UK Retailers Show No PSP Go Pre-Orders

Sony's PSP Go.We already know the PSP Go is a ripoff. It’s essentially a minor upgrade over the current hardware at a premium price. In the UK things are even worse. Our friends across the pond are looking at prices as high as £230 (approx. $380), which is nearly double the price of the current generation mobile gamer.

Whether it’s the price, the hardware, or just an utter lack of interest, UK retailers are showing zero, yes, zero pre-orders, and they’re not happy. The problem comes with the margins on hardware retail, which are historically small. Now that the PSP no longer supports UMD drives, the only justifiable revenue stream comes in the form of Playstation Network cards, which can be purchased in $20 and $50 increments in the US, but remain unavailable in the UK.

Sony’s banking on mobile software delivery for games instead of your typical physical media with the PSP Go, and it’s already got retailers wondering if they should bother with the new device. Seems like a lot of people share that sentiment where Sony is concerned. Will they listen, or just continue to frustrate retailers and developers out of doing business together?


id Software to Release a New iPhone Game Every 2-3 Months

id on the iPhone.The latest in iPhone news (and I know there’s been a lot of it this month) comes from id Software. You may know them as the creators of games like Doom and Wolfenstein and the upcoming Rage. iPhone users will be getting introduced to, or reacquainted with, id over the next year.

id co-founder John Carmack told Joystiq today that he is “passionate about the benefits of the iPhone,” and that his company has a lot of fun porting their titles. He also says it doesn’t require a lot of focus, at least for an established IP like Doom. But there is more to come from Carmack and company, who recently announced their buyout by ZeniMax, parent company to Bethesda.

“I’ve got a slate of iPhone titles, I expect to have an iPhone release every two or three months for the next year,” said Carmack. He made it clear that the benefit isn’t necessarily the money, but rather the level of commitment. When a game doesn’t cost millions of dollars to make and market, it’s a lot less pressure on the development team, which Carmack views as a good thing.

I’m glad to see a major developer taking the iPhone into serious consideration. Titles like Myst have recently been ported as well, but how about some new IP? Personally, I’d love some.


Sony Could Be In Serious Trouble

Bobby Kotick ready to axe Sony.When you’ve taken a company from $10 million yearly revenues to nearly $200 million quarterly revenues, you can pretty much say what you want. If your new company also happens to be worth some $16 billion, you can also say those things to whomever you like, even if it happens to be Sony.

That’s exactly what’s happening between Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s President and CEO (that would be the $16 billion company), and Sony. Kotick has apparently been frustrated with the fees Sony charges for what he thinks may be a dying platform.

“I’m getting concerned about Sony; the PlayStation 3 is losing a bit of momentum and they don’t make it easy for me to support the platform. It’s expensive to develop for the console, and the Wii and the Xbox are just selling better. Games generate a better return on invested capital on the Xbox than on the PlayStation,” Kotick says. “When we look at 2010 and 2011, we might want to consider if we support [PS3 and PSP].”

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s next year. As in, six months from now. And if Activision sees fit to pull the plug, who’s next? Other developers have voiced issue with Sony licensing fees and the difficulties of developing on their hardware. Would EA see fit to cut ties?

As compelling a case as Kotick might put together, he seems a bit blind when it comes to ideas for saving Sony. In this same interview, Mr. Kotick suggests Sony consider things like the upcoming skateboard controller for a new Tony Hawk title. Are peripherals really what’s slowing the company? I could be wrong here, but how does adding a peripheral, which will probably be available on the other two consoles, help PS3 sales? How does that cut back the fees Kotick so loathes? And what of development? PS3 will still cost more per title for the same game, so where’s the benefit?

In running Sony into the ground is my guess. Kotick’s suggestion leads one direction – further marginalization of the PS3. If they keep releasing the same games and the same peripherals as everyone else, they’ll keep getting beat, for all the reasons Kotick cites early on. Then he doesn’t have to make the tough decision because every developer would leave with him.

For now you can rest assured Activision is still making plenty of money off Sony, but I’d bet other developers share some of Kotick’s thoughts, if not his fervor for making them public. Will Sony respond, or is Kotick just a blowhard? Sound off in the comments.


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