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PlayStation (Games) Portables (Games)

PSP Reception Lukewarm in US? 594

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 @07:53PM (#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.
    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:32PM (#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 bonch ( 38532 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:48PM (#12057828)
        From the summary:

        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.

        Translation: As a former editor of the Slashdot games section, I spent hundreds of dollars on a PSP last week and feel the need to defend it in a front page article. :)
        • by rpdillon ( 715137 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:13AM (#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. =)
          • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:21AM (#12058429)
            I don't have any issues with the PSP technically, and I almost picked one up last week. $250 is just too rich for my blood for a portable. I do own a DS, and I felt much better about that purchase because not only did I get Super Mario 64, but I was able to play all of my vast library of GBA games on a brighter and clearer screen.

            Personally, I'm waiting for Grand Theft Auto to come out before I decide if I want a PSP or not.
    • Re:EB Games (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrlpz ( 605212 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:42PM (#12057490)
      And from talking to my Mgr friend at EB.... SCEA actually sent out an email to all EB district managers stating UNEQUIVOCABLY that it would not accept as "defective returns" units that had dead pixels. The fact that Sony tries to slight this off when just a few months ago Nintendo came out publicly saying that they would REPLACE any DS's that had screens with blown pixels, is such a disappointment. I smell CLASS-ACTION ( anyone know a good class action lawyer ? ). Before any of the fanboys descend on me.....I have both. I like the DS alot, but I'm still waiting for the games ( the Metroid Prime teaser level is getting old now ). The PSP has an incredible screen ( except for the REALLY noticeable dead spots ). I have to agree with folks that Sony needs to produce UMD-R's. But more importantly, it needs to own up to the dead pixel issues. No excuses.....
  • PSP Web Browser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech ( 107340 ) * <{moc.rjsmailliwnek} {ta} {nek}> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:53PM (#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]
  • by bman08 ( 239376 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:53PM (#12056929)
    There aren't any PSPs at my EB or else I would have dropped three hundred bucks that I don't have.
  • Apparently (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:56PM (#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

    • by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:55PM (#12057263) Homepage
      still the concept is nice, until my mobile phone kicks its ass in 2006

      Wow. That's going to be one big mobile phone to handle a screen that large. How will you fit it in your pocket? I guess the up side is that the vibrate function could be exponentially stronger.
    • Dead Pixels (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MyDixieWrecked ( 548719 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:21PM (#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.
  • Supply vs. Demand. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanityspeech ( 823537 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @07:58PM (#12056962) Journal
    From the IGN article:
    I work retail, and our store received 60 PSP's and sold 10 the entire day. Outside of hardcore gaming stores, I was curious to find out if that was just an anomaly, or the standard. I actually had many people come up and talk to me about it, but balked at the price of $249.99.
    This is a classic case of supply exceeding demand. Just knowing that Sony is willing to go for such a price point was enough of a turn-off for me. For that price, I am willing to wait a year or two before getting one.

    ...from the psp-stands-for-pretty-steep-price dept...

    You can say that again.
    • 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 pr
    • by laird ( 2705 ) <lairdp@GAUSSgmail.com minus math_god> on Sunday March 27, 2005 @02:07AM (#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.
      • 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.

  • by LokieLizzy ( 858962 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:00PM (#12056972)
    it's not surprising that these things aren't selling like hotcakes. What with the 18-29 crowd buying their iPods and flashy digital cameras, not to mention required payments of the rent (or tuition if you're in college), food, and *life*, it's hard for the average Joe or Jane to choke out an extra 250 for a system which can't do half of the things it's advertized to do without pumping out another 80 dollars for a couple of games, or a larger memory chip.

    The thing's far too expensive to justify whatever niftiness it may hold.

    • by Stalyn ( 662 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:23PM (#12057103) Homepage Journal
      Tokyo is one of the most expensive places live (actually the most) yet everyone there has some new fangled phone or electronic device. The success I think on the PSP has less to do with economy and more with culture.

