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PSP successor may have touch controls

It seems like it was only yesterday when Nintendo revealed the DS handheld for the first time. There he was, Reggie Fils-Aime, up on stage unveiling the fact that the DS would rely on touch-screen controls. No one knew what to make of it. Many in the audience moaned in disinterest. But a few years - and several million DS units - later, it seems like the must-have feature in handheld devices.

So it wouldn't surprise us at all if the all-but-confirmed PSP2 had some sort of touch interface. Right, Sony Computer Entertainment executive VP Kaz Hirai?

"Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel," said Hirai in a recent interview in response to a question about what kind of controls the PSP's successor would have.

Of course, without missing a beat, Hirai also added in one of Sony's biggest calling cards these days: "You can definitely play immersive games better with physical buttons and pads." That has become a main talking point of the PlayStation people ever since Microsoft has tried to make consumers believe Kinect - a totally button-less experience - is the way to go.

Hirai didn't necessarily confirm that a PSP2 was in the works, but to speculate about its control scheme would seem futile if there wasn't such a project going on behind-the-scenes.

He also said little about the "PlayStation phone," speaking only intheoretical terms regardingrumors. "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," commented Hirai.

It looks as if there is going to be a PSP2 and a PlayStation phone - two separate products. The only thing that's still unclear is when, for crying out loud, any of this stuff will actually be "officially" revealed.

[Source:New York Times]

Dec 23, 2010