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2010 Could Be PSP's Biggest Year -- Famitsu Boss

Hamamura says five million is a possibility for Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd was one of the most popular games at September's Tokyo Game Show. Capcom had over 100 kiosks available, but tickets to play disappeared within an hour of the show's opening.

This is one of those things that may be difficult to grasp for players outside of Japan, but in Japan PSP is one of the hottest systems. It's neck-and-neck with the DS at the top of the weekly hardware charts, and it's getting many of the biggest releases.

Don't take my word for it, though. Here's a bit of what Hirokazu Hamamura, CEO of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, had to say at the fall edition of his semi annual game industry seminar targeting mainstream press and analysts. Famitsu.com posted a summary of the speech, which was held on the 8th.

"This year will be the PSP's biggest year," said Hamamura. The system recently crossed the 15 million sold mark, and considering the upcoming releases, he expects it to keep on extending its sales total.

The system has seen a boost in third party titles, with such games as Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Felyne Village in the first half of the fiscal year. Hamamura cites two major factors as the background for this increase. First, third party software hasn't done well on Nintendo DS and Wii. Additionally, because of development costs, third parties aren't increasing their lines of development for HD machines.

Hamamura made note of a number of major titles for the rest of the year (through March), including Lord of Arcana, God Eater Burst, Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity, Black Panther Yakuza New Chapter (already released), Tactics Ogre and The 3rd Birthday.

But Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is, needless to say, the biggest game. "Selling five million units is not a dream," said Hamamura. This would be about one million more than Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, but Hamamura feels the game will benefit from a strong multiplayer gaming market and also the increased awareness for series due to Poka Poka Felyne Village.

Felyne Village, a spinoff of the series that lets players experience life as the Felyne mascot characters (who accompany on your hunts in the main games) has shipped 500,000 copies. Capcom recently said that the game's audience is 50% female, a figure that was achieved (according to Capcom) by offering beginner-friendly gameplay and tie-ups with Hello Kitty.

This isn't the first time Hamamura has mentioned "five million" in connection with Portable 3rd. He said a similar thing, in the Spring edition of this seminar. He previously predicted five million units for Dragon Quest IX.

"The PSP will expand its market," predicted Hamamura for the end of the year.

Sony and Capcom are giving Monster Hunter Portable 3rd a PSP bundle with a slightly tuned PSP system (note the indented analogue pad and the Felyne paw print-shaped speaker holes).

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