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PlayStation (Games) Portables (Games)

PSP Reception Lukewarm in US? 594

Posted by Zonk
from the psp-stands-for-pretty-steep-price dept.
There are plenty of interesting takes available on Sony's new media/game console. The neat tricks seem to be the most popular. An Anonymous Coward writes "A blogger figured out how to batch convert e-books so they can be read on your PSP. Check out the guide here for a complete walkthrough on this method." Meanwhile, RyuuzakiTetsuya writes "PSP Vault has a great story on how to Use Non-Duo Memory Sticks on a PSP! The process involves using an adapter that's meant for a Sony Ericcson phone." Via Joystiq, a way to get Tivo content on your PSP. Out in the real world there is already talk of the opening weekend sales. Doomstalk writes "According to IGN sales of the PSP have been lukewarm, with many outlets selling as little as 10 out of the 80 units they received." The PSP is currently burning up the charts in Japan, though, where the console has been out for a while. Early adopters on a holiday weekend may not be the best yardstick. Official numbers from the first weekend of sales likely available on Monday.
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PSP Reception Lukewarm in US?

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  • EB Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BeatlesForum.com (545967) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @06:53PM (#12056926)
    I was at EB Games earlier today and one of the customers there asked the dude behind the counter if they had sold out of PSPs. The guy said no they still had plenty.
  • PSP Web Browser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech (107340) * <ken&kenwilliamsjr,com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @06:53PM (#12056927) Homepage Journal
    The hacks are already starting to role in. A web browser has been found in the PSP game Wipeout Pure.
    More info here: http://www.pspondering.com/ [pspondering.com]
  • Apparently (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2005 @06:56PM (#12056948)

    from a friend of mine who works in a game store says its the most returned gaming console in history (faults/dead pixels)

    of course anyone who knows Sony's gear thesedays its hardly suprising, their pro gear (broadcast) is still good but the consumer level gears build quality in the last 10/15 years has declined massively, i couldn't reccomend Sony anything for the average customer

    still the concept is nice, until my mobile phone kicks its ass in 2006

  • More tools (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:00PM (#12056976) Homepage Journal
    http://www.pspvideo9.com/

    "PSP Video 9 is a free PSP video conversion and management application. It can convert regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, etc) into PSP video files, as well as manage/copy these PSP video files between your PC and PSP."

    The market for the PSP could get a lot larger if the software keeps coming at this rate
  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:01PM (#12056986) Journal
    I felt the same way. But the DS really doesn't have any games going for it right now either. The only way I could justify it was by reasoning that Advanced Wars DS will be out for it soon. That game alone was enough to get me to buy a DS.

    But until then I'll keep enjoying my DS with this [jandaman.com] and this [pocketnes.org].
  • preorders and target (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alatesystems (51331) <chris@nOsPAm.talkingtoad.com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:02PM (#12056993) Homepage Journal
    I pre-ordered from EB and got mine. I was #30 on the list and they got 40. Everywhere else here is sold out....

    except Target.

    I'm convinced that no one shops at Target. Click here [textamerica.com] to see my picture commentary on it. I ended up getting Ridge Racer from Target, since everywhere else is sold out. Target has all the games and a few psp's left, because NO ONE shops there.

    With that said, Sony has done a horrible job of mismarketing/undermarketing. Almost none of my non-nerd friends even know what a PSP is. It's really sad. I've seen maybe one commercial total for it.

    They need to pimp it as the awesome media machine it is. I love mine, and I have Ridge Racer, Wipeout Pure, and Twisted Metal: Head-On.

    Playing on the actual internet from a handheld via WiFi in Twisted Metal is a truly awesome experience. Hopefully Sony will market it, but I guarantee you, this thing will be marketed by word of mouth/view of eye. The PSP is dead sexy and I guarantee you people will be asking me about it at school, since I'll be playing it before class starts and in between classes.
  • Re:American gamers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:02PM (#12056994)
    Or maybe folks are just tired of stacking up one more game console. I have two young teenagers and we could open a store with everything from the Ninenteno, Nindento 64........PlayStation 2, XBox, ad nauseum. My kids weren't interested in the PSP. I have to admit I expected them to coming begging for it but they showed little interest. So, that's $250 + games + peripherals saved (theoretically, anyway).
  • Sony never learns... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by victorhooi (830021) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:06PM (#12057012)
    Well, I recently bought a Sony MZ-NH1. The hardware side of the device is brilliant, but the software is quite frankly a piece of s*it...

