It's "tough to make the economics work" for the PSP under current UMD-based schemes, says analyst Doug Creutz of Cowen & Company, talking to Gamasutra as part of our new 'Analyze This!'
feature on the state of Sony's handheld.
Cowen was among multiple analysts asked about the state of the PlayStation Portable by Gamasutra, just ahead of an E3 that is believed to bring announcements by Sony changing the trajectory of the PSP's plans.
Now there are multiple suggestions that Sony may be shifting towards digital distribution going forward, Creutz explained of the handheld's current Western problems:
"I think piracy has had a moderate impact, but the bigger problem has simply been that the installed base never took off to the extent Sony hoped...
It's pretty clear that the UMD as a media alternative (for video) is dead. If there's a better/cheaper alternative, there's no reason for Sony not to embrace it. If getting rid of UMD in favor of another alternative helps solve the piracy issue, it should be an obvious choice.
With the surprisingly weak launch of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the DS, it's pretty clear that the PSP remains the handheld system of choice for core gamers. (However, that's a bit of a contradiction in terms since core gamers tend to favor console gaming.)
Liberty City Stories did just fine on the PSP, despite a vastly smaller hardware installed base at the time of launch, compared to the current DS installed base. But other than that, it's tough to make the economics work. There may be a viable niche for smaller, less expensive, creative downloadable games."
Cowen's comments came as part of a wider set of analyst remarks on the PlayStation Portable
, responding to questions about whether a redesign of the handheld was indeed merited.