Analysis: Is the PSP Dead?

March 11, 2007 at 7:26 pm 3 comments

Post-GDC Analysis
Is the PSP Dead?

SONY hyped the PSP back in 2004 and 2005, before revealing it and releasing it. Everyone was very giddy; someone was finally willing to make a long-term stab at fighting Nintendo in the handheld race. After all, SONY was #1 with the PSOne and PS2. Would the same success continue with the handheld market? Some believed so, but the DS Lite crashed the PSP’s party and prevented our favorite handheld from stabbing at the market any further.

It didn’t help that the DS Lite was a mere $129 and the PSP was $249. It didn’t help that the DS had a several month lead and that its games costed $10-$20 less. It didn’t help that the DS Lite had stellar games on the market like Nintendogs, Final Fantasy, New Super Mario Bros., Elite Beat Agents, and Brain Age to help it sell (and at that point in time, the PSP’s only killer app was GTA).

Furthermore, SONY let us down by forgetting about first-party development. They consistently delayed Gran Turismo Mobile until most of us believed the game wasn’t even coming any longer. They left out the highly coveted infrastructure gameplay on high-profile first-party titles. The third-parties were all focusing on graphical power more than value and gameplay. Big producers SEGA, Rockstar, and EA Games all had shooters and sports on their mind rather than adventure.

Oh, and the homebrew gamers. Homebrew gaming had always been a small portion of gaming. Modding, homebrewing, and other “underground gaming tactics” were always too hard for the majority of gamers to catch on to. The PSP was so easy to hack that homebrewers simply boughht a $249 PSP to experiment and use their own creations for. SONY chose to fight the homebrewers through a series of complex firmware upgrades that didn’t add any new features; just security upgrades.

All these disadvantages led the PSP to be proclaimed “dead” by every major journalist out there. They laughed in the faces of SONY, claiming that the once-dominant leader in the gaming market was to pummel thanks to low-PSP sales and rumors of high expenses with the PS3. Without a single “it” application to help the PSP, SONY also failed to focus on the multimedia portion of the PSP. They failed to provide a video service for downloads AND a music download service which wasn’t a hassle.

So the big question is: Is the PSP dead?

No. SONY isn’t losing interest in the PSP. Third-party developers are figuring out how the portable should be used. For good and lengthy games. Thus, serious third-party developers who develop PSP-exclusives don’t show up with lackluster graphics, short gameplay, and long loading times. They show up with a processing goddess such as Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops or Monster Hunter 2 to dazzle crowds. They make sure that gameplay is long enough to satisfy. And, SONY is finally kicking their first-party development up a notch. Killzone and LocoRoco were great starts, but the future reveals that they shouldn’t be the only first-party games developed. Ratchet & Clank was praised by pretty much every critic; good things were to be said for the game. LocoRoco sequels, a possible God of War Mobile, and the slight possibility of Gran Turismo Mobile are all in the future. Square-Enix is planning a series of Final Fantasy remakes now that the Game Boy Advance is pretty much dead for the PSP AND Crisis Core, the ever-so-hyped new game that brings us back to the world of Final Fantasy.

There’s been rumors that SONY is planning to partner up with a digital video service to bring video downloads to the PSP. Additionally, RSS opens up many doors in terms of providing content. This allows for podcasts and vodcasts to be reached on the PSP. The PSP’s internet does the same, in terms of providing content. Hopefully, SONY will allow for demos to be downloaded straight from the PSP (and provide more in the foreseeable future).

There is very little reason to think that the PSP will best the DS Lite in sales, but there is reason to think that the gap will be closed in the near-future, and that SONY will be revealing a second PSP sometime soon. It’s great to hear that the future looks bright for our favorite handheld.





GDC 07: LocoRoco Snubbed at GDC Awards… Teh Confirmed!: God of War PSP Coming Soon

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. emperorbananaketchup  |  March 20, 2007 at 3:19 am

    I don’t think so…come to think of it, there is so much potential in the PSP that Sony or the developers have failed to unlock.

  • […] vehicles, but new ways of racing completely and mini-games/infrastructure gameplay. The PSP will not be dead if a sequel like this comes out. Additionally, a PS3 vert has been […]

  • 3. Analysis: PSP Advertising Campaign #26,709 «  |  April 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    […] usually defending SONY in the majority of my opinion articles. Yet, SONY keeps on messing up. Especially with their […]


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