Help Us Help You, Sony
Here at Modojo we love handhelds. So why do some of us still not own PSPs? Cody Musser explains his stance...
I would think that it is mostly a well known fact that the Nintendo DS is a better handheld gaming system than the Sony PSP. Anyone disagreeing with that really isn't looking at the facts. Now before anyone starts calling me "uppity" and throwing around the 'F' word (fanboy obviously), they should consider this: I want a Sony PSP.
I actually want one pretty bad. So why isn't it a priority? That's what I'd like to discuss. For as much as I may be interested in the system, I'd like to state some facts, and hopefully make some suggestions that Sony can take to heart, about why I haven't found myself with PSP in hand just yet. Take note Sony, these are the reasons why I don't own a Sony PSP, and I'm probably not alone on this.
The Price. Sony has officially announced that there won't be a price drop for the PSP this Holiday season. When they're facing the hype that the DS is building for itself, and they have almost (Portable Ops excluded) no heavy-hitting titles on their fence, how in the hell can they expect gamers to be comfortable with their systems price-point. They need to build excitement, and they need to level the field with their competitor, but alas, they seem to think that they're comfortable where they're at. I think they're comfortable losing.
Rumors. Rumors about any gaming system are going to be dissuading, but the rumors surrounding the PSP are particularly so. Price drop rumors are always going to catch the eyes of the gamers, and the redesign rumors floating about the net are just as notable, but there is a very important reason the rumors surrounding the PSP are so detracting. It's because gamers feel that these rumors shouldn't be rumors at all. When everyone wants a price drop or redesign so badly, rumors quickly become excuses for not making purchases.
The Software. The PSP has a lineup of pretty solid software. The games, for the most part, are why I'm interested in the system. Unfortunately, there just aren't enough quality releases to demand that I purchase a PSP for the price the system is selling at. Strange, that reminds me of another system soon debuting, and I think it even rhymes with PSP. Any system needs a killer app to satisfy most gamers, and the PSP is looking at null. Sony, unfortunately, doesn't have the franchise selection that Nintendo does, when it comes to games that can sell systems. Even Solid Snake and the fellows from GTA just don't stand a chance against that damned plumber.
UMD. I'm not saying that the UMD format is garbage, I'm just saying it's absolutely the stupidest thing ever created. Oh wait, I guess that does make it garbage. With major outlets removing UMDs from their shelves entirely, the format is basically dead. That removes one feature from the PSP's catalog almost entirely, and with that gone, Sony still keeps touting that this system should be selling for so much because it is this magical entertainment box. In whose eyes?
PS3 Connectivity. This is supposed to be one of the reasons people will be buying a PSP in the future, but with the mysticism surrounding the PS3's online capabilities, I think it's actually more of a negative issue. The rumors are flying high about downloading PS1 games through the PS3 and playing them on the PSP, but it all seems pretty outrageous to me. A PS1 game isn't exactly tiny, and is the feature really that exciting if we'll be walking around with one game per memory stick? Even the connection between PS3 and PSP games is in question, because Sony can claim it is going to be there, but we haven't seen any reason to believe that just yet. At least Nintendo has Pokemon.
Loading times. I'd like to think that issue will be dissolving as programmers grow more comfortable with the system, but with the PSP facing so many issues, will they ever? The loading times for some PSP titles are outrageous, and many of the games are just unplayable. As the quality and size of PSP games increases, the loading times had better be kept in check, or the PSP is doomed, no doubt about it.
Competition. I don't like to judge the merit of one console based on another, but in this situation not making mention of the DS is just absurd. Perhaps the single more important reason I don't own a PSP just yet, is because the DS is just so damned good. The DS is shattering sales records in Japan, picking up for lost time in the US and Europe, and has a software library unleashing upon gamers that is just daunting. Sony needs to find a way to dent the DS, or the PSP is always going to play second fiddle.
Failure. The last reason I don't own a PSP is actually more abstract than the rest. I'd have to say that the PSP is, unfortunately, a failure, and that's a pretty good reason to not purchase a gaming system. Sony set out to smash boundaries with the PSP, the system was supposed to be this portable entertainment hub, and it just never materialized. Through all the faults and failures, the PSP never became what Sony intended, and they had to fight Nintendo, who succeeded in bringing their form of innovation, with a gimped device. It's a sad tale really; I think I'm tearing up.
So, while this all sounds terribly negative, I'll say it once more. I really would like to own a PSP. However, that is mostly because I hate feeling like I'm missing out on some excellent titles, not because the system itself is that impressive. Will I see myself picking one up anytime soon? Doubtful. The problems with the PSP are plenty, and I'd like to see Sony put forth the effort to make some changes. Is it that hard for a company to admit their problems and fix them? Pride shouldn't be that important when there's money to be made. Not to mention, those rumors about redesign ...