    The DRM is annoying, if you record say, a lecture on the MD using analogue, it *deletes* your files on the MD on the 2nd upload, it randomly trashes tracks (ie breaks them into hundreds of 2-second tracks, which you have to manually join - and about 8% of those tracks are corrupted) - and because of the stupid encryption that Sony useds to prevent *gasp* copy protection (why they prevent analogue copies and not just digital is beyond me)

    SonicStage itself (the interface software) is a piece of badly coded rubbish - and the random encryption and DRM only makes it worse - if they spent half the time coding software as they did DRM to supposedly prevent copyright breaches (who on earth would buy a MD player to copy music? Most customers, judging by the minidisc forums are musicians or those like me recording lectures).

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, Sony has a history of , ever since MD over 10 years, Atrac3, then memory stick etc. pushing consumers into draconian, proprietary technologies that both rake in more money, and preserve their music sales (stupid idea, since people who copy music will just buy an mp3 player, which hurts them twice - they lose MD sales, and their original idea of protecting copyright is a failure right away).

    I only hope that efforts to free up the PSP carry over into other Sony technologies, like the Vaio (don't own one, but I feel for those who have to put up wiht the SS/Memory Stick issues), MD, Clie etc.

  • Re:PSP Web Browser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dealsites (746817) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:06PM (#12057015) Homepage
    Here is a link with more details about the hidden browser: http://www.fumanchuu.com/pspdev/ [fumanchuu.com]
    --
    Hot deals updated every few minutes every minutes! [dealsites.net]
  • by Upaut (670171) * on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:08PM (#12057026) Homepage Journal
    Until I played Lumines for one minute on a PSP at my local gaming store. The sheer addictivness of this game alone makes me desperatly want a PSP, but without the financial means to aquire it. It is a wonderful system, it has a nice feel, as opposed to the slightly clunky nature of the nintendo DS...
  • The PSP had a (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenZoate (19607) <brshelton.fadedsky@com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:08PM (#12057029)
    less than huge launch. At my place of employment we recieved in 40 units, and sold 2 on Thursday. The company wanted us to sell out of them by noon, similar to the DS launch before Christmas. I know the local Best Buy, EB Games, Gamestop, were all sold out, but people do generally not come to Toys R Us for the big video game launches. So if you are looking for a PSP hit the local Toys R US, they probally still have some in stock.
  • by nate nice (672391) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:20PM (#12057092) Journal
    I'm not sure I'll ever buy either system. Portable gaming isn't something I must have really. But, on the unlikely chance I do, I think a DS is more innovative. The PSP has a boatload of cool gimmicks (and trust me, my roommate is trying to take advantage of all of them..he doesn't know how he lived without portable anime 2 days ago, heh) but the DS has the 2 screens which can lead to really neat ideas in games, plus the one screen is a touch screen. Also, I've always been about a system that does one thing and tries to do it well. The PSP might really play games well eventually but it's not worth the price. It's substandard as a movie player, MP3 player, etc so I would only buy it for games. It lacks here right now too and even if it didn't, the price is too high I think.

    In the end, I think a DS will offer more innovation for game play.
  • by N5 (804512) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:20PM (#12057094)
    I've been to numerous stores today, and each place had plenty of the units. By the looks of it some places had sold as little as 2 or 3. Worse part still is the fact that at all the places I saw like 2 people maximum looking at them. It's release was front page news in the local paper with quotes such as "It's the biggest realease in seven years, since the Xbox" (this was a gamestop employee, who obviously can't count) and claiming they were sold out. Mabie they were, but no other place I was to were. The DS launch was far better sales wise, most places having only games but no units.

    Very suprising, but that launch lineup wasn't exactly stellar. (DS was no better, but still...)
  • by PxM (855264) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:21PM (#12057095)
    As with many console launches, I think a big problem here is the games. This happened with the DS too since their selection was limited (Mario DS and Metroid are the only two good ones from what I've heard) even though they have their GBA games to fall back on. Since the DS is less expensive, can also do movies, MP3s and ebooks using Movie Player Advance, people don't seem to want to spend the $100 extra for it. Both companies want to create a new industry around downloading content over WiFi and other non videogame things so they seem to be holding out on their initial releases. It might be better to wait six months and see which side has better stuff.

