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PlayStation (Games) Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Piracy and the PSP 272

In a lengthy interview with Gamasutra about the state of the Playstation brand in 2009, Sony's senior vice president of marketing, Peter Dille, made some interesting comments about how piracy has affected their popular portable console, the PSP. He said, "we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP," a platform that was slow to start anyway due to the lack of early interest from game developers. Dille mentions that while they can fight piracy with hardware upgrades in new versions, that doesn't do anything to help the roughly 50 million PSPs already out there. He goes on to address other aspects of the PlayStation line, including complaints about the pricing and exclusivity.
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Piracy and the PSP

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  • Emulation (Score:5, Funny)

    by numbware ( 691928 ) <> on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:59PM (#27682587) Homepage

    I rarely use my PSP to actually play PSP games anymore. I usually end up playing SNES or Gameboy games through emulation. That or watching porn (at least I'm honest).

    • Very fitting -- especially on this, the 20th Anniversary of the Game Boy.
    • by Narpak ( 961733 )
      Pirates are like totally the foam of the earth! The only solution to computer piracy is that everyone get sentenced to one week as an indentured servant for each day they have had a pirated sony game/app. That way a wave of thousands upon thousands of indentured servants will fuel Sony's game mill and thus provide their dozens of legitimate customers with decent low price games
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilkasper ( 1292798 )
      You know I bought my PSP the day it came out. I was traveling a lot at the time and had high hopes for it. The release games weren't very engaging to say the least. Then it seemed like there was a period where they only released movies for it. So I stopped using it. I would wager that I'm not the only person who did this. Sony seems to have really gone off the deep end in the past few years, bad marketing, not properly supporting the PSP, horrible price schemes .. is it just me or do they keep making more e
  • Poor excuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:00PM (#27682593) Journal

    Piracy is rampant on the DS too, and there's tons of money being made there.

    • Re:Poor excuse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:15PM (#27682689)

      Piracy is probably the main reason the PSP hardware sells at all.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't know how much a PSP costs to make but I think the days of hardware manufacturers subsidising their consoles must be on the way out.

      When there's a significant amount of piracy it means you are not only subsidising the pirates but have to charge your actual game-buying customers more (or pay developers less) to try and recoup that money.

      I think Nintendo have a sensible idea in selling reasonable hardware at a reasonable profit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stastuffis ( 632932 )

      Piracy is rampant on the DS too, and there's tons of money being made there.

      Agreed. Buy a flash cart, a microSD card and you're off to the piracy races for the DS. Much less complicated than PSP modding even though that is relatively simple.

      It boils down to a few things: price, game selection and allure of the hardware.

      It automatically failed on price. Remember, when its price dropped the PSP received a decent boost in sales. Unfortunately, due to their sparse selection of quality games, I don't think i

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Funny how the PlayStation was the most pirated console of its time, yet it still beat the n64 which I'd assume was a real pain to pirate for. Now the DS is pirate to hell, and the psp is losing, oh how the tables have turned.

  • It can't have anything to do with the quality of the media right?

    Granted, I've never been much of a Playstation person, normally I tend to enjoy more of Nintendo's lineups, but I can't recall the last time I read about a PSP game that I had even the slightest interest in.

    Putting that aside for a moment, do they actually have data to support this or are they just using piracy as an excuse to explain low sales numbers?

    • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:20PM (#27682721)

      What probably happened is they picked a number for how much money they wanted to make and when they didn't make it blamed it on piracy.

    • Spinning optical discs + portable player = disaster.

      Does anyone know if there's a way, beyond piracy, to play a PSP game off a flash card of some sort?

      • by smash ( 1351 )

        Why is it a disaster?

        I get decent battery life (6 hrs), which is pretty impressive considering the screen, 3d hardware, etc. Better than some laptops, with a battery WAY smaller.

        I'll gladly take 6 hr battery life and a decent amount of cheap optical storage for media over ROM based storage and an hour or two more battery life any day.

        The PSP has a "UMD cache" feature that you can turn on that will reduce the disc access.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          The PSP has a "UMD cache" feature that you can turn on that will reduce the disc access.

          Unless, of course, you're running homebrew to run pirated games, in which case the extra installed stuff has already eaten up the RAM that would have been used for caching...

      • With homebrew firmware you can rip your games over USB and then put them on a memory stick. I have all of mine on an 8GB one. (and no I didn't pirate any games) It also cuts loading times down to pretty much nothing.
    • What's really funny (I was thinking about this above), is that I get better gameplay from an old Game Boy (Happy 20th Anniversary) than I ever have from a PSP...
  • ... as if that won't also get cracked. lmfao.

