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Portables (Games) Sony

Is There Anything Wrong With The PSP? 157

An anonymous reader writes "In the latest 'Analyze This' series of exclusive Gamasutra features, analysts from Screen Digest, ABI Research and DFC Intelligence look at what Sony and developers can do to improve the PSP platform, to generate more excitement for it among developers, gamers and the industry overall — or if they even need to. 'My feelings on the PSP are mixed: It has shown there is demand for a more high-end portable system. The portable market has room for two competing portable systems. We forecast that over the next five years dedicated portable systems will sell just as many units as the new console systems. However, the PSP could really use a new model. This has been the secret to Nintendo's success.'"
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Is There Anything Wrong With The PSP?

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  • It's too locked down (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) * on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:01PM (#18636033) Homepage Journal
    I had to go through a ton of headaches just to get my PSP able to run homebrew stuff. I don't run homebrew because I want to screw Sony, but because there's so much good homebrew stuff! One of the biggest things is emulation. The PSP is great for playing NES and Sega Genesis games. The screen is a good size, controls are good, etc.. but Sony requires apps be signed unless you hack your PSP.
  • Screwed Up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:02PM (#18636037) Homepage

    The PSP has had problems from day 1. I own one. I regret it. I haven't touched it in a long time. Their biggest mistake? The control scheme. NO SECOND ANALOG STICK. Considering how Sony really popularized that (during the PS1 time frame) and everyone uses it these days, not having it on the console is a huge mistake. It makes things tough for many of the games out there. Katamari got a weird control scheme, no good camera control in FPSes or 3D platformers (NOTE: I own a DS, which I love, but I think they should have put one analog stick on it). The games draught (as I see it) is the biggest problem. There is only ONE game I can think of that I am looking forward to: God of War for the PSP and I don't even think that has been officially announced.

    How to improve it at this point? Better games, pure and simple. There have been so many games I've played in the past year or two on my DS compared to a tiny handful on my PSP.

    Opening some kind of homebrew (even if regulated and locked down) would give me new interest because then I could make stuff and try other peoples. That wouldn't solve the games problem, but it would help some.

    Interesting system, problems in design, I regret I purchased it (especially considering it's original price).

  • PSProblems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:15PM (#18636211) Homepage Journal
    The biggest problem with the PSP isn't inherent to the system itself, but to the vision of those utilizing it. It's in the very name of the portable itself, "Playstation Portable".

    The PSP is treated as though it were a Playstation console, except portable. Little or no consideration is made that it is any different froma Playstation, save in its hardware specifications. As such, we see ports or sequels to games that fail to take into account the need for a different control scheme and game focus.

    At the same time, it's drawing on many developers who are not used to working in the portable sphere of gaming. They know what sells on console, and assume the same is true on portables. It only takes a cursory look at the software library for the Gameboy and DS to see this is not true at all.

    The result is a system with great potential that is wasted upon people who don't understand it. The PSP and DS both require a fundamentally different approach to game developement than a home console, but only the DS is seeing that.
  • by SethraLavode ( 910814 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @01:18PM (#18636243)

    The lack of a touchscreen didn't do in the PSP. The GBA was a very capable portable without one, and before the DS (and up to a year afterward), no one would have thought it a viable or vital component. People understand it now, but when the PSP was in development, there was no way they could have foreseen how things would play out (especially at risk-averse Sony).

    No, the biggest problem with the PSP is that it is a powerful system and that it was marketed that way.

    Sony kept referring to it as portable PS2, with all the power of a home console in your hand, and what happens? A bunch of developers rush to port home console games over to the system without thinking about the particular needs of handheld gaming. Long load times, oversized levels, infrequent save points -- these are all things that longtime GBA devs knew to avoid, but were completely overlooked by the studios that were lured in by the easy power of the PSP.

    So, a lot of the poor ports or poorly-thought out originals make their way over to the system, and people get the idea that there aren't any quality games for it. The few that are out there get drowned out by all the garbage, and people are hesitant to spend $40 to take a risk on new games.

    Add in the "homebrew" enthusiasts who were also lured in by the promise of raw power, and it's a recipe for trouble, if not outright disaster.

  • by Nazmun ( 590998 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @02:04PM (#18636947) Homepage
    You cna put movies into the memory card if i remember correctly. Assuming you want to format it yourself. Although burning your onw mini-dvd discs would have been far more awesome.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @02:29PM (#18637323)
    The new formats came years later. There was a Gameboy pocket but the gameboy was still selling well at that point. GBA SP came after millions of Gameboys sold, the DS lite is a better model of the remarkably well selling DS. None of these created new interest, it just enhanced it.

