Low PSP sales due to piracy - Sony

SCEA senior vice president of publisher relations Rob Dyer says pirates and low publisher support for handheld hurt sales; claims upcoming tech will give titles 60-day piracy-free shelf life.

It's no secret that North American sales for the PSP are at the low end of the spectrum. The handheld is consistently behind its competitors, with the most recent NPD report showing US retail sales of just 65,500 units last month compared to the Nintendo DS, which topped the sales charts with 440,800 units sold.

Sony is trying to curb piracy of PSP titles in the US.

In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Sony Computer Entertainment America senior vice president of publisher relations Rob Dyer blamed piracy and a lack of American publisher support for the PSP's low sales in North America.

"That's been the biggest problem, no question about it. It's become a very difficult proposition to be profitable, given the piracy right now. And the fact that the category shrunk inside of retail," he said.

"There's a number of titles from American publishers that will be there, but are we getting full-line support? No. I'm not going to b******* you on that."

Dyer said Sony was working on solutions to the piracy problem, hinting that the company was developing a method that would temporarily delay illegal sharing of PSP titles.

"We believe that there's a way that you will be able to, not stop, but slow down the piracy in the first 30 to 60 days from a tech perspective. There's some code that you can embed that we've been helping developers implement in order to get people at least to see a 60-day shelf life before it gets hacked and it shows up on BitTorrent," he said.

North American PSP figures are in stark contrast to the situation in Sony's home country, where the system enjoys strong sales. In recent weeks, the PSP has even outsold the Nintendo Wii and DSi LL in the charts. In the week ending May 16 the PSP sold 24,475 units in Japan; the previous week's numbers stood at 35,233.

"It's [the PSP] killing it in Japan," Dyer told Gamasutra. "[In North America] you have [Metal Gear Solid] Peace Walker that I think is going to do very good numbers. You're going to have some phenomenal support from Square. They have some great stuff coming. You have some great stuff from Capcom. Again, it's a lot of stuff from Japan," he said.

Dyer said Sony would try to rectify the situation with a strong lineup of first-party and third-party titles for the PSP in the next year.

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Discussion

255 comments
thedemon44
thedemon44

All I can say is this: a hacked PSP is the most versatile system ever for anyone on the go.

 

Do not pirate, it is bad!

SolidTy
SolidTy

It sold a lot of units, over 50 million. Sure, it wasn't DS numbers, but still pretty amazing considering.

Paul2004
Paul2004

just readin this now....and finding holes all over the thing. I remember hearing that the DS was the most pirated system out...yet it still manages to beat the PSP so piracy isnt its main problem (True it hurts, but considering its competition...).PSP sales are low due to the fact that we dont get alot of games for it, the DS has a ton of em. The Vita is out now, so hopefully they can get this sorted. Piracy does hurt the industry but i dont believe for a second its the main reason the PSP never sold well. Get a good selection for the Vita and im sure you'll see....until then stop pointing fingers

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

I think every form of entertainment is being affected. People dont buy movies, games and music and its really sad and cowardly. Its the same thing as breaking into a Best Buy and stealing them off the shelves except they can do it from their house with mem stick with no worry about getting cought.

shadow655
shadow655

Really I think the low sales r more cause of people who dont know that much about psp cause if they did then the psp wouldnt be in this position. Its a great handheld I would hate to see die cause its the only one to make games that r actually new and original!

zidan4000
zidan4000

oh , come one, don't blame piracy , DS also has piracy and it is easier to pirate because of smaller size games, also all of the consoles are pirated of the mean time, does that affect sales? maybe , but not to that extent.

Dark4R
Dark4R

@mischiefmeerkat the systems suck?your crazy, i love the psp and all i do is pirate everything on it including hombrew games, psp rules and it is very easy to pirate games for it, sony is right its all because of us, pirates

mischiefmeerkat
mischiefmeerkat

stop blaming piracy. maybe your system just sucks And if you start cramming DRM into the games that makes you have to be online while playing, or can only play a game on the console it's "registered" on sales will get a lot lower

Gaming-Planet
Gaming-Planet

It's because we have to update in order to play a paid game. Maybe some of us would like to keep our current firmwares? You can slow down pirating by adding anti-piracy codes that takes a while to patch. Ok, so they go on a buy it instead because they want to play it right away. But wait... they need to update. Instead they wait.

