Ubisoft has urged Sony to act quickly to stop publishers abandonning the PSP as a viable format.

Rob Cooper, Ubisoft's UK managing director, has spoken out against the handheld console, saying that the format lacks direction, is too technical for the mainstream consumer and is ultimately, over-priced.

"I think that Sony is disappointed with sales and it's unsure as to which way to take it," said Cooper in an interview.

"Sony needs to show us a bit more about what its plans are to convince the publisher to invest lots more money into it. Especially when you've got the DS selling at such a tremendous pace.

"I suppose it's almost too technical for the casual person, those that are buying the DS at the moment, who want a few buttons and not a lot more. It's so simple what [Nintendo] has done. That's where I think Sony has gone a little bit too complicated, they've over-specced it, the price is too high and they need to go back to the drawing board and start again," he added.

Cooper doesn't even believe that pricing is the problem here, but more that Sony has not been clear in the direction it wants to take the console.

"I don't think it's a pricing issue," he admitted. "As a publisher I'll always say pricing is not the first point of call. I don't think dropping the price of games is going to sell more product or hardware.

"It's direction, a real strategic decision by Sony as to what it wants to do with that product. It's a great shame that sales are at the level they are, because you've got a hardware system that is absolutely beautiful."

Ubisoft has no games planned for the PSP this year, but Cooper insists that this doesn't mean Ubisoft won't produce games for the format in the future. That, he says, is down to Sony properly identifying its audience and moving the system out of "no man's land".

"There are ongoing discussions with Sony about what its decisions and strategies are, how they are going to go forward.

"Certainly, we still see it as a viable format. But we're not developing too many games on it until we get some direction. They've got to decide what they want to do with it, and come out clearly and say, 'this is our strategy, this is our process and this is how publishers can get behind it'."

"At the moment they are in no man's land, they're not sure quite how to tackle the DS competition and who is the PSP consumer. They've got to sort that out first," he said.

Just a month ago, Sony's European president David Reeves admitted that the PSP was suffering from a lack of games and consumers were choosing the DS instead.

However, despite diminishing performance here, Japanese sales for the PSP have increased recently, with now over 1.5 million consoles sold.