Posted on June 9, 2008, Chris Ubisoft Believes PSP is Directionless
If you take a look at this year’s releases from Ubisoft, you’ll notice a gaping hole in the company’s PSP strategy. (Or complete lack thereof.) Rob Cooper, Ubi’s UK managing director, says this is because of Sony’s indecisiveness and inability to really hone in on a specific demographic. Without doing that, Ubisoft won’t think twice about investing their money elsewhere.
“I think that Sony is disappointed with sales and it’s unsure as to which way to take it,” Cooper told GI.biz. “There’s still a good market there at the right price-point. Whether or not we’re developing new products for it is a different thing. I think 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. ”
The most obvious discrepancy between the DS and PSP is the price, but Cooper doesn’t believe that’s the problem.
“I don’t think it’s a pricing issue. 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.”
What Cooper goes on to say is not all that much unlike the console scene, where the Wii seems to be thriving because of its approachable nature, while the PS3 and Xbox 360 are fairly intimidating for the average person.
“I suppose it’s almost too technical for the casual person, those that are buying the DS at the moment, who 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.
The PSP has been dominating in Japan as of late, but that’s the only market where that could be said. Cooper’s not particularly optimistic that Sony will do what he said and start again with the system. That’s not to say you can’t expect Ubisoft to support the system in the future, but Sony can’t sit passively by if that’s something they want to happen.
“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,” Cooper said. “They’ve got to sort that out first.”