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Gamers report PSP malfunction

Nearly 5,000 units are returned to Sony for buggy button; Kutaragi unapologetic about the handheld's design.


TOKYO--About 4,800 Japanese PSPs have been returned to Sony due to problems with the handheld's square button, according to a recent interview with Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi in Nikkei Business magazine.

Kutaragi acknowledged that the button is less responsive than the others, in part because it's so close to the PSP's 480x272 screen. Because there isn't enough room to put the square button's detection switch directly underneath, it's off to the right, making it less responsive--and sometimes causing it to stick.

Nikkei Business reported that, to date, .6 percent of the 800,000 shipped units have been returned to Sony for repair. Kutaragi was unapologetic about the issue: "This is the design that we came up with. There may be people that complain about its usability, but that's something which users and game software developers will have to adapt to. I didn't want the PSP's LCD screen to become any smaller than this, nor did I want its machine body to become any larger.

"The button's location is [architectured] on purpose," Kutaragi added. "It's according to specifications. This is something that we've created, and this is our specification. There was a clear purpose to it, and it wasn't a mistake."

Offering additional testimony praising the handheld, Kutaragi said, "I believe we made the most beautiful thing in the world. Nobody would criticize a renowned architect's blueprint that the position of a gate is wrong. It's the same as that."

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