Sony is gearing up for a big PSP overhaul. After losing a lot of steam to other mobile gaming platforms like Nintendo's DS series and the proliferation of smartphones capable of downloadable casual gaming, Sony Europe's UK Director of Sales, Mark Howsen, tells MCV that they are planning to "reinvent the whole PSP model." Sony realizes that most consumers are willing to pay high-end prices for a piece of hardware, but expect to pay next to nothing for requisite software. The PSP software model is based off the traditional mobile video games pricing model, wherein buying just a few games will cost almost as much as the hardware itself. Sony released the PSPGo, a disc-less PSP that supported digital distribution, but it failed in the market. In trying to grab the market that wants cheap software, Sony is offering ten free games with the purchase of a new PSPGo. Howsen understands that the current business of mobile handheld gaming needs to change. "To reinvent the whole PSP model, we need to look at handheld in a very different way, in the context in which consumers are now viewing it," says Howsen.
According to MCV, it's been rumored that Sony will unveil the PSP 2 at this year's E3 conference, possibly sporting a touchscreen interface, if the speculation of a 'senior industry source' can be believed. If Sony can really embrace the concept of cheap, easily distributed software, and back it up with a solid piece of hardware, we could very well see the resurgence of the PSP as a viable portable gaming option in the future.