      • by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:16PM (#12057369) Homepage
        A good point about the culture. Also, remember people in Japan pay a lot in rent, but not so much for decorating their homes as Americans since there's less home to decorate and culturally they don't hang as much crap on the walls. I think they're more apt to dispose of their disposable income on gadgets.

        That said, in my time in Tokyo I saw exactly ONE Playstation Portable. This was about three weeks ago. A girl was playing Lumines on the subway. I was sucked in just watching it and the next day I plopped down my credit card at Yodobashi Camera.

        They seemed to be selling well, though. In the time it took me to decide which games to buy with it, they sold three other units. And this was four months after the initial release. Make of that what you will.
        • by Taulin ( 569009 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:19PM (#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.

    • It's a very good point. $250 is sort of the upper range of the "nifty gadget" price point. Want an mp3 player, iPod even? They're cheaper.

      Want to play games? DS is cheaper.

      Want a cool digital camera? Also, cheaper.

      Even portable DVD players are cheaper, considering you don't need to buy extra media. (For example [google.com]).

      Had this come out in November... maybe it would've sold in a similar manner to hot cakes. I don't think this is going to take over Nintendo's throne in that market. When I first heard the price,
  • More tools (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar ( 772313 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:00PM (#12056976) Homepage Journal

    "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
    • Re:More tools (Score:5, Informative)

      by jeffehobbs ( 419930 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:37PM (#12057172) Homepage

      For Mac OS X, I tried the two major Mac PSP sync apps, iPSP [kaisakura.com] and PSPWare [nullriver.com].

      After testing the two, I preferred PSPWare -- and immediately paid the US$10 to register. It synced up my iTunes mp3 playlists and iPhoto libraries easily, and has a dead-simple movie conversion and sync function.

      Very elegant software, nice work.

    • this site does it in linux..


      btw, anyone know about psp video 9 breaking GPL, using ffmpeg without offering the source code?
    • Re:More tools (Score:4, Interesting)

      by waynelorentz ( 662271 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:25PM (#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.
  • 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 PS
    • It's true, Target in Florence, SC STILL has a copy of WoW Collectors Edition.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:54PM (#12057260) Homepage
      Target is generally one of the better places to look when a game / system sells out. Their electronics department is pretty well stocked, and they always overestimate demand, as it doesn't cost them shelf-space. They're also good about sending stuff back, so it isn't much of a risk to them. And when a system fails, target clears out of a lot of them... cheap.

      Another great place to look is Sears. Yes, Sears. Yes, most Sears sell games. Generally Sears has a random assortment of games that are old and frequently out of print. Not intentionally, mind you, it's just that nobody buys games at Sears. Hence, if you want a copy of, say, Ikaruga for the Game Cube, the chance that it will be at Sears is much higher than other places with a real software sales department and turn over rate.

      Costco was also good for this reason, though I haven't been in one in years.

      If you're willing to pay full price, a lot of big music chains decided to get into games, not realizing that there wasn't as much crossover as they thought. Many of their game departments are disused, and full of little gems that went out of print a long time ago. They're generally not cheap: full price or more, but if you're really looking for a copy of something out of print, they're a great place to pop in.

      Newberry Comics also has very cheap games. Generally, look for stores that have no business selling games, but who might have thought games were "hip" and decided to try and sell them. Or big chains that have all departments, therefore electronics departments, therefore they sell games. Some of these cater exclusively to a 50+ crowd who by and large don't buy many games, and as such are frequently overstocked.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:47PM (#12057508) Homepage Journal
      I'm convinced that no one shops at Target.
      Absolutely. They only have revenues of $50 billion and a net profit of $2 billion. Boy, they better get their act together!
  • of seeing the word "blogger" everywhere?

    "A blogger figured out how to batch convert e-books so they can be read on your PSP."