    I call it the "Nerd Cold War". Company X is getting products pirated and hires nerds to come up with countermeasures... Piracy scene nerds then whack away at it for a little longer, maybe even a whole month, and then crack it and everything is back to where it was... Company X adds new stupid idea, Piracy Nerds step up and destroy it.... AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

    30 Million Cannabis users and the US thinks they are doing something about it by making it illega

  • Flash beats UMD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lamadude ( 1270542 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:27PM (#27682773)
    The fact that pirated PSP games run faster and use less battery probably didn't help either. (since they run from flash memory rather than the clumsy UMD discs)
    • by bazald ( 886779 )

      Also, you don't have to pay exorbitant shipping fees to get games that they never bothered to release in your country, despite having localized it for your language. (Or do Americans generally have difficulty understanding the Queen's English?)

      • No, but a great deal of American's do have difficulty speaking coherent English of any type.

        (well, now that I think of it, so do many of the British)

    • Don't forget you can carry around a bunch of games with 1 memory stick, plus media and music, emulators, etc. The real value in the psp was it could do a lot more then just games. Sony's retarded restrictions to try to promote their formats, media and agenda make a non-hacked psp look like a worthless pile of crap next to a hacked one, even if you never intend to pirate a game. If they wanted to make the psp a runaway success, they should have allowed homebrew from the start, and sold games online to be

    • not in the, "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU IN MY BAG?!" benchmark. Otherwise, pretty true. The only problem is that the cost of stamping a UMD is still marginally cheaper than shipping out spare memory cards and online sales have the problem of, "oh shit, my memory card/hard drive/etc just ate itself, what now?" factor. WiiWare, XBLA and PSN have proven that online sales can work on consoles, there are still other hurdles to jump through.

  • The console sells great, but there is still very few good games... Too many people got PSPs gathering dust, it's not the early interest that is lacking, but the current interest. I don't play my game console because i have no games to play onit... even if i can pirate games, it won'T matter because there is no games to pirate...
  • The PSP was/is *truly* a "portable Playstation". Which is neat, technically, but the games just don't lend themselves to a portable gaming system.

    The DS is probably the single greatest portable gaming hardware so far. The touch screen is just the perfect input devices for the kind of goofy, simple, easy-to-play games that most people want on a system that they'll likely only play for 20 minutes at a time. Basically, the DS has lots of games that appeal to the casual player. Much like the Wii.

    You have to al

    • I have a PSP and a DS. For exactly the same reasons I prefer my PSP.

      I don't like futzing with a touch screen. Granted most of the games I play don't require it. The New Super Mario Brothers on uses it for reserved power ups and changing worlds (as far as I'm concerned) so I accept that, the rest of the games I use such as the Final Fantasy games allow me to just use the cross pad as I always have. I actively avoid games that require me to use the stylus.

      The PSP on the other hand is a Solid Old Skool des

  • by Punto ( 100573 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @12:16AM (#27683059) Homepage
    with their nintendo DS wich is absolutely undefeated in terms of piracy.
    • The big difference between the DS and PSP is the target market. The PSP was targetted at gamers. Big mistake. Gamers know about piracy, and are becoming more and more accustomed to it by the minute.

      Sony, then, pitched their product at people who were never really going to buy all that much.

      Nintendo's product has found it's way into handbags and schoolbags. The kids get legitimate games as birthday presents, and the travelling woman picks up a random brain-trainer or somesuch while stuck in departures wai

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @12:27AM (#27683143)

    First, it's the frigging number of games it has - barely any. Take a look at the shelf space the PSP has, and it's very little compared to its competiror, the DS. Heck, I've seen more shelf space dedicated to PSP hardware and PSP accessories, than PSP games.

    Secondly, the lack of releases - you can almost count the number of games the PSP will have coming out in the year ahead on fingers and toes. New release lists on the PSP are remarkably skimpy. Heck, I'm sure there are more games for the PSP released every month for the first few years than a year nowadays. Retail space for the PSP has been shrinking - even the PS2 gets more shelf space!

    Third, the pirates offered a better product. Games load quickly off memory stick, and save battery life as well. And heck, you can dump your games yourself easily nowadays (insert UMD into PSP, enable USB on the UMD drive, and a little .iso file is ready for you to copy off - you don't see the contents of the disk, just the ISO file).

    The competition, the Nintendo DS, is far easier to pirate for (a memory cart is direct-mapped for 128MB, without bankswitching... thus most games are under 128MB in size, while PSP games can be 1.8GB or so). But it has a lot of games, tons more released practically daily, and many that sell for years. Enough so that practically everyone can find a set of games they'll like.

    Sony basically abandoned the PSP once they released the PS3. They could've released firmware updates that let you dump UMD disks to a memory stick (locked to that console with DRM blah blah blah and requiring the original UMD, a la the Xbox360), but no, we get crap feature updates. About the biggest thing in the firmware update was... Skype.