    --
    Want a free iPod? [freeipods.com]
    Or try a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
    Wired article as proof [wired.com]
  • by acidream (785987) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:22PM (#12057100) Homepage
    I went to Target in Burbank CA, at about 9:30 to pickup God of War, and they had about 20 PSPs. I went back after work, about 7:30 to pick up something I forgot, and I noticed one PSP gone from the display case. I asked the guy if they restocked the shelves, and he said no. But the weird thing was, the bestbuy two stores down was sold out. Maybe people didn't think to try Target. The way I see it, the PSP is going to be there tommorrow, the next day and next month, so I'm going to sit on it for a while and see how it plays out.
  • by starling (26204) <strayling20@gmail.com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:27PM (#12057122)
    I wondered if I was the only one who'd noticed that. How anyone can be so consistently wrong is a mystery to me.

    BTW, here's the link to the story : http://www.technewsworld.com/story/news/41790.html [technewsworld.com]

    And another totally insane quote:

    "People are literally foaming at the mouth to get their hands on it," he said. "It will likely take the place of the iPod as the next cool thing."

    Take the place of the iPod? I want some of what he's smoking.
  • took the plunge (Score:4, Interesting)

    by viniosity (592905) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:32PM (#12057154) Homepage Journal
    Well, I bought one.. the first time I've *ever* bought anything purely for gaming. My mobile phone stores 512MB of music but since it's a pain to get them into ogg format for oggplay [sourceforge.net] (the native MP3 player on my phone stinks) I decided that the PSP would be worth the investment. In addition to gaming, I get to store oodles of songs that I can actually listen to on an airplane since it's not a phone.

    What pushed me over the edge to buy it is definitely the potential. In addition to some of the things linked already, the register has an article about a potential email and web browser [theregister.co.uk] which, when combined with this keyboard [gameseek.co.uk] that popped up, might just make me think twice about upgrading my laptop.

    Email/web browser aside, I'd love to see writeable UMDs come out though some how I doubt sony would give up the memory stick market so easily. Still, that would definitely make this a killer gadget IMHO.

    Oh, and the games are fun too.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:32PM (#12057155) Homepage
    Maybe because gamers like myself are tired of the same old rehashed games ported over. Basically what Nintendo and Sony have done is take their old game system and shrink it down to a portable. Port games = double profit for suckers.

    Note: Sega did this with their GameGear. It was just a Master System compressed in a handheld. In fact, the hardware was so identical, you could get a PCB bridge and attach Master System carts to your GameGear.

    Please *sigh*
  • by maynard (3337) <j.maynard.gelina ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:33PM (#12057159) Journal
    And yeah - I like it a lot. However, it's quite apparent that the unit isn't selling like hotcakes. Every store I went to had plenty of stock available (Sears, Best Buy, EB Games, Target). What wasn't available were copies of Luminens and Ridge Racer, I had to poke through numerous stores in order to find copies of both.

    The unit is beautiful and worth the money. Why isn't it selling? I don't know, but I'll hazard a few guesses:

    a) No display units available. Not a single store of those four had a display unit to show potential buyers. Few people are willing to shell out $250 for a game device they've never seen perform.

    b) It's a bit too expensive. Yes, it's worth the money for what you get, but it isn't cheap for a toy.

    c) Game selection is limited. Yes, sixteen titles on launch. But only a few were selling well, and two (Luminens and Ridge Racer) were selling out.

    So... am I glad I bought the unit? Yes! And oh yeah, did I buy the "rip off" Best Buy two-year protection plan? Yes! (hey, the damn thing has moving parts!) Now... time to check out that ebook thingy I saw in the article header. --M
  • Price is an issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Propaganda13 (312548) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:18PM (#12057384)
    I really think Sony made a mistake when it comes to promoting this in the US. The portable game markets belongs to parents with kids. A parent with 2 kids will slap down the $250 for 2 Gameboys and 2 games, but will might stall on just one PSP for the same price or dropping $600 on 2 PSP w/ games.
    Now, if Sony pushed it as a PDA, MP3, Video, e-book, etc and add the ability to slap in a CF card or microdrive. Hotcakes! Of course, Sony fears losing control/money on non-proprietary storage.
  • Re:More tools (Score:4, Interesting)

    by waynelorentz (662271) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:25PM (#12057415) Homepage
    The problem is that it doesn't work that well, if at all. I've tried four or five programs that promise to convert video into a format the PSP can eat. They are all as buggy as alphaware, and all appear to be just front-ends for ffmpeg. I've tried both Windows and OS X versions of these prorams, and not one has managed to make a file the PSP will recognize as anything but "corruped data."

