While there's still no official confirmations from Sony on their plans for the portable-gaming space the rumblings around a Sony-Ericsson PlayStation branded phone as well a more direct successor to the PlayStation Portable have been getting much louder of late. The New York Times recently caught up
with Sony's game's head honcho Kazuo Hirai and although he didn't offer any proper reveals, they did fish out a few clues.
The wording is a little ambiguous, but one response in particular suggests that the next PSP will include some manner of touch-screen/pad functionality -- adding to the speculation over a recent Sony patent that describes a rear-mounted touch-panel.
A new game, he suggested, may have both touch-screen controls and the more conventional buttons and analog sticks that control the current version.
“Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel,” Mr. Hirai said. “But you can definitely play immersive games better with physical buttons and pads. I think there could be games where you’re able to use both in combination.”
Hirai's responses also suggest that the next iteration of the PSP will indeed be a separate venture to any phone-integrated gaming device from Sony:
And although he acknowledged the popularity of casual games on smartphones, he said Sony would continue to appeal to a different genre of fans, those who appreciate the generally deeper, more sophisticated game play of conventional console titles.
“We don’t want gamers to be asking, what’s the difference between that and a PSP,” Mr. Hirai said. “We have to come up with a message that users will understand. It would have to be a product that keeps the PlayStation’s strengths intact.”
Frankly, we just wish Sony would hurry up and officially announce something already, particularly With the launch of Nintendo's 3DS rapily approaching.