As February 2011 grows closer we've learned that Sony Ericsson is working on a PlayStation Phone and Sony Computer Entrainment is working on the PSP 2. At one point we speculated that it may have been one device, however details and images have proven otherwise. Both are also reportedly taking different approaches to gaming, a trait that even Sony's Kazuo Hirai admits may be confusing for consumers.
"We don’t want gamers to be asking, what’s the difference between [the PlayStation Phone] and a PSP," Hirai told the New York Times. "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."
In an interview with the paper, Hirai also talked about the PSP2 without confirming actual hardware specs, referring to the much-rumored touch-based trackpad located on the back of the device and/or the PSP2's reported touch screen.
"Depending on the game, there are ones where you can play perfectly well with a touch panel," he 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 also acknowledged the rising growth of casual gamers, indicating that the expanding casual market was actually good for Sony. "We’re seeing people who never had an interest in games join the gaming population," he said. "That means that the gaming industry pie is getting bigger."
Based on the interview, Sony Ericsson may market the PlayStation Phone as a casual gaming device like the iOS and Android platforms while the PSP2 will be geared towards the hardcore gamers. Both devices will likely support PlayStation minis, possibly allowing both groups of gamers to play together online. PlayStation One games are also rumored to be supported by Sony Ericsson's phone, opening up another multiplayer avenue for both devices.
To read the full interview, check out Kazuo Hirai's interview here.