    iPSP is the slickest and the one I wish would work most. PSPVideo9 is the one that got closest to producing a useable file. But the file when played on the PSP showed just a black screen, controls and on-screen display worked, but nothing played and the PSP crashed. Still, it did better than the other programs which crash while still on the computer.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:41PM (#12057483) Homepage Journal
    Part of the problem is the bundling, without the bundle of stuff not everyone needs (headphone, MS Duo, remote control and other stuff), the PSP would sell for $200, closer to the Japanese price for the unbundled PSP.

    Some nifty apps are showing up for the PSP, so it could really outsell the DS like it is in Japan.

    Two issues concerned me, one was the rampant stuck pixel issue, and the other was one of the buttons occasionally not working properly in the Japanese version. Sony doesn't think either are a problem, well, that's fine, I try not to buy products with such obvious flaws.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:48PM (#12057514)
    There will be no UMD-R. This is Sony's solution to ripped games. Even the game developers do not get a UMD-R, they have to send their completed games to Sony to get UMDs to test (the devkits upload code directly).
  • by Taulin (569009) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:19PM (#12057669) Homepage Journal
    I totally agree that size is a big factor for Japanese gamers..

    1) On trains. I spent an average of 3 hours on the train going to and from work. I read lots of books and finished lots of GB games.

    2) I picked up my XBox in Japan when it was first released there. When friends came over to look at it they said, and I kid you not, 'I don't have the room for that'. At the time I was living a little outside Tokyo in a bigger than average studeo. Later I moved into Tokyo, and rented an appartment I could literatlly stretch out and touch both sides of. XBox did not come with me, Cube and GB did.

  • Dead Pixels (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:21PM (#12057679) Homepage Journal
    My friend got his PSP the day it came out (reserved one at GameStop). When he turned it on, he noticed he has 2 dead pixels, but since he bought the insurance on it, he's gonna return it for another as soon as they restock them.

    In this area (Northern NJ), all the stores pretty much are sold out. They're quite the hot item. In NY, they've been nearly impossible to find, but everyone seems to have plenty of games in stock.

    The thing that surprises me is that, even though Sony says the PSP is region-free, the games have a region code on them. I got my PSP in january (ordered from japan) and I'm able to play US games without any issues, but I can't play that SpiderMan2 movie that came with my friend's PSP. It's quite depressing.
  • by melted (227442) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:38PM (#12057775) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be cool if they released an SDK for indie game studios, and other folks who want to write useful software for this thing. Even better, release UMD recorders and sell UMD media.

    But no, this won't happen before hell freezes over, thaws and then freezes again, complete with flying pigs and everything. Except if Microsoft releases a WinCE based portable gaming console. :0)
  • by waynelorentz (662271) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:56PM (#12057862) Homepage
    You are very correct about the whole parents/rent thing. Many in Japan are afraid of losing an entire generation because they're not only afraid to leave their parents' home, they're not leaving their rooms. I forget what the term is for these people, but they fulfill the Slashdot stereotype of 30-somethings in their parents' basements never seeing light. Some form of mass agoraphobia. One news article I read put the estimate over a million. On the other hand, the depressed American economy is nothing compared to the depressed Japanese economy. It's been in the dumper for over a decade and every day the headlines make it seem worse. There are ads everywhere for legitimate big-time banks loaning money to people at zero percent interest, just to get them as customers. It's partially government incentives to get the economy moving, but after ten years it's gong to take more than than. I heard that the US release only had 10 or 11 titles. That sucks. I can understand the disappointment, especially considering everything I read on IGN and elsewhere said it would be in the 20-24 range. There are probably 40 or 50 games available in Japan, and many are very playable even if you can't read Japanese. There are a few American companies like YesAsia.com (I'm not in any way related to them, not even a customer) that sell Japanese PSP titles in the U.S. From what I've seen the prices are virtually identitcal to the Japanese prices.
  • Patents (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:04PM (#12057902) Homepage Journal

    a PDA manufacturer needs to realise that 8-way pad & analog stick and a couple of fire buttons would go a long way towards making the PocketPC the mobile gaming platform of choice

    Only now is Nintendo's patent on the D-pad running out.

    entry-level models that are full-featured (3D accelerator and such), affordably priced - and also aimed at gamers.

