PAX '09 - Sony PSP Digital Comics Player Hands-On

In a cozy hospitality suite across the street from , Sony showed off their upcoming <a href=>digital comics player</a> for the PlayStation Portable. The control scheme is very robust, almost to the point of being complicated for new users. However, it gets easier to use after a relatively short amount of time.

Almost all of the device’s buttons, d-pad and analog stick configured differently to allow for manipulating each comic page so it can be seen with detail on the small PSP screen. An optional auto-play feature, however, takes the reader through the comic in a manner directed by the comic’s publisher, and at a custom pace, to avoid any sequence breaking problems. Although there is no audio component to the digital comics player, users are able to play any music they have loaded on to the PSP while reading to provide their own soundtracks.

Content will be available from the PlayStation Store, although there is no word at this point if digital distribution will match print publication dates or merely be after-the-fact.

When browsing the store directly on the PSP, downloaded comics can be sorted by date of release, publisher, or series. Sony could confirm that publishers Marvel Comics (Marvel Zombies was loaded as the demo), iVerse (an established digital publisher that’s worked with Image, BOOM! Studios, Red 5 and Ape Entertainment on digital versions of their print comics), and IDW are on board. Pricing for individual issues and graphic novels has yet to be determined. The player will be available in December 2009 in the U.S. and some other countries, or early 2010 in other regions.

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