    I mean, I like embracing new words as much as the next guy, but from the elections (where "blog" was the word of choice for the media), to talk of the PSP, I just don't *need* to see that word everywhere

  • 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

  • Demand could be as much as 12 times that of the initial 1 million supply, predicted Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group

    So that's it then - the thing's dead in the water.
    • I would have to agree, I used to spend a lot of effort researching each of my purchases. I would spend days scouring the Internet for reviews from every viewpoint, make multiple trips to stores to "touch and feel" every aspect, post numerous questions on message boards, etc.. But no more, these days I just wait to see if Rob Enderle or John Dvorak like it, and if they do I avoid it like the plague. I have a lot more free time to waste around here and don't make post as many auctions. Whew, thanks Rob Enderl
      • 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.htm l [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.

  • by Zetta Matrix ( 245803 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:07PM (#12057023)
    At $249.99, there better be a handful of games I just can't live without. For me, there are none. This changes with the introduction of new titles and price drops on the PSP itself. At $149.99, I could see buying it for only 2-3 games (with the expectation of more).
  • by Upaut ( 670171 ) * on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:08PM (#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...
    • by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:30PM (#12057145) Journal
      "Until I played Lumines for one minute on a PSP at my local gaming store. The sheer (sic)addictivness of this game alone makes me (sic)desperatly want a PSP..."

      Your feelings are confused right now. You're not addicted to a game after playing it for 1 min. The feeling you have is called *impulse* and is the worst feeling a consumer can succumb to.
    • I myself am even more looking forward to meteos on NDS, made by the same people, and it got a 38/40 on famitsu (an amazing score, 6 point higher than lumines iirc).
    • by yamcha666 ( 519244 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:43PM (#12057201)
      If you can't afford the PSP and instead, can afford the DS, or already have one, there is a similar game like Lumines out in Japan right now.

      It is called Meteos. It was made by the same guy who made Lumines, Rez, and Space Channel. You can order it from Lik-Sang [lik-sang.com] for about $50 USD w/ free shipping at the moment. It can play on the US NDS's too. And supports Download Play so you and your friends can play each other in mini-renditions of the game.

      My friend ordered it last week, and he's been going bonkers on me waiting for it to show up.

      • Another popular puzzle game out i Japan is called "One-line puzzle" for the DS. It's being brought overseas with the new name "Polarium [ign.com]". It's to be released on April 18th, 2005.

        Meteos should be released in North America "Sometime in 2005." At least we know when we'll get polarium.
  • The PSP had a (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BenZoate ( 19607 ) <brshelton.fadedsky@com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:08PM (#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.
    • Re:The PSP had a (Score:3, Insightful)

      They say that timing is everything. I think the PSP might be a good example of this. It should have been released before Christmas when people were ready to spend money, not in the heat of tax season when people are worried about their financial future. Sony probably couldn't make enough units to feed both Japan and the United States, and chose not to take a dump in their own backyard. But it might bite them in the end. I got my PSP in Japan a while back, and I love it. But I can understand why some p
  • by DemonWeeping ( 849974 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:12PM (#12057052) Homepage
    The PSP would be a fantastic handheld with it's brilliant screen and fantastic hardware... ...except... They need to make UMD-R. Seriously. I am not going to pay 50%+ more (versus SD) for a 1G Memory Stick Duo that will not work in any other device I own just so I can carry around some extra media. Come on Sony. Didn't you learn your lesson about propriatary formats yet?
  • Apparantly this Lumines game is pretty hot - anyone actually played it?

    I hope it runs linux in the near future. Even if it's only got 32 Megs of storage space, that's still enough room for a few libraries an emulator and a couple of roms, right?
    • I got Lumines the other day... I bought the PSP totally on impulse. I bought it at Wal-Mart simply because Wal-Mart will accept just about anything as a return for any reason. So if i determine it sucks, I'll just take it back.