    • by Dwedit ( 232252 )

      DS cards are not direct mapped, you read them sequentially, and store the data into main RAM. The GBA was directly mapped and executed off the cartridge.

      • DS cards are not direct mapped, you read them sequentially, and store the data into main RAM. The GBA was directly mapped and executed off the cartridge.

        Unless tlhIngan was talking about SLOT-2 cards on the DS and DS Lite (e.g. SuperCard) and just got the size wrong. But he's right that seek times on a DS card or an SD card are still a boatload faster than a UMD, even if they are slower than XIP through SLOT-2.

    • Well you basically can say the same regarding Nintendo, they basically abandoned the DS with good releases when the Wii came out, the DS is fed mostly with shovelware nowadays with a few good titles from third party publishers...

      As for the PSP I dont think piracy really was the doom of the platform, the lack of releases was more an issue, after a strong first year suddenly the release numbers went down the drain. Good releases like Gods of War sell well on the platform despite heavy piracy (which also is th

  • I own one, and I would use it more if I pirated games. As it is, I put movies on it (which I rip) for long trips, and the wife plays Puzzle Quest while breast-feeding the baby.

    It's a great little device. I'd use it a lot more if I could use SCUMM or other emulation. (I know I can, but I can't be bothered to get the things set up). The restrictions around the PSP make me use it less.
  • My PSP is hacked. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:10AM (#27683399) Homepage Journal

    I have a 16GB Pro Duo in it. I have a bunch of PS1 and PSP games on that memory stick, I'm using compression but there's plenty of room left.

    I own every PSP and PS1 game on there. Seriously, I have the disk or UMD for every game on there. Why did I hack my PSP? Because I don't want to carry the fucking UMD's around! I tried that at first, UMD's don't take abuse nearly as well as Game Boy Cartridges did. My Street Fighter Alpha 3 UMD has the clear window separated from the rest of the UMD casing. (that particular game has its own smaller Pro Duo - it gets confused by large ones) I can snap it back out and use it, I'm considering a drop of super glue but the memory stick is sort of nullifying my desire to do that.

    I guess you can call me "an honest pirate" since I'm not actually pirating anything, but I use all the pirate utils.

    My take on Sony - I was criticizing them for ignoring their customers. PSP 1000 people hacked it to do things Sony never intended, so they came out with a 2000 that was (initially) harder to hack. People hacked it, so they came out with a 3000 that's incredibly difficult to hack. The customer spoke up and said "I want my PSP to do these things" and Sony, instead of making it happen, said no.

    If the PSP 4000 rumors are correct, it shows Sony is beginning to listen. The 4000 supposedly doesn't have a UMD drive and will be pure on board storage.

    That's a step in the right direction, but don't kill physical media just yet.

    I like physical media. I have 10GB worth of music on my iPhone - I ripped all 10GB off of CD's that are in display racks in my living room. All of my PSP and PS1 games on my PSP have disk either in my office closet or in a CD binder near my entry (Hurricane Ike killed the original cases/manuals)

    Please don't go pure online distribution only. I don't trust it. We've already seen a couple of DRM laden distribution companies go belly up. We don't need you "Pulling a Sony" when you're tired of us.

    To be fair, I bought pirate hardware for my Game Boy Advanced - cheap Chinese crap was broke when it arrived so I never actually got to use it. My reasons were the same - not to pirate, but to not carry the carts around. A coworker is doing this with his DS, I think I'm going to do this with my DS also.

    I feel more comfortable knowing if my whole backpack gets stolen I lose my PSP and my DS, but when it comes down to it, I only have to replace the systems (and the memory cards) not the systems and every damn game I had for them.

    Between two major theft incidents (both inside of locked personal area's) and hurricane Ike I've lost lots of media. I know how much it sucks to replace it all. The less at risk I put my media the happier I am. I like the idea of digital distribution since there's no media or hardware to risk, I just don't trust the providers to offer it to me for the rest of my life any time I want it.

    • You're not alone, I modchipped my Wii and I bought Mario Galaxy and as well as other games.

      Truth be told once you have "open access" to a console you can't really go back to having it locked down.

    • Re:My PSP is hacked. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Weedhopper ( 168515 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @04:16AM (#27684189)

      Let me tell you, you're not alone.

      I'm not so concerned about losing my games along with my PSP because I can either just re-rip all of those games and/or I have the game ISOs on my Macbook Pro.

      Due to the nature of my job I live nine or ten months out of the year out of a backpack and a duffel bag. For me, space is a premium. I have 40 game UMDs. Another copy of each of those is on my HD or on a memory stick. UMDs and their attendant cases take up a stupid amount of space. I paid for it. I want access, dammit! Lumines is just as good today as it was when it was first released.

