Sony has been able to have success selling old consoles after they launch their latest and greatest system. The PlayStation 2 still continues to sell despite how long the PlayStation 3 has been on the market. This past success appears to be making Sony confident that this is possible with all their platforms, including their handheld system the PSP. Sony is expecting to have similar results with the PSP after the release of the NGP, with both systems coexisting and sharing the market.
Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, spoke with Edge Magazine about Sony's expectations for the PSP after the NGP launches. Yoshida feels that with the current demand for the PSP, Sony has reason to not leave the PSP on the market once the NGP lands on retail shelves:
"The NGP features everything Sony can and wants to do today. It's a platform looking forward with great ambition. It can't replace a platform that has already been on sale for seven years now. In terms of pricing, we can't sell the NGP for the same price as a PSP. The PSP has become very affordable and popular, especially with younger generations. I think the NGP needs time to mature and get adopted by users. So, for the time being, both platforms will coexist."
Yoshida even goes so far as to say that Sony is currently struggling to meet demand for the PSP in today's market. With PSP games sales almost non-existent, and new PSP games almost as rare, who is buying all these PSPs to create this demand? They are not purchasing the system for the games, as 2010's highest selling PSP game, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, was the only PSP game to sell over 300,000 copies last year. Compare that number to Pokemon SoulSilver and HeartGold which sold a combined 3 million copies for the Nintendo DS, and it is clear that people just are not buying PSP games.
The only explanation could be that parents are buying their children a PSP as an alternative to an iPod Touch. While not as fully featured as an iPod, owners can still watch movies and listen to music on the device, which could be what people are buying the system for. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea for Sony to leave it on the market at a budget price. I imagine they can produce the system at very little cost given that it is seven year old technology, and they may still be able to squeeze some profit out of the device.
Once the NGP comes out, the PSP will be an afterthought -- more so than it already is. The only reason the PS2 has continued to sell as long as it has was due to its huge library of awesome games, which the PSP lacks. Will retailers still carry the system after the NGP launch considering that they barely stock PSP games now? Sony may want to continue selling the device, but retailers and consumers may not care.
In other NGP news, those of you worried about calling Sony's new system the "Next Generation Portable" don't have to worry about that much longer. According to Yoshida, the NGP moniker is not permanent and Sony definitely plans to rename it:
“Well, NGP is the codename we’ve used since 2008. We will announce the final name of the console sometime later this year."
So readers, what are your thoughts on Yoshida's comments? Do you think it is kind of ridiculous for Sony to say that they are struggling to meet demand for a handheld that many have viewed as a ghost town for some time now? Do you ever see yourself purchasing a PSP for a younger sibling or a nephew as a cool gadget for them to play around with? Let us know in the comments.