      Lumines is really addictive. You start playing, and then the game ends and the clock says like 15 minutes have passed... and you barely realize it. It's a nice game.

      All in all, its a REALLY slick system. Wipeout Pure is also really really good. I think when they start putting out fi
  • When you go out in public and randomly tell girls/children/elderly couples "I've got something in my pocket, it's 7 inches, and I'm ready to play" they don't think you're a pervert...
  • I bought a PSP so I could play Lumines. It's the only game I own for the thing, and will likely keep me occupied for some time.

    Lumines is awesome. Hopefully more people will grok its awesomeness than did its predecessor, Rez (which is arguably even more awesome).
  • This isn't posted as the typical /. really lame gag, but an honest question.

    The PSP has a great screen, built in WiFi and a USB 2.0 port. If someone can shoehorn Linux onto it, I'd consider one, along with a USB keyboard.

  • by N5 ( 804512 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:20PM (#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 @08:21PM (#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]
  • 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 a
  • I wanted to get one, but last few times it wasnt out yet. Didnt even it was out, didnt see any commericals or news..

    Maybe thats why? Guys at work all want one, been talking about it for awhile.
  • ... thanks to Sony's choice to proprietarize the UMD rather than just using a mini DVD in a caddy. I can pretty much guarantee that nobody's gonna rebuy movies for this thing, at least in the US. Yeah, you could put movies on a mildly less proprietary Memory Stick, but teens aren't gonna have the $$$ for tons of 512MB sticks..

    Of course, the geek bandolier squad will come out with the whole 'single purpose devices are better' argument, and I'm sure plenty of geeks and game fiends will buy the PSP and onl
  • took the plunge (Score:4, Interesting)

    by viniosity ( 592905 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:32PM (#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 maynard ( 3337 ) <j...maynard...gelinas@@@gmail...com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @08:33PM (#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
  • ...is that PSP is so close to PTP, which everyone knows is Evil and the Spawn of Satan*.

    (*Actually, Nessus is the Spawn of SATAN.)

    Seriously, the consumer market has been saturated to the point of being overloaded in recent years. It does not help that America is clawing its way out of a depression that it may yet backslide into. There just isn't the disposable income to feed the games market in America.

    I suspect that it might have been more prudent to invest in developing a killer console for when the

  • The PSP had a piss-poor game selection on launch, in my opinion. The list I saw at my local EB contained something like 10 or 11 sports games out of the 20 available at launch. No thanks. If I want a sports game, I'll put down the portasystem, and go play with a ball. Funny, no?

    The only game that looks promising is Grand Theft Auto, and that's not due out for another two months. Now, if that had come out at launch, I'd have spent 300$ on it (at the extreme behest of my significant other - so what, I wanna
  • That the PSP hasn't nearly caught up to the DS in Japan. Remember when looking at those figures that the DS sold 1.5 million in 2004 compared to the PSP's 0.5 million. Ths DS isn't doubling up the PSP anymore, but it still holds more than a 800,000 unit lead on the PSP.
  • Googlewar puts "nintendo DS" well above "sony PSP" as well as "DS" far far above "PSP"
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:05PM (#12057325) Homepage
    I'll throw my 2 cents in the ring here.

    I got my PSP on launch day and have a few things to day about it. First it needs more games. And no matter what people say, I think it's safe to bet that the system will be BIG once more titles (like the announced GTA game, for example) come out. There are many A list titles that are supposed to come out in a while or be in development.

    That said, I bought 3 games. Lumines, Wipeout, and Twisted Metal. Lumines is fantastic. It should be bundled with every PSP. It should be built into the firmware. It should be a required purchase for anyone. The game is so simple and yet so fun. Wipeout is fun (not that good at it right now once you get past the first two difficulty levels) and Twisted Metal isn't bad.

    Now there are some games I would like to see on the system. I'd love to have a PaRappa or Amplitude to carry with me. The PSP should be able to run a game like Gish without any problem too.

