The PSP2, a device Sony won't talk about, is coming and it's powerful — potentially as powerful as a high-end console, we've reported. That gives it a chance against the iPhone, 3DS and more, EA's boss tells Kotaku.
At the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview with Kotaku this week, EA chief CEO John Riccitiello agreed to size up the next generation of handheld gaming systems. He won't count out Sony, makers of the PSP platform that chipped into Nintendo's former dominance but has flagged lately behind the surging iPhone.
"My favorite outcome is a gigantic war for which we sell the bullets," he said. That's a natural position for EA, a company that is making games for PSP, DS, iPhone, iPad and Android this generation. EA has already shown one of the games it is making for early 2011's Nintendo 3DS. Presumably it will make games for PSP2 as well.
I was recording my interview with Riccitiello using an iPhone and pointed to the device, noting that it seemed possible for Apple's powerful handheld systems to hurt Sony's chances to sell lots of PSP2s. It's a simplified suggestion, of course. PSP sales may have slowed. Apple may be finally amassing a healthy amount of good games on its App store. But Sony has dedicated game-making teams, a zeal for making a wide range of games and will likely continue to include control sticks and buttons on its portable machines, something Apple has forced game developers and gamers to live without.
Riccitiello said he'd heard that theory about Apple making it tough for Sony. He didn't seem sold that it was anything close to a sure thing.
"Having something as powerful as a PlayStation 3 in your pocket is a pretty compelling idea," he said, putting the fact that the PSP2 will be supercharged in his terms. "Interestingly enough I don't think Blu-Ray resonated much with consumers when it was first part of the package." Blu-Ray was the high-capacity and high-fidelity disc format that was introduced in the PlayStation 3, of course, and was supposed to surpass the popularity of the DVD, which it hasn't yet.
"I think [Blu-Ray] is resonating now in a pretty big way," Riccitiello continued, "because a consumer doesn't have to buy two devices when they can get one and it's not multiple discs for a large game, it's one disc and the fidelity is higher. Sometimes the competitive advantage requires games to show it off to prove its compelling. So reading in a press release that it's as powerful as a high-end console in your pocket is sort of a little flat. Look at it the first time; when you actually see it happening it can be awfully compelling."
We've known the PSP2 will be a beast, but here at Kotaku, unlike EA people, we haven't seen it or been officially briefed on it. Would just seeing it in action be the thing that makes PSP2 a must-buy? Hey, I wouldn't mind seeing what a game running on a pocket-sized PS3 looks like.
For everything we know about Sony's potential 2011 blockbuster handheld, check out our PSP2 page.
Edited image by Michael McWhertor.