ATC: SONY’s Fighting the Fight (At Least)

August 31, 2007 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

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All Things Considered is a weekly series, providing the ranting and raving podium for the eager founder and blogger of Get Loco, locoroco. It will cover topics ranging from the gaming industry as a whole to its players.

Here at Beyond Get Loco, we were pretty sure this is the Year of the PSP. 2007’s gotta be. God of War: Chains of Olympus, WipEout Pulse, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, and a couple of other exclusives are coming in addition to a new PSP, and at least for our friends in Europe, a video download service. With everything–including sales–looking up, it’s easy to say that we were right. We’ve had our doubts in between, but critics have nothing on those who truly say that this year will show immense success for SONY’s little machine that can: SONY’s fighting the fight, and doing it extraordinarily.

At E3 this year, we saw a confident, not a shaky SONY. Last year at E3, they brought a PSP timeline that was followed sketchily and half-assedly. This year, no timeline was brought, just results. The improved PSPslim, or “PSP-2000”, as SONY likes to call it, is not a bland reiteration of an already bland device. Rather, it adds sex appeal and improves on the features owners complained about most. It’s a good mid-life recycle; slimming and thinning down was key and some other improvements came along with it.

Most critics complained heavily about the lack of a harddrive or flash drive. Because the PSP is a multimedia device (or at least that was SONY’s original intention with it), it would seem likely that SONY would want to utilize these features. SONY forgot to add a harddrive or flash drive, which I really wanted, but I suddenly stopped complaining. It’s pretty clear that SONY is primarily competing with Nintendo’s device, not Apple’s. SONY’s dream has been to take Apple head-on, but they shouldn’t with the Playstation name. A video download service and flash drive would’ve been nice, but it’s true that it would only alienate hardcore gamers from the device who bought it for that purpose only.

One thing the slimmer PSP takes advantage of are video-out capabilities. There’s long been the stereotype that gamers who play handhelds should usually be somewhere where the big console can’t be. SONY disproves this stereotype with the video-out capabilities. If that’s not enough, SONY finally makes proper use of the UMD format. Now that UMDs cost considerably less than DVDs and can be played on PSPs and on TVs in 4:3 and 16:9 resolution, it’s easy to say that they are perhaps a better value. Also, because there’s no extra cost required to bring your PSP video to television, it’s easy to say that it’s an excellent value.

SONY makes this possible at a mere $169, and for an extra $20, the biggest value is available. The Entertainment Pack gets new owners a 1GB memory stick, Family Guy on UMD, and Daxter on UMD to start with. Nintendo offers no such pack and retailers offer bundles for much more than $189. Seeing this is one example of SONY’s PSP finally being the better value.

If that wasn’t enough, third-party developers finally lined up and paid their dues to the PSP. Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Monster Hunter 2 are examples of third-party developers bringing amazing games to the Playstation Portable. If that’s not enough, Studio Liverpool and Ready-at-Dawn are hard at work on WipEout Pulse and God of War: Chains of Olympus, easily expected to be some of the PSP’s best-selling games ever. Square Enix, SEGA, and Ubisoft have a dozen games together lined up for the PSP, all of them equally looking dazzling, in addition to the rest of the third-party fray.

Say all you want about SONY, but they’re fighting the fight at least. A long, brutal battle of endurance, but a true one.

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Entry filed under: ATCARCHIVES, CONSOLES, OFFBEAT, OTHER, OURVOICE, PSP, SPECIALS, UNTAGGED, UPDATES.

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