    As for the hardware it's self there are a few things to say. First is the screen is AMAZING. Absolutly amazing. I looked at the pack in copy of Spider Man 2 and I can definatly see my self using the PSP to watch movies on an airplane or something. It looks better than most (all?) portable DVD players that I've seen. The only problem is that the screen (actually the whole front of the unit) are very receptive to fingerprints/smudges and such. Just a minor thing. My only other hardware comments are the WiFi and the analog nub. The WiFi doesn't support WPA encryption, which suprises me. I hope they add it in a future update of the firmware. As for the analog nub, it is VERY hard to make small movements from center, and very easy to make larger movements like around the outside of it's range. In short doing things like pushing the stick a little bit (like in Mario 64 to tiptoe) would be very tough.

    As for the other features, they intrigue me. The music playing is interesting, but I don't think I'll use it for that. Most of my music is in AAC (ripped it myself, so it's unprotected) so without being able to listen to that the feature doesn't hold much use to me. Being able to watch videos that I make (say download off the 'net and put them on there) looks quite nice (although the 32mb memory stick would obviously have to be replaced). I can't quite tell but it looks to me like it is possible to run programs off the memory stick. If that is true it would be great for the hacker community. I would love to be able to program the PSP. Even if they charged $50 or $100 for the dev kit. This would not be out of the question as Sony has done it twice in the past (the Net Yahorzee PS1 and the Linux Kit for the PS2).

    Over all it is a solid little system and very fun. I didn't have problems with flying UMDs when the system got the littlest twitch, and the square button feels exactly like the others. The design flaws from the Japanese launch have defianatly been fixed.

    The system has a good future if you ask me. Sony will put their might behind it (the gaming magazines this month are about half PSP ads from Sony). Great games should be comming, and there are good games out now (plus the amazing Lumines). It has a USB port and Sony is supposed to release stuff for that (a littke keyboard for typing in games, they could make a GPS module, other interesting stuff). It should have a good future.

    Note that I also have a DS and I really like that too. I've been playing Yoshi's Touch and Go lately. That is a simplistic game that seems kind of boring at first but after a few plays it becomes very fun as you get the hang of the controlls. It is quite unique in that respect. The DS has a good future too, for what it's worth.

  • by idlake ( 850372 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:07PM (#12057335)
    I didn't find any of the games that were available in the store compelling. Add to that a high price, long load times, and a proprietary disk format, and it just doesn't add up.
  • by jeffehobbs ( 419930 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:11PM (#12057350) Homepage

    I just picked one up at Target today; wow, it's got an incredibly nice screen, and Twisted Metal rocks as always. But immediately I've got some slight complaints:

    No AAC audio support for music files? The hardware can clearly do this, as it can decode AAC audio in the context of an MPEG-4 file. This seems like straight peevishness on Sony's part to cut out iTunes AAC users. On the other hand, I knew I should have probably ripped all those CDs as .mp3.

    To get the unit into "USB Disk" mode, the user has to go to System Settings and put the unit into USB Connection mode. This seems overly complex. It might be better if the PSP just automatically opened a connection when it sensed a USB cable present -- that would open up all sorts of cool auto-sync possibilities i.e. the iPod.

    But these are minor complaints. This unit rocks, the UI is well thought out, and the MPEG-4 video playback (which is what I was mainly interested in) is gorgeous. Nice job, Sony!

  • by oscarmv ( 603165 ) <`oscarmv' `at' `mac.com'> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:20PM (#12057397) Homepage
    What I think no one has stated loudly enough is that in the US mobile gaming is a kids-only affair. Japan is a land of long train commutes and small living quarters that lends itself nicely to a concept like the PSP with its adults-only price tag. In the US the car culture and the "Everything is Big in America" don't lend themselves well to adult portable gaming. They lend themselves to huge-ass TVs to plug consoles on (which helps explain why it's the country where the X-Box has seen the greatest success).

