SCEA CEO Jack Tretton on why no one develops for the PSP anymore: Pirates!

trettonps3holding.jpg

Engadget managed to snag Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton by the coattails at E3 and ask him a few questions about Sony’s PS3/PSP strategy going forward.

Sony does seem to have shed a lot of the arrogance that caused them to stumble out of the gates with two press-shattered shins with the launch of the PS3. And Horner’s being frank about gamer sore points like removing backwards compatibility from the PS3: “I would like to have had it in there, but Sony’s collective strategy determined we could afford to lose it. We’ve now gone down that road, and we’re not going back.” I admire that. It’s sincerely regretful, but also makes clear that they feel it was a smart business decision they aren’t going to waffle on: backwards compatibility doesn’t really sell consoles, and it’s a good choice of features to trim to get prices down.

But this comment about why the PSP doesn’t have any damn games on it anymore is just stupid:

What’s preventing PSP software sales: Three things. Title ports from PS2 games (people don’t want to buy the same title twice), and the PSP’s media functions. But Jack put the most emphasis on “piracy in the hundreds of thousands of units are preventing software sales. it’s a problem that affects our software sales right now.”

So the loss of hundreds of thousands of totally imaginary, theoretical sales are preventing developers from generating hundreds of thousands of real ones? That’s not what’s going on. If that were true, the DS (which has a far more easy-to-access piracy scene than the still-difficult-to-hack PSP) would be a total ghost town.

No. The truth of the matter is that Sony bungled the PSP and there’s some behind-the-scenes reason why the summer of 2008 has been almost entirely empty of notable PSP titles. And most of the reason is likely the obvious one: the DS is easier and cheaper to develop for, with a substantially greater install base. But corporate hubris makes piracy easier to blame than (perceived) inferiority.

SCEA CEO Jack Tretton dishes [Engadget]

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10 Responses to SCEA CEO Jack Tretton on why no one develops for the PSP anymore: Pirates!

  1. strider_mt2k says:

    They bungled the PSP because it’s hard to offer stuff to gamers with one hand while simultaneously trying to squash their efforts at homebrew development with the other.

    The more they act draconian, the more the resistance increases.

    Oh, but they’re fun and into gaming…riiiight.

  2. jtegnell says:

    Hey, ya gotta start some time!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Actually I think he may be right on this one. I know a LOT of people with PSPs at work, and i dont think they own one legit game between them. And i know that’s not just because there arent any decent games out there, because they all sit there hunched over their consoles during lunch – doesnt make for great conversation i can tell you.

    The comparison with the DS may not hold water because the user demographic is very different – the DS is perceived in many circles as a kid’s console. Many of the same PSP owners mentioned above have bought DS’s for their kids, and they also BUY DS GAMES for their kids.

    Why? Partly it’s because they dont want to encourage their kids to pirate games, partly it’s because the spouse doesnt approve, and partly it’s because it’s a no-brainer when figuring out what to get offspring/nieces/nephews/etc for birthdays/christmas/etc.

  4. Halloween Jack says:

    Piracy is the new “dog ate my homework”.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Similarly to poster #2, most of the people I know with PSPs play mainly pirated games. It is really easy to obtain pirated games for the PSP and play them using a USB stick.

  6. Downpressor says:

    So the loss of hundreds of thousands of totally imaginary, theoretical sales are preventing developers from generating hundreds of thousands of real ones?

    You been smoking Cory’s pipe again?

  7. Inverse Square says:

    @1: Sony has _probably_ been aiding the homebrew community. They said a while ago that they are allied with Dark_Alex, and it was always suspiciously convinient that they didn’t enable the copy protection in the first firmware (which sparked the homebrew community, giving them an enormous extra demographic. Oh, and seriously helping the development of the art form too but that probably was just a coincidence).

    A not insignificant amount of PSPs have been sold, so it is pretty nasty that there aren’t that many developers using the thing. The DS piracy mound may be easier to access but it’s still smaller and more expensive to do so. And less fun. I love my DS, but every games console up to the nintendo 64 plus the DOS on a handheld? That’s what I use my PSP for.

  8. Chevan says:

    >The comparison with the DS may not hold water because the user demographic is very different – the DS is perceived in many circles as a kid’s console.

    Yes, a kid’s console with multiple games centered around touching women’s genitalia.

  9. Rob O. says:

    The PSP had no games for virtually the first two years of its’ commercial availability, when the most plentiful material you could get were movies for the damn thing.

    So, let’s get this straight: they released a gaming platform, but promote it as a media player that’s based on a proprietary disc system, despite the fact that the video iPods, which are smaller and infinitely easier to use, were also on the market, and function on digital downloads. I’d actually rather put up with Apple DRM than have to deal with carrying around a bunch of ridiculous UMD movie discs.

    The fact that they don’t sell every halfway decent PSOne game as a PSP port is ridiculous. You can supposedly get them through the PS3 store, but why would I pay $400 for the privilege of buying more games for my PSP?

  10. Anonymous says:

    We’re not gonna mention that it’s harder/more expensive to develop for than the DS but without any commensurate guarantee of more sales?

    I know that’s why two developers I’ve contracted with have chosen DS over PSP. And I know of another dev studio that had a prototype of a PSP game that they are now taking to PS3, cause you know, it ain’t THAT much harder to make a game on…

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