Sony has been talking to publishers about bringing classics from beyond the Sony console family to the PSP’s download service.
The PSP may not just be (legally) a system for PlayStation games anymore.
Sony is in discussions with game publishers for companies to bring their back-catalogue to digital download on the PlayStation Network and is interested in past games from beyond the PlayStation family.
“In general there’s a lot of discussion about [publishers’] back catalogs that will finally find its way to PlayStation Network in the back half of this year,” John Koller, Sony’s head of U.S. marketing for PlayStation hardware said in an interview with MTV Multiplayer late last week.
“PSOne is included, but everything is on the table…We look for some of those big hits from all of the past games in their history and look for ways we can bring them over. It’s not always easy. There’s obviously technical areas that need to be bridged. But when those are solved, consumers will see a wide variety of retro games and brand new games coming to PSN.”
Sony’s talks with publishers is part of a 2009 goal to greatly improve the offering of digital games available to PSP users through the PlayStation Network. To accomplish this, a few tactics are being employed:
Sony’s internal studios are preparing more internally developed download-only titles.
Sony is working to bring more of its PSOne back catalog to the U.S. market, to catch up with the flood of PSOne releases available digitally in Japan. (“Those are being worked on now,” Koller said. Of the regional disparity, he added: “That’ll change.)”
The company is preparing to being more PS3 PSN titles to PSP for download, in the vein of “Flow” and the upcoming “PixelJunk Monsters.”
And Sony is reaching out to other publishers for their back catalogues, now appearing to expand their interest to non-PlayStation platforms, a broader multi-console appetite seen elsewhere in services like GameTap or Nintendo’s Virtual Console.
The drive to digital content is backed up by Sony’s sense that this is what consumers want. “We know that 50 percent of our base, plus, is interested in downloadable games for pay, not for free, from the network,” Koller said. “That’s something that needs to be acted on.”
Naturally, many non-Sony games are being played on the PSP already anyway. The system has been hacked since the day of its release to play pirated games from many classic systems, including those from Sony rival Nintendo. It’s impossible to fathom Sony bringing Nintendo games to the PSP, but any efforts short of that may finally reach hackers — and millions of paying consumers — more than halfway.