    So the PSP won't be a dismal failure, but Nintendo will most likely end up selling more machines in the US thanks to its more kiddy-friendly price tag and image (so that stereotype might be useful for them in the end...).
  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:38PM (#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)
    • I don't think one absolutely need to be able to write UMD to provide software for the console.

      From the system menu, it does appear that one can load games from the MemoryStick... So I assume that provided some SDK, it would be easy to publish small games or other software for the PSP that people could download on the MemoryStick and play/run on the PSP.
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:09PM (#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 :-).


    • 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 Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @02:20AM (#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 havaloc ( 50551 ) * on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:28AM (#12058452) Homepage
    Everyone seems to like the game, so why pay $249+? Play a Lumines clone for free. Requires Java.
    http://www.rit.edu/~jhb4598/jblog/archives/000598. php3 [rit.edu]
  • I'm Happy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by larryj ( 84367 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @01:51AM (#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 flip 2x2 bricks in the manner that would best benefit me in my efforts to clear out more bricks on the board. The more I play it though, the more addictive it becomes as I learn how to play the game and develop a strategy for placing game pieces. If you like Tetris at all, Lumines should be at the top of your list for potential PSP purchases. Although it doesn't really match the actual game's atmosphere, look for the Windows clone 'Illuminati' at download.com to get an idea of the gameplay.

    My other launch day title was 'Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade'. This is a hack-and-slash dungeion crawler that obviously pays homage to Diablo. Reviews are lukewarm. I read one review that slighted Untold Legends as nothing more that a slightly simplified version of 'Champions of Norrath'. Well that's exactly what I was looking for, so I'm happy. If you like 'Baldur's Gate' and the 'Champions' games, you'll probably like 'Untold Legends'. Don't buy this one if you are looking for something new and original though.

    Finally, I picked up 'Ridge Racer' tonight at Target. This one became the 'thrill of the hunt' title. After checking at a couple of stores, I had decided that if I could find it, I would buy it. Racing games don't typically appeal to me, other than the Gran Turismo series. This one seemed like a game that would be easy to pick up and play so I thought I would give it a try. 'Wipeout: Pure' is the other big racing game in the PSP's debut lineup and while it is getting great reviews, I read that it could be a bit challenging for those new to the Wipeout series so I decided to go with Ridge Racer. Based on what I've read online this weekend, if you liked the previous Wipeout games, you'll probably love 'Wipeout: Pure'. I've only played Ridge Racer enough to become familiar with the controls and style of gameplay, but I really like it so far. This is NOT Gran Turismo as the game sports ridiculous power slides that are not the least bit realistic, but are a lot of fun. The graphics are incredible and this will probably be my "show off the PSP" title (along with the 'Spider-Man 2' UMD disc).

    Overall, I'm VERY impressed with the PSP.

    That's my longest post ever at slashdot. :)
  • by Pingsmoth ( 249222 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @03:46AM (#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 @05:20AM (#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 Legion303 ( 97901 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @05:23AM (#12059150) Homepage
    Maybe a stupid question, but I couldn't find much info on the UMD format online. First off, the firmware is upgradeable through 802.11 or mem stick, which means hacked firmware will be along soon. The question is, can a UMD reader also read mini-DVDs? If so, the PSP is going to be bent over like a cheap whore (and I'll get one). If not, Sony has announced they're opening the UMD format, so burners may not be far off anyway. In which case, see "cheap whore" note earlier in this post.
  • by fr0dicus ( 641320 ) on Sunday March 27, 2005 @07:49AM (#12059392) Journal
    This thread is quite amusing. I got myself a PSP a couple of days ago (although I'm in Europe, so I got a Japanese one), and I've yet to get a game for it yet. First thing I did was rip Star Wars to a 512MB MSDuo. Fantastic, and apparently it's not a media player, but a gaming machine! If this isn't a media player then I can only imagine how good the games are.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.