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Handhelds Upgrades Entertainment Games Hardware

Hands-On With the PSP-3000 41

Eurogamer got a chance to take a look at Sony's latest hardware revision for the PSP. Their overall impression of the new model is positive, finding that a redesigned screen offers noticeably better graphics and higher brightness without affecting battery life. They also say the button pads may be slightly different, and the unit comes with useful firmware upgrades. "Elsewhere, our side-by-side comparison of the current PSP/PSP-2000 firmware, 4.05, and the new 4.20 firmware on the PSP-3000 reveals a 'USB Auto-Connect' option, which promises to automatically switch the handheld to USB mode when a cable is connected. It will do this from anywhere on the XMB, but it won't interrupt gameplay. ... The new-model PSP also allows you to play games on a TV by hooking it up with a special adapter (sold separately) and a composite cable, whereas the old one would only allow composite cables to display video, with gaming reserved for component output."
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Hands-On With the PSP-3000

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  • Nice. I stopped playing my PSP when my original broke, this looks like a good upgrade. I'm wondering, how has it come along in terms of games available, as well as its use as a homebrew platform? I was heavily into the homebrew scene with the original hardware version.
    • If you really want to do homebrew, look at the Pandora [openpandora.org] which is more powerful than the PSP, and is very open source friendly. (It isn't completely open source because the 3d driver is currently a binary-blob, but the rest is Open Source)

  • Custom Firmware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dracil ( 732975 )
    And the ease of putting it on here will probably be the biggest factor that determines whether this will sell.
    • Re:Custom Firmware (Score:5, Informative)

      by Spatial ( 1235392 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:37PM (#25279491)
      Yeah, seriously. I absolutely love my PSP with CFW, the improvement compared with the stock firmware is dramatic. For those who aren't up to speed, you can do this stuff plus a hell of a lot more:

      *Adjust the CPU/GPU clock, with separate settings for games and XMB. This makes a huge difference to the smoothness of a lot of games.

      *More brightness levels for the screen while in battery mode.

      *Allows you to back up your UMD games over USB to ISO files.

      *Allows the use of ISOs without needing the UMD (cures loading time issues with games)

      *Emulators! Almost everything up to and including the Playstation is emulated at full speed. SNES, GBA, Mega Drive, Neo-Geo, CPS1, you name it. For me this makes it the best console I've ever had, handheld or otherwise.

      *Selectable region for UMD movies.

      *Tons of other stuff homebrew developers have made; demoscene stuff, email programs, there's even a port of Cave Story!
      • I've been using my PSP with the stock firmware and have been incredibly disappointed. There are some good games for the platform but not enough to make it attractive. Mostly there are a bunch of localized Japanese games that don't appeal to me.

        The list you provided gives me good reason to go try CFW. Frankly at this point if it bricks my PSP it won't be a big loss.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Spatial ( 1235392 )
          If you're worried about bricking, the safest way is with a 'pandora battery' (a service-mode battery, really) and a memory stick. You can get a tool [amazon.co.uk] from Amazon that changes batteries from normal to service batteries for about 12 euros; otherwise you need a specialised service battery, or risk hardmodding your own and possibly damaging it.

          I opted to use the tool, it's extremely easy and it only takes a few minutes. Check out this thread on SA [somethingawful.com] for very helpful instructions and some homebrew links.
          • I forgot to mention something: the tool turns batteries back to normal from service mode as well. All you have to do is press a button; it's powered by the battery itself. Handy thing.
        • Re:Custom Firmware (Score:4, Informative)

          by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @11:04PM (#25280561) Homepage

          it's pretty much impossible to permanently brick your PSP nowadays. even if you do something stupid like turn off the PSP while flashing the firmware, you can unbrick it with a Pandora's battery.

          right now i mostly use my PSP to read ebooks, listen to audiobooks (i find the PSP's built-in media player too basic for use as a music player), or play PSX games. and with CFW, you don't need to repurchase your PSX games from the playstation store. you can just rip your discs onto your hard drive and convert them into POPS format.

          but even if you choose not to go with CFW, i would recommend these under appreciated lesser-known titles:
          Bounty Hounds - a very well executed sci-fi Action-RPG with stunning graphics and equally great gameplay. the PSP has suffered a dearth of sci-fi RPGs since its launch, so Bounty Hounds is certainly a welcome addition.
          Field Commander - a fun turn-based strategy game similar in theme to Command & Conquer, but without having to mine for resources.
          Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command - probably one of the most underrated and original strategy games for the PSP. Squad Command, as its name suggests is centered around squad tactics and is set in the gritty WH40K universe. it's almost like a hybrid of Killzone: Liberation and an SRPG.
          S.W.A.T. Target Liberty - admittedly, this game isn't for everyone. it's really more of a S.W.A.T. sim than a shooter. and unlike typical shooters, you're rewarded points based on how many people you save (including suspects) rather than how many you kill, which makes it far more challenging than the average run and gun shooter. you'll have to be resourceful, think tactically, and make use less-than-lethal weapons such as flashbangs, smoke grenades, tasers, pepper ball rounds, rubber bullets, C2 charges, etc.

