PSP Keyboard Cancelled

Via Kotaku, news that the “most anticipated” peripheral for the PSP (a keyboard) has been cancelled by the manufacturer. An email from the company reportedly blames Sony for failing to share much-needed information about the PSP’s protocols.

I generally try to assume that companies behave in rational ways (even though it’s clear that this isn’t always true.) So I’ve been trying to think of reasons why Sony would fail to even minimally support the development of third party add-ons like this one. After all, they might spur sales of the PSP and lead to interesting applications for the device. So far, I’ve come up with the following possibilities:

  • Perhaps Sony plans to release its own keyboard, and sees no reason to share the market for it, and/or:
  • Perhaps Sony is afraid that customers will expect it to support (unreliable) applications made for use with the keyboard, and/or:
  • Perhaps Sony believes that third party add-ons will make it too difficult to predict PSP usage and positioning, and thus make it too difficult to create strategies for the platform going forward.

These aren’t terrible arguments. Still, console makers all understand that they can’t hope to survive without substantial third-party game development for their platform. I don’t see why third-party hardware development should be so different.

Maybe the keyboard (and related apps) could have inspired a huge new community of buyers. Even if Sony is cooking up a keyboard of it’s own, maybe this keyboard’s design would scratch someone’s itch better. The only thing more important than getting PSPs into people’s hands is making sure they buy games and/or UMDs afterwards. Could a third-party keyboard really hurt?

If Sony is really worried about tightly controlling the user experience, couldn’t it simply put third party add-ons (like this one) through the same rigorous qualifying routine that it puts games through?

Anyone have better insight than I into Sony’s thinking?

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