    In general, the wholesale price of a new video game system is pretty close to cost of goods sold. Console makers typically fund research and development with bootloader royalties paid by publishers. Do you expect the entry-level models to restrict the 3D accelerator such that only licensed titles can access it?

  • by bonch (38532) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:04PM (#12057904)
    What Slashdot's summary fails to mention is last year's DS sales were 1.5 million......
  • by ewhac (5844) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:09PM (#12057928) Homepage Journal
    [Disclaimer: I work for Tapwave, Inc., makers of the Zodiac.]

    So, let's see here. For $250, you get a cool-looking but big and chunky thing that's a closed platform with proprietary media formats and only a handful of games.

    On the other hand, for just $20 more, you can get a Tapwave Zodiac with:

    • 32M RAM,
    • two SD (not MemoryStick) slots,
    • higher resolution touchscreen display,
    • built-in MP3 player,
    • bundled video player from Kinoma,
    • full PalmOS v5 compatibility,
    • wider selection of games,
    • wireless connectivity and multiplayer gaming via Bluetooth,
    • no copy protection/DRM nonsense imposed on your media files,
    • metal casework, and,
    • small enough to comfortably fit in your pocket.

    It also supports Web browsing and POP/IMAP email via Bluetooth networking or an 802.11b SDIO card (sold separately).

    All new platforms have teething pains, and Sony will undoubtedly be addressing the PSP's shortcomings over the following months (including its rather high price). But if you don't want to wait, or you'd rather have something you can actually comfortably carry around with you, you might want to amble on over to CompUSA or Fry's and take a look at the Zodiac.

    And I'm not just saying that because I work for them :-).

    Schwab

  • by cwestpha (854579) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:00PM (#12058126)
    1) its extreamly expencive and you are forced to buy a bundle at launch 2) poor advertising, most people dont know what the PSP is or that it was coming out. 3) no must have game 4) reports of 6% defective rate from the japan launch. The claimed .6% was way to low as some stores have stated almost 10% of return rater in Japan after launch. (dead pixles, dust behind screen, defective buttons, UMDs poping out, even a few PSP fires) 5) people know better then to buy a Sony product before the first revision. 5) No must have game.
  • by inkless1 (1269) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:26PM (#12058219) Homepage
    These are all reasons why the Zodiac got named my underdog of the year [blogspot.com].

    Personally, I'd rather have a powerful PDA that can game and play media... and that I can code for - rather than powerful gaming platform that isn't a PDA and can play media that I can't.
  • by rpdillon (715137) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:13AM (#12058396) Homepage
    The posts I always disagree most with always seem to be yours. I only notice who wrote it afer I think "Wow, I totally disagree!" No flame intended, I just think it is kind of funny that it keeps happening.

    As far as the substance...I picked up a PSP and it really is a beautiful thing. WipeOut Pure and Lumines are both amazing.

    I think the PSP is just a little ahead of its time. As more software comes out for it and manufacturing costs come down, I think we will see that it has a much longer shelf life than the DS. Flash capacity will increase, and people may actually being to carry these for serious movies and music, besides just high quality gaming. The screen has better resolution than a conventional TV (I think it's high def...it looks amazing).

    Sure, it's not cheap, but hardware designed to be competitive in two years never is. The DS, on the the other hand, is just a hold over until the next gameboy rolls out. Nintendo was doing something quite different with the DS than Sony was with the PSP. For their respective timelines, I'd say they made pretty good decisions. The PSP is clearly meant to be longer lived than the DS, and the DS is clearly meant to be more affordable. And it is. Of course, we have to wait and see if the PSP will be longer lived. =)
  • PSP (Score:2, Interesting)

    by agtwilight (325275) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:45AM (#12058510)
    I really like the unit. Its got an amazing display and the controls work well. The games are being made for 10-20 minute fixes so its fun to pick up for a bit and put it back down...hard to do that with console games and PC games for the most part.

    Everything is working as advertised. Movies look amazing, games are fun. Its odd becuase you compare things to PS2 and then you go - but wait this is a console!

