So this thing is finally out. What do I think? It's totally incredible. The screen kicks ass. The games look awsome. Plus it's so damn tiny, truley amazing that they could squeese so much hardware in such a small package (that's what she said.) When it launched recently I came to work and was like the only person in the building who didn't have one. There were guys sitting in my room playing Ridge Racer with people on floors above and below them. It totally blew me away, everything they said it was gonna be and more.
Well, maybe not. This is Sony we're talking about, and sure enough there's been many reports of the Sony-crappy-first-generation-build-curse that comes with all Sony game systems. People are returing thier PSPs two or three times to get a unit without dead pixels. A bad batch in Japan had the X button getting stuck under the faceplate when pressed too hard. So people are complaining about dirt under the screens. Small things to bitch about, but when you just shelled out $300 you expect to get some quality.
So how well is this thing going to sell? Despite slower sales at launch than everyone expected, It's Sony, so you know that everyone is going to get one. Regardless of how shitty you think Sony's products are (I will never be an early adapter of a Sony game system because I like having hardware that doesn't explode on me) one thing you have to give to them is that they have definitely built up a following of trust among their customers by demonstrating the amazing ability to give the people what they want. Remember how for years Nintendo and Sega eighty-sixed all the cool Japanese RPGs because they thought they wouldn't appeal to western gamers? No more of that shit. Remember Nintendo taking the blood out of Mortal Kombat or NEC censoring JJ and Jeff on the TG16? Sony let's the publisher decide what goes and what stays (for the most part.) Games like Parappa the Rapper and State of Emergency never would have come out if released ten years ago. On this point Sony has the upper hand- people know when they buy a Sony game system that they're going to get variation, diversity, and games that are true to the publisher's intention, and lots of it too boot. All the good shit is on PS2.
However, I predict (and I might be wrong here) that at most this system will be a distant second to the GBA in terms of market penetration. Nintendo has the massive installed user base, the incredible amount of games (even more if you count the 1000+ old school Game Boy titles,) the licenses, and an army of little kids trying to catch them all. If the PSP takes over it will be only after years and years like in the 16 bit wars of the 90's. The main trouble with this thing is going to be the price, look how small that thing is. How the hell do you shove something more powerful than a PS1 down so small and still make it affordable? Consoles like the Tapwave Zodiac does it but that thing costs $400. Nokia's Ngage was supposed to take the world by storm but nobody in their right mind is going to spend $299 on a crappy phone that plays games, even if it is Tomb Raider. Now you're a parent getting your kid a new birthday present. You see a GBA SP for $99 and a Sony PSP for minimum several hundred dollars more, which one are you gonna buy?
So what about the games? Not very many so far (as of this writing the PSP has only been out in America for about two weeks) but give it some time. The ones that are out kick some major ass. Ridge Racer looks totally awsome. At the moment there are over 100 games from various publishers in devleopment, so even if it does crash like a American Airlines pilot there'll still be plenty to collect.
Early concept of the PSP. They should have kept it like this imo.
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Games at launch:
Approx. 170 mm (L) x 74 mm (W) x 23 mm (D)
Approx. 260 g (including battery)
PSP CPU (System clock frequency 1~333MHz)
Display: 4.3 inch, 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD, 480 x 272 pixel (16.77 million colors), Max. 200 cd/m2 (with brightness control)
Built-in stereo speakers
IEEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi), USB 2.0 (Target), Memory StickT PRO Duo, IrDA, IR Remote (SIRCS)
UMD Drive (Playback only)
PSP Game, UMD Audio, UMD Video
DC OUT 5V, Terminals for charging built-in battery, Headphone/Microphone/Control connector
Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left)Analog pad, Enter keys (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Left, Right keys START, SELECT, HOME, POWER On/Hold/Off switch, Brightness control, Sound Mode, Volume +/-, Wireless LAN On/Off switch, UMD Eject
Built-in lithium-ion battery, AC adaptor
Region Code, Parental Control
Stand, Headphone with remote commander, Headphone with remote commander and microphone, External battery pack, Case, Strap
E3 Prototype Exhibition:
USB Camera for PSP, USB GPS for PSP, USB Keyboard for PSP