Mohammad37
Mohammad37

Capcom finally found an excuse to cancel their game on the PSP !! shame on you capcom ! you're not the only developer out there, Kojima has released 3 great games MPO, MPO+ and MGPW and Kojima did not give us stupid excuses to cancel his games, PSP owners are also called fans and we deserve an RE release on the PSP

Ragno_Saki
Ragno_Saki

Where im from PSP games cost 170Bds thats $85 per game also the PSPgo's price is insane so the Custom Firmware was the lifesaver for most players here.

sh3bang
sh3bang

I guess this little rant from Sony is rather silly... but shame to you pirates. As for mido1000, just b/c things cost more in your country doesn't mean you have anymore rights than others to be able to steal dumbass.

mido1000
mido1000

Sony,I want to tell you 85% of the people who have Custom Firmware cant get games otherwise,I live in Egypt and always have and a good psp game here costs near 600 EGP,thats 100$ American if you can find a retailer,i have a psp Prices for consoles Here are increased by 1000EGP,where your ps3 is 250$,Here it is about 600$,3000 EGP for a ps3 and prices for a single game are 600 ish and im not paying a year's allowance to buy something I can otherwise get for Free much much faster and easier I for one emulate the NDS that shows how much weaker it is to the psp core,SONY you dont blame piracy because your superior console is dragging behind a weaker one

FoTwinny
FoTwinny

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FoTwinny
FoTwinny

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

Sony, SHUT UP!! Stop blaming on the hackers and such and blame yourself. If it wasn't for the PSPgo, you would've had stronger sales. The PSPgo should have come with a UMD drive, or at least a way to trade to your games to it legally, like a place at the store to do so. After that, everything would be alright since all other games would be downloadable. Also, $250!! What were you thinking, that's the price of a fat PS3 with 80gb. If it was $200 or better yet $170 like other PSPs and still looked the way it did and 16gb, that would be awesome. LISTEN TO THE FANS SONY!! Seriously

ExperincedGamer
ExperincedGamer

Please dont compare PSP piracy to DS piracy. Without Custom Freeware PSP sux ballz but without custom freeware DS...is perfectly fine. Plus theres SO MUCH u can do with your PSP if u hack it and so low u can do with DS lol. All thatks to fact PSP is one fat tech monster out there. I mena cmon. I can assure you that lets say in Russia 95% of PSP owners always and forever use downlaoded for free games+custom firmware. Thats piracy in its worst.

sonic77777
sonic77777

Don't blame piracy Sony blame your mediocre games (except MG:PW, KH:BBS etc.). DS's piracy is also rampant. I myself have a legit and a modded psp which i use to test games that are worth playing, and when i like it i support the devs.

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

I love my psp, its great. specially the link up fieaeture with my ps3 so i can watch movies off it, Awesome bit of kit. I can even watch them on holiday or watch tv through my psp (though i dont really watch tv on holiday lolz. Its going to come in usefull this world cup at work :D

Jebril
Jebril

Nintendo: No Johns.

GohmaSses
GohmaSses

i wish sony made some game thats like pokemon

chapel2002
chapel2002

Have they ever thought ridiculous prices for sub standard games might be an issue. If you want rid of piracy lower prices. For people as old as me (cough 29 cough) they will remember the days when you could buy games with pocket money, amstrad games were roughly around £2.50. If albums were £3, DVDs a fiver and games a tenner i would never download again. Sort out the prices and i'll sort out my illegal tendencies. Sorry rant over :)

yearof3000
yearof3000

smzee27@ i argee with you,the psp has a low pick of games. But this summer and fall there will be some games I will buy! (aka MGS:PW, KH:BS, and FFA13)

smzee27
smzee27

How about, "low PSP sales due to no freakin' games to buy?" (Yeah I'm exaggerating for effect, sheesh some people).

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

And yes, it's so ridiculous of SONY to blame their PSP poor sale on piracy. Most people can't manage to *mod* their PSP-3000 to play pirated games fine, let alone PSP Go. So their only option are the previous models which are discontinued now. DS piracy is far worse than PSP. The fact that most developers develop their games for DS instead of PSP is that DS games are much easier to make, just like how 360 games are easier to make for than PS3 games. PSP is just harder to develop games for, thus didn't get much love from developers. We need to praise SONY for their invention of Blue-ray disc and the insanely complicated architecture of their PS3 that completely wipe out piracy from their consoles, thus making their games a little harder to develop. However, games on 360 are selling better than PS3 anyway. What developers and publishers want is to sell their games, not just worrying about their loss from piracy.

