don't know they exist, it's hard for them to sell,2 he said, repeating previous admissions by Sony that it had under-supported the format in the past.

And Koller is bullish on the PSPs success this year, noting that in 2008 the format enjoyed its most successful 12 months despite a thin portfolio of titles.

"Last year was the best sales year for PSP, and that was with a limited software line-up. How high is high when we have a much better software line-up for this year?"

The full interview with John Koller, where he discusses new PSP hardware, the uptake of digital downloads and the continued support for UMD, can be read here.

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