Sony Computer Entertainment is taking another stab at establishing the PlayStation Portable as a film viewing device, by lowering title prices, signing studio deals to license content and making digital copies playable on the handheld system.
When the PSP launched in 2005, all of the major studios were churning out films in the portable console´s Universal Media Disc format. However, games ultimately proved to be far better sellers on PSP, and nearly all the major studios stopped generating UMDs after about one and half years of production. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was the exception.
Although the new release pipeline substantially dried up, PSP owners were still accessing films. But they were mostly doing so illegally, transferring ripped Web files to their systems. At the same time, studios cannot ignore the PSP´s 13 million U.S. hardware base as the DVD market matures.
"We want to provide a legal offering from the studios, … and it´s an easier conversation to have with them now," said John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. "There´s a lot of positive momentum with the PSP."
To make sure consumers buy UMDs this go around, Sony is shaving new release list prices to $9.99 to $14.99. That is $10 to $25 less than UMD initial pricing a few years ago.
To attract studios, Sony Computer is promising to do the bulk of the work with UMDs. Sony will license, manufacture, distribute, market and sell the studios´ films for them for the PSP.