    I don't think any games will make you like a genre...ie if you like racing get racing games, RPG get UL, dynasty warriors...

    Lumi is great, its like tetris from hell with electonic dance music pumping.

    The bottom line is this - the day after I got it I passed the CEO of my company walking to a resturant - he stopped me and we talked about it for abit because the unit is flat out sexy and looks high class...I bet he goes and gets one he can't check his email very well lol.

    If you dont mind blowing some cash on games...just buy one - its sweet.

  • I'm Happy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by larryj (84367) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @12:51AM (#12058525)
    I bought a PSP on Thursday (launch day) at Wal-Mart. No one was camped out and I was the first person to buy one at that location. No dead pixels, but I think I'm going to exchange it as the left d-pad button is sticking when I play Lumines every once in a while (typically during "oh crap, I need this block way over THERE moments).

    After a few days of playing, I love it. Is it worth $250? That's very subjective, but I think so. I almost wish I had daily commute time that didn't involve driving because the PSP would be a no-brainer if you have an hour or so to kill on a train each day.

    I have 3 games, including the 2 which seem to be the 'hot' titles, Lumines, and Ridge Racer. I wanted to trade in some old games for Ridge Racer at EB Games or Gamestop, simply because I felt guilty for spending so much money on the PSP and 2 other games, but it was so hard to find that I jumped on the opportunity to pick it up at Target tonight.

    While shopping for other things with my wife this weekend, I came to the conclusion that it's safe to say that people who bought multiple PSPs with the intent to make a buck on eBay wasted their time and money. I've seen multiple PSPs for sale at Gamestop, Wal-Mart, Target and BJ's. Maybe the demand just isn't there, or maybe we can thank Sony for shipping a million of these things at launch to prevent eBay hoarders from ruining it for the rest of us.

    I have an iPod so music on the PSP wasn't that compelling to me. However, I did want to see how it handled music files, so I downloaded iPSP for the Mac and created a 'PSP' playlist in iTunes, consisting of an iTunes purchased song along with a regular mp3 file. I had added an album cover image to the mp3 by dragging an image from amazon.com to the song via iTunes. The DRM protected iTunes song wasn't even transferred over when I synced. At least it didn't show up in the PSP's music/memory card menu. The mp3 was there along with the album art. Sound quality was acceptable to me, but I didn't put too much thought into it as I knew I wouldn't be using the PSP for music anyway.

    While I probably won't use my PSP for viewing picture slideshows that often, it's a feature I'll use more than music playback. Much like music, iPSP uses iPhoto albums to transfer pics over to the PSP (you can't transfer individual photos over as far as I can tell). So, I transferred over a 'vacation favorites' album via iPSP. Along with video playback, viewing pictures on the PSP is where the LCD display really shines. Displayed pictures look incredible, although the widescreen format of the PSP means you'll have bars on the side unless you zoom the image. That's no fault of the PSP though.

    I only have the 32 meg memory stick that comes with the PSP, but I had to see what video looks like, so I downloaded a Star Wars Episode III trailer. Much like viewing pictures, the PSP display does not disappoint. Even more impressive is the Spider-Man 2 full-length movie that is bundled with the PSP. I can't see myself buying UMD movies, but the image quality is breathtaking. It looks as good as DVDs on my plasma although obviously in a smaller form (which might help hide any image quality issues). My wife, who doesn't care about this stuff but tolerates my gadget obesssion, commented about how she can't believe how good the image quality is.

    That leaves games. As I mentioned earlier, I guess I'm lucky to have found Lumines and Ridge Racer on release weekend. While the PSP is easy to find, these 2 titles seem to be somewhat hard to track down.

    I'm not a big fan of puzzle games. Tetris always seems to blow my mind once the pace picks up a bit and I can't think quick enough to move pieces into the appropriate place. The only 'puzzle' game that I really like is Bejeweled, probably because I can stop to think of what my next move is. I couldn't dismiss Lumines however after reading all of the great reviews. My first couple of games were frustrating, my brain refusing to think in terms of which way to f
  • by laird (2705) <lairdp AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:07AM (#12058578) Journal
    "I work retail, and our store received 60 PSP's and sold 10 the entire day."

    I am a gadget fiend, and I looked at PSP's at two stores today and didn't buy one.