      Even when I'm in the US/EU/EA, I don't want to have to make a choice in which games I carry. What kind of ridiculous shit is that in 2009?

      I have the DS as well, also hacked and with every game on storage and flash. It's incredibly easy to lose these infernal cartidges.

      There's a lot of stuff Steam got wrong, but there's stuff it got right, too. I get on any computer and log in with my Steam account, I can play anything in my Steam library. If just copy the game files, I don't have to download it for each machine, either.

      Face it, physical media is dead. I don't want that outdated and obsolete shit anymore. Sell me what I want, digital distribution, cloud access and a good sized local cache.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Avoid superglue, unless you're very skillful with it. The vapours from the glue collect inside the casing and ruin the UMD. Almost all of my discs are in a similar condition to yours due to a poor game case choice.

  • Game Starvation! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amigori ( 177092 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:16AM (#27683415) Homepage

    As a gamer, I've had my eye on a PSP for a while now, mainly for the piracy/hack factor. Its a nice little system that would be great for emulation and PSP games. But what is killing this system, other than the DS, is the Game Starvation. All one needs to do is compare the review lists at IGN (or your favorite game site). Games come out weekly for the DS, in bulk. Games come out in spurts for the PSP, a few here and there, sometimes months apart.

    • DS = Lots of games, great and shovelware, ports, remakes, and originals
    • PSP = Few games, mostly PSOne ports or remakes, not much original content outside of LocoRoco and Patapon. It doesn't help that the devs half-ass most of the ports/remakes.

    Plus when you go to the store, the PSP section always looks like a clearance section. Few games, broken/off displays, lots of empty spaces signifying "better days," and the same few crap games they had last time you stopped in.

    Games sell systems. And "50 million" PSP gamers should be large enough to sell new, quality content to. Lack of games and a great system to do emulation on equals high piracy numbers. And lack of software sales is DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE to available content. Just put together a Virtual Console like Nintendo with legal emulation and see how your software sales do.

    Sony, want to turn your PSP software sales around? Then 1) sell the damn thing to developers! Your claimed user base should be more than enough to attract some good shops with interesting ideas and IP. 2) Hire new merchandise reps. Your store displays suck. 3) Keep publishing older games and keep them in stock. To sell more games they have to be available. 4) Stop trying to make every game a port or offshoot of a PS2/PS3 game.

  • Wasn't piracy the claimed reason for studios ditching the PC? Now they are whinging about consoles too? This is just getting old.
  • HomeBrew! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by strange_tractor ( 414986 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:48AM (#27683819) Homepage

    I bought my PSP in order to have something to do on my daily commute, I thought I'd play games on it, I played through God Of War, and a few others, and started to realise that nothing came close to GoW in terms of fun, so it languished as a portable mp3 and aac player for a while

    I ended up sticking hacked firwmare on it just to see what all the fuss was about, and now I can use it to play just about any music and low enough spec video, as an ebook reader and a GPS unit, hasen't seen a game for probably 6 months.

    If Sony had this sort of stuff built in, it'd probably sell a bit better.

  • PSP user (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Remember that custom firmwares actually allow playing legal copies of new games. Back when I bought my PSP (mostly for development and emulators etc.) I decided that I'd buy only a few initial releases (of which Mercury was clearly the best) and no more, as back then it was already obvious that new games started "requiring" newer firmwares (although in most cases this is nothing more than comparing version string in game againist one that PSP reports back). Back then 1.5 was, thanks to its vulnerabilities,

  • by Chonine ( 840828 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @04:21AM (#27684211)

    Piracy is the perfect excuse. Poor sales? Blame piracy, no one gets fired and they keep doing what they've been doing. The PSP is a neat system, which had a botched launch and poor support since. I had it and enjoyed it for a while, but it couldn't hold up to my DS. Why?

    Piracy on the DS is much more fun. A flashcart with memory card can be had for under ten bucks. They do everything out the box, getting data on them is a cinch. If it truly is piracy that has killed the PSP, then the DS should have been gone and buried. It is not fun nor easy to play homebrew or emulators on most PSPs, especially the more recent. Yet the DSi has a $10 fix.

    Perhaps one day Sony will stop making excuses and make systems and games that I want to buy.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My first post on Slashdot (long time reader) and I had to chip in about this.

    I have original PSP, that was bought for me as a present a couple of years ago. I was given 2 films with it, and two games. Now I'll be honest, I'm a pirate and I pirate everything. My golden rule is - if it was good enough to play/read/watch - then I'd buy it, which is why I saw all of my fave films at the cinema, then bought them on DVD, then ripped them to hard drive. If they're not good enough, I just download them - so I have

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