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

It's true that SONY has lost to Nintendo this gen, both handheld and console. But at least SONY managed to get their handhelds and consoles sold for 50% of Nintendo's handheld and consoles sale respectively. Which I think is excellent enough already. As of now: DS (DS, DSLite, DSi) has been sold for 129M units while PSP (PSP, PSP-2000, PSP-3000, PSP Go) has been sold for around 60M units. Wii has been sold for 71M units while PS3 has been sold for around 36M units. I should also mention that 360 which has been sold for 39M units launched a full year before Wii and PS3. Now let's take a look at this, in last gen: PS2 shipped for over 150M units around the world, already sold over 143M units, and it's not discontinued yet. While GC and XBOX sold for 22M and 24M units respectively. And the first time SONY crashed with Nintendo, PS sold for over 100M units while N64 sold for around 30M units, Saturn for around 20M units. Just look at how different their sales are, I should also mention that PS2's software sale are over 1.2 billions, which is around all softwares from this gen sold combined. Yeb, it's true that SONY lost to Nintendo this time, but that doesn't really matter to them anyway. Their previous competitions showed that SONY HAD more potential than Nintendo in console wars for 2 generations.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

I know sony doesn't realize this, but the psp is a failed system....surprise! I know it's shocking. It's time to drop it and give the people what they've been asking for, maybe then it can compete with the ds. ( I hate the ds too)

Dematrix
Dematrix

piracy? Wow, go sit in a corner with Ubisoft and cry please. I'm not going to throw statistics around, you can hunt from them yourself, but fact is piracy has actually helped game sales in many regards. It acts as an extra outlet for unknown devs that have games we, the consumers, are not to sure about when it comes to putting our money down. Through piracy we're allowed to view the game and if its worth the price many are willing to buy it. Many more are willing to spend money after seeing the game then without an idea. Instead we have idiots like Sony and Ubisoft who spends millions on anti piracy methods and then get cracked in a day. It was the same for Ubisoft and it'll be the same for Sony. All you do is give the hacker community a challenge because, "Anything can be hacked."

Sigil77
Sigil77

I think piracy affects the PSP, but not the PSP itself. Pirates need a PSP to do their piracy, so what do they do? BUY ONE. So piracy does not affect PSP Console sales. The PSP has quality games, IMO. You just need to look for them. Not knowing the library of a console does not mean the console does not have any good games. All the games people below me have mentioned are games like God of War and Monster Hunter - high profile games -. There are many good games that are not high profile games, like The Warriors, or the Dynasty Warriors series, or Sid Meier's: Pirates. I suggest you look for those.

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@raghraghragh Well piracy and hacking doesn't really have much to do with the low sales. Really, its because of the lack of good games for the PSP, and sony is just looking for something to blame because they can't get over the fact that they've lost to the DS. Face it. Its impossible. Nobody can beat nintendo when it comes to handheld games. Nintendo is the star quarterback in this game, and they've been playing since the 80's. Many have tried to make a handheld platform that can compete with nintendo, and they all failed. The DS is cheaper, has good games, and, really, the thing I like about Nintendo, is that they don't try to be advanced or competitive, just plain fun.

Flint247
Flint247

Blaming piracy? Just admit that PSP lost to DS. :P ( I like both systems)

velsper
velsper

Blaming low hardware sales of unhackable systems (PSPGo/3000) on software piracy is pure logic.

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

@supdotcom The DS may be easier to pirate on, but the difference is the audience both consoles are aimed at: the DS targets a lot of people who would have no idea what a torrent even is, while the PSP is aimed at the core gamer who is obviously more technologically-inclined. Another difference is that hacking the PSP simply involves using the internet while pirating software on the DS requires the purchase of additional equipment.

raghraghragh
raghraghragh

@LeonHardy The reason the sales are low is because interest in buying a PSP-3000/GO (since installing custom firmware on them is quite difficult) is limited. I believe most people turn to eBay to buy a pre-hacked PSP-1000/2000.

