Sony plays up PS2, PSP at press conference

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Sony plays up PS2, PSP at press conference

While Sony’s E3 2006 press conference left a lot to be desired – limited game play previews for PlayStation 3 games and no working demo of the Sony Network Platform – Kaz Hirai, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, took the opportunity to remind the media of the enormous success of the company’s PlayStation 2 console.

Hirai announced that since its launch in March of 2000, PS2 has sold more than 103 million consoles, including 41.8 million in the U.S. Indeed, the PS2 destroyed the competition – Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox each earned a fraction of the success of Sony’s console. Hirai announced that more that 200 new PS2 titles will be released this year, such as Guitar Hero II, and more blockbuster titles scheduled for 2007 like God of War 2. As a result, Hirai pledged that Sony would continue to support the platform even as it focused on getting PS3 out the doorSony predicts it will sell 10 million PS2 consoles this year alone.

This, of course, begs the question: if PS2 is so good six years later, will PS2 fans feel the urge to invest in Sony’s next generation platform next year? It’s possible that PS3 may have to compete with its predecessor as much as it will have to compete against Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii. Then again, Hirai promised that PS3 would be seamlessly integrated with the company’s other gaming platforms, such as PS2 and PSP, with plenty of backward compatibility for games.

Speaking of PSP, Hirai declared that the mobile gaming console was the fastest growing platform in the history of Sony Computer Entertainment. With more than 17 million units sold in less than two years since its debut, the PSP is poised to be the dominant mobile console. “PSP is an unrivaled portable entertainment device,” Hirai told the audience.

It’s likely both PSP and PS2 will continue to have strong sales. Sony recently cut the price on both platforms – PS2 is now $149 in the U.S., while the PSP was reduced earlier this year to $199. But will three Sony consoles be a crowd for PS3?

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