    EB had the PSP in stock for $250, but had no demo units, though there were three employee units running movies against the wall behind the sales counter. Apparently they'd had a demo unit for people to test, and the unit got badly scratched so they stopped letting people see the PSP. As cool as the PSP looks from a distance, I'm not buying a $250 piece of electronics that I can't even hold first.

    Then I went to KB Toys. All of their units were boxed, so I couldn't even see one one. Even more insulting, they were so convinced that people would go crazy over the PSP that they refused to sell it except as a "bundle" with two games for $350. To add insult to injury, you had to pick one game from list 'A' and one from list 'B', so you were forced to buy a crappy game!

    If someone had let me hold a PSP for a minute, I'm sure that the unit would have sold itself. But with retailers this stupid, no wonder it's not selling.

    It kinda reminds me of a visit to an electronic retailer long ago when the 3DO was hot. The store had signage and a demo kiosk set up, but off. When I asked the salesman in the nearly empty videogame area, he said that he unplugged it because it attracted such large crowds that he couldn't do his job (which apparently didn't involve selling things to people). His stupidity lives on.

    So I can't say whether Sony did a good job launching the PSP (aside from NYC being blanketed in nice PSP posters), because the retailers were so braindead that the PSP never had a chance.
  • by bluk (791364) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:14AM (#12058602)
    If Sony doesn't back the PSP like a mainstream machine, it will be one of the stupidest things they've ever done. They're looking for a counter to the iPods and future video players. The PSP is it for them. You also don't launch a portable device against Nintendo on the spur of the moment. So far, Sony is doing pretty good considering that the device has the coolness factor, a gorgeous screen, decent launch games, many multimedia capabilities, etc.

    The PSP is also definitely the counter to the XBox 2/360. It buys Sony time because when Thanksgiving rolls around, the PSP should have great games and more importantly a price reduction. Really the only arguments against the PSP right now are centered around the price of the system, not on the device itself.

    Sony could probably do a launch of a PS3 by Christmas if they really wanted to. MSFT launching the next Xbox this year has definitely got to be on Sony's minds. The PS consoles are a big part of Sony's profits and I doubt they would just let MSFT steal the thunder with their next generation console. IMO, instead of confronting MSFT head on, Sony gets everyone's minds on the PSP and makes it the console to own this year. Then after the PSP has had a Christmas to itself, Sony can launch the PS3.

    Sony will back the PSP because they imagine it will be their next generation Walkman device. They want to take back the portable market. The PSP is not the end all device or anything remotely close, but Sony is taking a huge bet on it IMO because they envision it as being just as important as the Playstation itself.
  • by Jay Carlson (28733) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:20AM (#12058615)
    no copy protection/DRM nonsense imposed on your media files,

    From the author of everybody's favorite snow-on-the-workbench hack, I'd expect no less. (Is that too transparent an in-joke invitation to mod up? Guess we'll see.)

    However, I do expect more. I want no copy protection/DRM nonsense imposed on applications I've built myself, dammit.

    To use any of the Zodiac-specific functions in your app, you need to have it signed by Tapwave.

    Let's put that another way. Tapwave can veto the cool parts of any application that they don't like, or any application they're afraid of. And because they have that control, they may have to assert it.

    There was one recent case where Tapwave decided not to sign an emulator binary, no doubt due to the fear of a lawsuit from the original platform designer. As a result, that emulator can't run on a standard Zodiac. If Tapwave had, oh, a normal open platform like...Windows 95 then Tapwave could just shrug and say "our users are responsible for their own activities."

    But because you guys decided to create a mechanism (yes I know why) to provide an external, third-party control on what software uses what features on MY HARD-EARNED HARDWARE...you now are stuck making sure that you do apply that control mechanism in any way that could keep your company from plausibly getting sued.

    And you can get sued for anything in the US (thank god). But in today's climate it seems like you can get plausibly sued for more than you used to.

    Before you reply with something like "get the DAA" or "we'll sign almost anything, look at our track record", I'd like to point out that I have absolutely no guarantee that this will continue.

    If your company would like to make the above statements legally binding on you, your successor companies, and (god forbid) your liquidation proceedings, feel free. Until then, your company is only entitled to partial credit on the "our gaming platform is open" question.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:44AM (#12058685)
    You're right about the economy...