LeonHardy
LeonHardy

I have not read every single comment here about this article. But what I do know is that what piracy is going to affect here are the games' sales, as games can be BTed from the internet and not the PSP sales. As a matter of fact, piracy would actually encourage the PSP console's sales simply because the games are easily obtained and made free through BT. But why hasn't the sales improved? One good reason why the PSP is mainly because of the lack of good quality games that will attract gamers to actually buy or pirate the games. Creating firmwares to stop anti-piracy has actually given the pirates a heck of trouble to make the games accessible for the users who BTed. Perhaps all the trouble of getting the games actually discouraged people from getting the PSP and instead went to get the DS instead, which does not have such firmware to prevent piracy. This 60-day piracy-free shelf life idea is just going to cause the PSP sales to drop even more. There will always be people buying the games, and there will always be people obtaining the games through illegal means. Completely obliterating either side just means you lose half the market and that means lower sales.

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@shimya Agree with u all the way. PS: Is "shimya" supposed to be "scimmia"(its the Italian word for monkey)

magusat999
magusat999

I think Sony should just get out of the media business - they cant handle it. making up lame excuses when its basically their product choices and the limitations that they are introducing are limiting people from buying their products. Sony sells DVD burners and DVD media (besides the fact that they suck) why would i buy that from them? They don't want you burning anything and force rootkits and other DRM security software on you to watch what you do! It's like selling a bag of crack to a crackhead and telling him not to smoke it! Sony is to DRM as Zeus is to Mount Olympus. They are the god of DRM, and they sit on top of the whole structure, passing out policy to the little mini-gods.like i was saying earlier - they should get out of the media business and focus on security software, so they can all go home and go to sleep with a happy, tickly feeling, knowing that somehow, somewhere, some 7 year old kid is going to juvenile hall for downloading music without their permission or payment - and his 92 year old grandma is going to the big house, and gets to pay $100,000,000.00 in legal fees...

supdotcom
supdotcom

Even though piracy on the psp is obviously an issue, I don't think Sony should be blaming piracy since the ds is a lot easier to pirate. The true reason? Simply the cost of the handheld console and the poor lineup of good games recently. GoW and MHFU are pretty good, but there needs to be more imo. Birth by sleep and metal gear solid might brighten up the psp.

63subzero
63subzero

i own a psp and i am continuously disappointed with the games on it. dear sony, start making games for this system that aren't mediocre and you just might start selling more of them. to throw salt in my wounds my nintendo ds hasn't proven to be any better...gah.

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@Zerosumgame Yes! PLEASE stop bumping actual good psp games out of America, I thought that we the gamers had a voice here!

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

@Joshua250 Very well said. Everything is pirated, PSPs, DS's, Wii's, 360's, PS3's, music, laptops, cameras, u name it. The wii gets pirated, and it sells amazingly. You cant blame piracy on sales, pointing fingers wont make anything sell better. Just face it, Nintendo is the Quarterback in handheld platforms, you just cant beat nintendo in that game, they've been playing it since the 80's. The PSP was never on my Christmas list anyway. It was never that popular. Do what ever you want to combat this, write a new code in the software, someone will find another way to hack it. Add more DRM, someone will hack it. Set the age limit higher, the 11-year olds are still going to lie about their age. Make it illeagal to sell M-rated games to kids, they'll just ask an older person to get it. And when you make all these new rules to combat hackers and pirates, you won't, you'll just hurt the innocent people. Remember runescape?(It was a horrible game anyway, to say the least) Jagex tried to prevent real-world-trading, but they just drove everybody away, even their biggest die-hard fans, and somebody will just find another way to hack their servers. Trying to combat pirates and hackers is just like trying to cheat death, you just can't do it. Trying to combat pirates? Arr' thats the maddest from the the scurvy, they'll just keep plundering till they kill ye shipmates and make ye walk the plank!

SuperYeti22
SuperYeti22

Low PSP sales also due to the PSPGo...

Killer2401
Killer2401

The PSP was a poor system, UMDs were a bad idea, the weight of the dang thing and the cost turned people off...the iPod Touch/iPhone are almost direct competition.... The DS has piracy too FYI Sony...

TeenGamer92
TeenGamer92

@Briantb_2008: Yeah I've got the Virtualboy Advance, so I guess you could get an emulator.

david60639
david60639

 @thedemon44 You can respond to a two year old comment. You win a gold star little boy.

 

Here, let me place it on your cheek. ☆

david60639
david60639

 @thedemon44 No you may not. I'm sure there are plenty of two year old articles you can waste time replying to. Get to it champ.

thedemon44
thedemon44

 @david60639  Aww thank you! I didn't realise there was an expiry date on replies. Can I have another gold star for the other cheek?