The PSP2 Is No PlayStation Phone

Should you save up for the rumored PlayStation Phone or the equally rumored PSP2? Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kazuo Hirai manages to calm potential consumer confusion without actually confirming anything.

What do we know about the PSP2 so far? According to various sources from throughout the gaming industry, it's a powerful little machine that houses a combination of standard portable gaming controls with some sort of touch screen. Kaz almost but not quite confirms these details in an article posted today in the New York Times. When asked how Sony would impress portable gamers in a market slowly being taken over by Apple's iPhone and the Android platform, controls was one of Hirai's answers.

‘‘Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel,'' Mr. Hirai said. ‘‘But you can definitely play immersive games better with physical buttons and pads. I think there could be games where you're able to use both in combination.''

Not that Hirai sees the iPhone and Android platforms as competition.

‘‘The games being played on Android and Apple platforms are fundamentally different from the world of immersive games that Sony Computer Entertainment, and PlayStation aims for,'' Mr. Hirai said

The PSP2, if such a device were to exist, would continue to cater to the more hardcore audience the PlayStation brand caters to.

What does that mean for the rumored PlayStation phone? With reports indicating the PlayStation phone might be able to play original PlayStation games along with popular PSP titles like LittleBigPlanet and God of War, won't gamers be confused over which device to purchase?

‘‘We don't want gamers to be asking, what's the difference between that and a PSP,'' Mr. Hirai said. ‘‘We have to come up with a message that users will understand. It would have to be a product that keeps the PlayStation's strengths intact.''

Of course we're talking about two devices that don't officially exist yet, so nothing is set in stone. I just know it would be much easier to sell me a powerful dedicated gaming device than trying to get me to switch out my iPhone for a PlayStation-branded device.

Clues About the Next PlayStation Portable [The New York Times]

NOTE: The above image is not a picture of the new device just one of many fan-created mock-ups of a new PSP.