    It's not really that people haven't got enough dispossible income it's just that there is just too much competition created by the flood of products out there right now for it; while the amount that people used to spend has been drastically reduced by rents or housing or gas. After all; none of us *need* this stuff.

    As a consequence: Things are well and truly in the shit; for retail at least.

    I was a importer with holdings in a commercial shop with membership of the local trade association etc etc. Let me tell you with some degree of providence (or at least more then some kid who works at the local Toys R Us).

    We're Screwed.

    Things are the worst that I have seen with some 15 years of experience and further 30 from my partners and contacts in the industry.

    I can not stress this enough; At the local commercial strip every second shop is up for lease - understandable since takings have fallen to about half of what they were last year (average from about 6g to 4g, the rent for the shop is 3g - don't even get me started on the costing for payroll or stock). Chistmass, which traditionally saves you (normally you would take in the order of 20 to 40 grand the week before), was non-existent last year. A shop run by my friend, based in a shopping mall which means that his balls are well a truly in a vice, has a rent of about 4g it takes 3g.

    I will not lie to you...

    The problem is that China has sent everyone broke. mainly due to that bloody minded Asian mind set (in following a golden circle) that allows you to work endless hours without the slightest thought of how the hell they are going to move units at the end of the day, Coupled with a total and utter inability to provide any sort of refinement in quality or design, of the sort that a country like Japan is famous for; - means we now have a problem to supply far far outstripping demand killing any sort of realistic margin and diluting the market. As a consequence - There is such a glut of cheap product on the market now, that even a modern comsumerist society like America has not the slightest hope of *ever* clearing it all.

    I say this as a statement of fact and not from a soapbox of racism. We, the west, are seen as a resource to be exploited by the Chinese for their own wealth. Fine; but all resources eventually run out and we hit that wall about the middle of last year.

    Added to this is an adimistration who rather then setting up controls so that there is a least some hope of clearing all this product just whats to buy favor for trade kickbacks and the short term benefit of corporations; being your Wallmarts, Best Buys of the world.

    If I sound bitter it is because I am, This year I've gone broke, had my car repossed, and had to take on a delivery job where I work 70 hours a week just to pay off my mortgage - of which I see none of. I can't even afford a set of movie tickets at the moment do you think I could care less about some stupid toy??

    It has gotten so bad that the guy I used to import from based in Fiji, is also going out the backdoor. Due exclusively to the creation of favored trade agreements with China - This is a guy whose average wage is a dollar a day. Disgusting.

    Do you remember about five years ago when you had conservatives proclaiming that it takes at least five to six years for economic policy to have an effect; guess what - They were right.
  • CompUSA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2005 @02:00AM (#12058779)
    My local CompUSA in Fountain Valley was sold out as of 6:00PM Friday night.
  • by Pingsmoth (249222) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @02:46AM (#12058934) Homepage
    My cousin/roommate is in charge of security at a Target store. They had him come in early to do (his words) "crowd control" for the PSP launch. Not only was no one there for the launch, but they sold two that entire morning. He's not even sure what a PSP is.

    Sony dropped the ball when it came to marketing this thing, and they dropped the ball on the price tag. Sure it's a bargain, and it's probably got $400 worth of actual hardware in it, and it has a lot of potential, but at the end of the day you still have to convince Joe-sumer to spend $250 on a big game boy.
  • by Wonderkid (541329) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @04:20AM (#12059143) Homepage
    The Americans are being savvy. After all, the screens and graphics drivers on Pocket PC, Palm and some of the latest phones may not match the PSP but they are good enough quality to play games. And not to mention the more versatile touch screen equipped Tapwave Zodiac. The issue here is people do not want to carry around yet another device. The PSP is not versatile enough. There is no hard drive (silly), no Bluetooth to allow for phone functionality and without a communications OS infrastructure, no way to manage your contacts for multiplayer gameplay, something 'phones' do out of the box. The phone will become the game platform, not the other way around. Why? Cost of entry.
  • by superpulpsicle (533373) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @10:09PM (#12063316)
    I know a number of people who are interested in one. However, they are all waiting for the price to drop if not tank. Consumers are not stupid. We've learned the lessons of buying a PS2 for double the price on first week launch.

    Manufacturers want to expand the demand by limiting supply, make us pre-order, pay upfront so they can rack up the interests. Those days are over. Less and less people care to buy games/system on the first day.

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