I awoke this morning to my wonderful list of fresh RSS feeds for the week to be horribly surprised by this:
PSP2 ‘Dead on Arrival’
First off, I don’t know what Pach Attack is or if they’re even really that credible, but that’s an asinine statement. And to say that the handheld market is dying and that the 3DS is going to prolong the life of it for a while is even more stupid.
Yes, the iPod Touch as well as the iPhone have cut into the handheld market significantly, but I don’t think it’s made enough of an impact to say that handhelds are in trouble. People aren’t purchasing an iPod or iPhone for a gaming experience, it’s for music or a phone. It’s just that the convenience of having that option certainly makes it easier for someone to whip their phone out of their pocket for a few minutes of Angry Birds as opposed to a nice drawn out RPG. That’s not to say that there are no fantastic gaming experiences available in the App Store, it’s just that the interface doesn’t always allow for a proper experience to be had. I can certainly tell you that first person shooters aren’t nearly as enjoyable on an iPod as they are on PSP or DS. Not to mention that the hardware doesn’t exactly match up, though it’s definitely getting there.
Now, from what I’ve seen of the PSP2, I can say two things: I totally understand what they’re aiming for and that they better have more than one option available.
For those that haven’t seen the PSP2, I’ll drop a link and quickly give an overview of what it’s offering.
http://psp.ign.com/articles/113/1138558p1.html (shows a nice video of it in action)
From what’s been revealed over the last month (not directly from Sony but leaked, rather) the PSP2 is essentially going to be what the PSPGo should’ve been: a PSP with access to a 3G network. It’ll also feature a touch screen and some sort of slide panel. The unfortunate things are this:
- it seems to force the phone thing upon us
- it’s running Android (well, not necessarily unfortunate)
Now, you might be wondering why I say those are its downfalls. Well, the fact of the matter is, almost everyone already has a phone, whether it’s for gaming or not, they won’t want to buy a PSP2 because it’s likely that there will be forced into a contract of sorts.
And Android, I don’t know if it’s the best platform to be building a gaming device on. While it will greatly encourage the development of software for the PSP2 as well as give you access to Android’s app store which are both huge positives, it’s not the same as having your own OS properly run your software. Also, all it takes is a phone of similar hardware specs to create some sort of emulator for it not to mention it’ll probably be even easier to jail break. However, at the same time, it could be its saving grace because of those same reasons. Personally, I just think it’s a cop-out and a hope to nab a corner of the market that’s faithful to Android and the PlayStation brand. And that’s really just a personal thing.
I think that them moving away from disc or cartridge based software is also a step in positive direction. Obviously, the UMD was quite a huge flop, not to mention just a bad idea in general, flash memory is more battery efficient, has larger capacities and reads faster than anything disc based, so why they would even try that is beyond me, but it was a nice try. But adding in the option of the 3G network and constant high speed access to the PSN for both online gaming and digital downloads is huge positive, if done correctly. Also, with the death of some sort of physical gaming disc, the price of games can drop significantly.
In order for it to properly succeed, they need to make a phone-less option. Similar to how you have the iPhone and iPod touch. If they make a version of the PSP2 without the phone but all of the same features, well my fan boy faucet will be leaking in anticipation and then ultimately spluging upon arrival. I won’t part with my iPhone for a PSP2, but I’ll definitely get a PSP2 as a side dish. That being said, I still want access to 3G, something similar to the Kindle, where access to the PSN is free, which should be the same in the phone version. And it’s definitely possible to have access to some 3G network without having to pay for it, Rogers does it for their App and it doesn’t count towards your used data. Just restrict my access to 3G for only the PSN. Or make it possible for it to NOT cost $500+ for it without a contract and you’re golden.
Also, it needs to be roughly the same size as any other Android phone, light-weight and fits nicely in the front pocket without it bulging like a wallet.
But let’s not forget something from recent history that tried something similar, however without any sort of fanboys or following: the Nokia N-Gage. A gaming device and phone all in one.
So there’s definitely a possibility for success, and at the same time there’s a large amount of room open for complete failure. But to say that it’s dead on arrival more than a year before it’s expected to come out and before it’s even officially announced is not only bold, it’s downright stupid. I think Sony’s smart enough of a company to not just try and copy other’s success (which people seem to think about the Move, still yet unproven because they gave it terrible launch titles) without learning from other’s failures by making a just mobile phone gaming device, they’ll hopefully play their cards right and make it what it should be.
As for the handheld market, it’s not dead, and it’s not going to die any time soon. That’s like saying OnLive is going to kill console gaming, it’s just not going to happen. On Demand TV however killing regular TV, is something else.