    The PSP's biggest issue is it's a "port" system. A PS2 lite, and not in a good way. You can't use the same discs, or the same data, but you can rebuy your favorite PSX and PS2 games for use on your PSP.

    What the PSP needed was a DS line up of unique games. Games we haven't played before and will play again and again on every system. Nintendogs alone sold more DSes than probably any other game while the PSP was trying to sell Burnout 3 and wipeout for the 3rd or fourth time.

    That's not to say the PSP is bad. It has at least twice the power of the DS, but the unique and great games (like Lumines) gets caught up in the millions of ports which have a been there, done that feeling. Instead of greenlighting everything the PSP should have told developers no to ports (or at least demanded a non port for every port. The DS does have ports but it also has it's own unique games which is what is selling their system when the PSP is struggling.
  • by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <> on Friday April 06, 2007 @02:59PM (#18637869) Homepage
    Chris Remo of Shacknews spoke to a developer off the record and apparently the problem with the PSP is that, because it's so close to a PS2 in terms of hardware (it's inferior, but it's closer than a DS is in terms of power) and it requires such a huge budget to make a top notch PSP title that it doesn't make sense to do so, given that you could much more effectively make a PS2 game and have 100 million people in the install base, as opposed to the anemic PSP numbers.

    I think what might curb this would be when/if the PS2 ceases to be - but by that time Sony will have unveiled the PSP2 or bailed out of the market entirely.

  • by FrankDeath ( 746264 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @03:37PM (#18638521) Homepage Journal
    Defending the PSP feels a lot like siding with Microsoft, but I'm going to do it anyway. There is nothing wrong with the PSP itself; Sony's attitude toward the PSP is the problem.

    The PSP is a pretty slick piece of hardware. There are many complaints about it (high price, long load times, large size, awkward controls, lack of games). The people who focus on these easily attacked points seem to miss the strengths of the system:

    * The PSP is powerful enough to emulate virtually all video game console systems that are of the PSX/N64 generation and older.

    * The despised UMD discs hold quite a bit of data. Games like GTA:LCS are possible because there is enough space for them. The platform is capable of much more than ADHD-inspired mini games.

    * The system connects to a computer using a standard USB cable and appears as a disk. You can copy whatever you want to it (homebrew, music, pics, movies).

    The PSP has a lot of potential. With a large memory stick and the right firmware you can carry a large portion of video game history with you wherever you go--almost like an iPod of video games.

    Though I'm happy with the hardware I must admit that Sony is strangling the PSP. To allow homebrew is to allow the pirating of games. Sony upgrades the firmware to remove exploits that allow homebrew to continue and then forces users to upgrade to play new games.

    Sony fails to realize that homebrew ADDS value to the PSP. The PSP doesn't need a new business model. It simply needs fewer restrictions and more games that people like enough to buy.
  • by flydpnkrtn ( 114575 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @03:40PM (#18638563)
    Once again I gotta reply to this thread and ask that you guys take a look at the GP2X []

    I bought one and I never looked back at the other guys/soldiers out here (I'm deployed to Iraq) who bought PSPs and all they talk about is how damn crippled the DRM-loving Sony PSP is.

    And no I'm not a frigging paid shill damnit. Just a happy owner of a product that actually listens to its customers []
  • Re:Screwed Up (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Friday April 06, 2007 @03:51PM (#18638745) Homepage
    (NOTE: I own a DS, which I love, but I think they should have put one analog stick on it).

    I have to admit, I *hate* the non-stylus inputs on the DS. The last couple generations of Nintendo portables have been very cool, but to me have had some extremely odd/stupid choices in terms of inputs.

    The "portable N64" (the DS) doesn't have an analog stick! Mario64 and the N64 are what turned the analog stick into the standard for all subsequent (and in the case of the PSX, contemporary!) consoles. But Mario on the DS is a bizatch to control because they left out the most fundamental part of the original console.

    Before that the "portable SNES" (the GBA) only has two face buttons, when again the SNES is what made having 4 buttons the standard. At least it has the shoulder buttons which was probably the most significant contribution of the SNES to to gaming input.

    Okay, maybe it isn't that odd, and it certainly saves cost. The "portable PS2" has only one analog when it's parent console debuted with two. The Sega "portable Genesis" GameGear had only two buttons when the genesis had 3 (made playing Mortal Kombat a bitch for the 5 minutes the battery lasted). In fact the only handheld I can think of that didn't bastardize it's parent's controls was the original GameBoy, which wasn't actually a "portable NES".

    So I guess I can only go back to my original point and say "I hate the non-stylus inputs of the DS, and the inputs of every other handheld except the gameboy".

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson