PSP2 Dev Kits Going Out to Studios?

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The next iteration of Sony’s handheld gaming platform could be a lot closer than we’ve been led to believe. Develop is reporting that the Playstation parent company’s seeding development hardware to gamemakers far and wide.

The only person sp far to go on record about PSP2 has been Shaun Himmerick at Netherrealm, the dev studio that rose from the ashes of the Mortal Kombat group at the late Midway Games. When asked by Industry Gamers about the possibility of the new MK appearing on current-gen handhelds, he said:

“We’re not launching day one on all consoles like that. We are looking at them; we have a PSP2 in the house and we’re looking at the engine, like what can it support. Always a big thing for us is the performance. We’re running at 60 fps, what can we do and do we have to build all the art assets over. We’re definitely looking at them. PSP2 looks like it’s a pretty powerful machine. We don’t have a 3DS system in house yet, but we’re looking to get one, and we’ll certainly look at what its power is.”

Other unsubstantiated reports also have prototypes for in-dev titles running at 60 FPS, a feat that some console games can’t even manage. Whatever its capabilities, we can probably that PSP2 will probably still rely on some sort of physical media, give the weak performance of  the download-only PSPGo and recent comments by Sony exec Kaz Hirai. In my recent interview with Scott Rohde, the SVP Worldwide Studios said that the company knows the demand is there for the next version of the Playstation Portable. But, no matter what they know, it looks like Sony’s not showing heir cards yet. And as a reminder, the Nintendo 3DS is set to arrive some time in early 2011 for the U.S.