          and i know you said you don't like Japanese games, but i think others might enjoy these particular import titles:
          Gundam Battle Tactics/Royale/Chronicle/Universe - whether you're into Gundam or not, the Gundam Battle series contains some of the best original titles developed exclusively for the PSP. i personally much prefer the Gundam Battle series to Armored Core: Formula Front.
          Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Rengou vs. Z.A.F.T. - Gundam video games have always been notoriously bad, which makes it even more ironic that the PSP has two great Gundam series. well, this one is actually a port of an arcade series, but the original experience seems to have brought over fully intact. Federation vs. ZAFT really pushes the graphical capabilities of the PSP, and the game is much faster-paced than the Gundam Battle series. you'll need to find an online menu translation if you want to try this import though, as its menus are pretty much entirely in Japanese. but the intense gameplay and stunning graphics are definitely worth the effort.
          Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai/Shin Budokai 2 Another Road - this is a cell shaded 3D fighting game based on the DBZ series. the fighting system isn't as deep as, say, Tekken or SoulCalibur, but that also makes it easier to pick up and get into. the automatic camera movements make the action much more dramatic and also make you feel like you're watching the anime series.
          Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness - this really isn't an underrated title like the others, but it is a translated Japanese SRPG. the reason i'm mentioning Disgaea is because it's simply one of the best games for the PSP, and if you haven't bought it yet, you need to do so immediately. forget Final Fantasy Tactics or Jeanne D'Arc. if you like SRPGs, you need this.

          honestly, there have been a ton of great games released for the PSP, you just have to look around and find some non-mainstream game review sites. heck, there are a ton of big mainstream titles that are pretty fun too, but there are simply too many to list. anyone still complaining about the PSP lacking good games either isn't looking, or perhaps they should have bought a different console.

          • even if you do something stupid like turn off the PSP while flashing the firmware, you can unbrick it with a Pandora's battery.

            That name is going to become very confusing over the next few months. I haven't seen the Pandora PDA [openpandora.org] yet, but I seriously doubt that the unit I preordered will come with a PSP-compatible battery with serial number -1.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Emulators! Almost everything up to and including the Playstation is emulated at full speed. SNES, GBA, Mega Drive, Neo-Geo, CPS1, you name it.

        Sega Saturn? I'd love to get some portable Radiant Silvergun action.

  • DivX/Xvid support (Score:3, Interesting)

    by casualsax3 ( 875131 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @08:51PM (#25279593)
    Come on Sony. You really have a good machine, why can't it play more video formats?
    • Ubuntu MP3 support: come on Ubuntu, why don't you support MP3s/encrypted DVDs/H264/etc.

      Same reason. Patents. Money.

      • XviD is an open source codec. and i don't know about yours, but my PSP plays MP3s just fine.

        besides, comparing a proprietary entertainment device with an open source operating system is kinda silly. Ubuntu isn't going to come with proprietary codecs for obvious reasons. the PSP isn't marketed as an open source gaming platform, and it already contains a ton of licensed software.

        • There are homebrew programs that can play files using that codec, but it's not as simple as it sounds. I haven't looked into it in-depth, but as far as I know the PSP can't do anything above 480x272 (its screen resolution) without huge slowdown. There are also bitrate limitations: 1024k for video, 96k for audio. In that case you'd have to re-encode most videos anyway, so it may as well be MP4.

          What I'd like is a decent transcoder from Sony included with the PSP or something. Red Kawa's PSP Video 9 is d
          • i haven't had much luck with video converters, but if you don't need super high quality and have access to WiFi, PiMPStreamer seems to work on most video formats. you simply run the server on your PC, and the PiMP client on your PSP will let you browse through the video files you've added to the server and let you stream them over WiFi.

            i haven't tried it over a WAN connection, but it's pretty convenient when i want to watch movies/shows off of my hard drive from the living room or on the balcony (my bedroom

  • Touchscreen (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I would love for the PSP to have a touchscreen like the iphone/ipod touch.

    Would make typing on the PSP not as much of a pain.

  • It still only has one analog stick which means no (good) portable COD4. Lame.
  • by rastoboy29 ( 807168 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @10:29PM (#25280289) Homepage
    If they'd just get rid of the UMD disk slot, it'd be a real slick device.
    • Remember the MiniDisk?
      The UMD is just a MiniDisk with a Mini DVD and a rounded case.
      When The MiniDisk came out, it was touted by Sony as the replacement for the Cassette Tape.

      The UMD format has a lot money invested in it, for better or worse, and will not go away. The only thing that will change will be the disk element. It will be a BluRay Disk in the next gen & have a third corner or some other bullshit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by donaldm ( 919619 )

        Remember the MiniDisk? The UMD is just a MiniDisk with a Mini DVD and a rounded case. When The MiniDisk came out, it was touted by Sony as the replacement for the Cassette Tape.

        The Mini Disk would have replaced the Cassette Tape however the payer was expensive compared to the CD player which eventually did replace the Tape Cassette. The MD is still around today and was a success in the Japanese and Asian market however it did not do all that well in the US and Western market. In many ways the MD was much more superior to the Cassette Tape since it could be recorded on many 100's of thousands of times compared to a few 100 times (if you were lucky) of the Cassette tape. Everyone re

  • I'd have rather seen the upgraded firmware include Skype with Video Chat. The machine's powerful enough to have it's own camera to record video and capture photos, but that's only available currently in Japan and the EU.

    A few more options for connecting to wireless hotspots would be nice as well. Maybe a better browser that will use the Memory Stick for RAM (albeit slow) so you can almost fully use youtube and other sites?

  • Has anybody tried running FUSA on a S&L PSP with CFW? If that works as it's described, you should already be able play anything using the composite video cable.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I keep turning off my PSP 2000 accidentally during games. The power switch is in a really stupid position and that does not seem to have changed with the PSP 3000 (or has it?).

    I wish Sony would release a firmware upgrade allowing one to configure a second button that must be pressed together with the power button in order to turn off the PSP.

    Does anybody know a contact email where one can write such suggestions to Sony... and they actually get read by technical people?

  • Sure they've made some superfical changes, but until I have to remove the battery to change games and can turn it sideways to use it as a phone, I'll pass.

Forty two.