For the most part.

"The DMG Ice State of the Handhelds Address 2: Sony"
-By Philip Wesley-
-Really the one we want.-
-Posted February 18, 2010-

This could be the year of the PSP. If any system has been improved over the years, that system would be the Sony PlayStation Portable. The amount of excellent games that have come out for the system positions it as an excellent second portable to the Nintendo DS/DSi. The interesting thing about the PSP is that Sony went ahead and tried to "split" the market for it by putting out multiple types of system with incompatibilities across the board due to the lack of a UMD drive. The PSP is, oddly, the best selling system in Japan and the worst selling system in Japan at the same time because of the split between PSP and PSP Go. Because of this split, I will go ahead and make a few recommendations for the PSP, PSP Go, PSN, and an over all suggestion for where the system should go in the future for best results. I know I said that I would cover the Nintendo side of things for this address, but the upcoming Nintendo Media Summit means that I will have to postpone some of my predications until after the summit for the sake of what may (or may not) be revealed at the summit. Now, we return to the PSP address at hand.

The Sony PSP 3000 is an excellent piece of hardware in terms of games. The upcoming year holds -in the United States- ports of Lunar: Silver Star Story, Persona 3, and a few more excellent titles. The newer titles will be Phantasy Star Portable 2, God Eater, Monster Hunter Portable 3, The Third Birthday (Parasite Eve 3), Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and the upcoming blockbuster: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. The system continues to sell well in Japan thanks to Monster Hunter Portable and -if Sony markets it right- could face revived sales in the United States with the arrival of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker. The system should be marketed as what it is: An excellent alternative to the iPod Touch. They share a lot of the same functions such as movies, music, and games. Sony should push the Camera and GPS unit out onto the market and focus on the PSP's strengths. Through PSP Minis, the PSP has downloadable games like the iPod Touch and many of the PSP Minis are iPod Touch ports. The PSP can play movies and has a better navigation ability than the iPod Touch. The PSP also plays more music types than the iPod Touch and plays them with visualizations. Overall, the PSP should be marketed as a "secondary" system to the PS3. A good way to go with this is what they have been doing with Blu Ray and downloadable PSP copies.

The PSP Go is a train wreck and that is really tragic. The reason the PSP Go is a train wreck is the simple fact that it does not allow you to transfer your UMD titles to the unit. Having to repurchase a title would not be so bad if they allowed you to get some sort of discount or if downloadable titles were not the same price as physical ones. The frequent sales on PSN are a good start, but the prohibitive prices and the lack of titles is the most troubling thing hurting the PSP Go. If they allowed you to transfer one or two PSP UMDs to your PSP Go, without restriction, over a special cable from your PSP 3000, than that would take care of the most prohibitive hurdle on the PSP Go. This would be a great way to circumvent the lack of titles like Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep on PSN for PSP Go owners. The system could also use a relaunch with new colors and a new slogan. Try: "Everything Anywhere" or something similar to that slogan.

PSN is a good resource with a lot of problems: The biggest one being the speed at which titles are made available. The updates were good during the end of 2009, but the service has fallen behind DSi Ware in the amount of titles added to it. When DSi Ware adds 5 games in a week and PSP PSN only adds 1 game; it looks very bad. Personally, I would like more sales, a lower price point on PSN, and there is still a handful of titles that are not available on the service. Here is a quick over view of the Top Twenty-Five PSP UMD titles that need to be on PSN but are not currently on it.

TOP TWENTY-FIVE UMD TITLES PSN NEEDS. (In no particular order.)
25.  Gitaroo Man Lives!
24. Mega Man Powered Up
23. Final Fantasy 2
22. Star Ocean 2
21. Popolocrois
20. Legend of Heroes 3
19. Metal Gear Acid 2
18. Phantasy Star Portable
17. Namco Arcade
16. Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law
15. Tales of World: Radiant Mythology
14. Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions
13. Final Fantasy 1
12. Star Ocean 1
11. Legend of Heroes 2
10. Legend of Heroes 1
9. Midway Arcade Classics
8. EA Replay
7. Y's: Ark of Napishtim
6. Valkyrie Profile
5. Atari Classics Evolved
4. Tekken: Dark Resurrection
3. Traxxpad
2. Taito Legends: Powered Up
1. Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core

I think that the presence of certain titles on that list is really telling about why the PSP Go has failed on the market at this point. PSN is also missing a lot of PSOne titles that have been released for it in Japan and in some other markets; but have yet to be released in the United States. That list would include some heavy hitters like Xenogears, Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Cross, Mega Man Legends, Mega Man 8, Einhander, and more. Also the amount of original content that is unavailable is telling as well. Games like Braid, Mega Man 9, Trash Panic and others have no excuse to NOT be PSP downloadable titles. Titles like Stardust, Everyday Shooter, and Pixeljunk Monsters have made the leap with no problems. A game like Mega Man 9 is just BEGGING to be on a handheld system and there is no reason why it is not on, at least, the PSP.

The future of the PSP could go several different ways. We know, from Sony's inability to keep secrets, that future revisions of their PSP hardware are forthcoming. These would be the PSP 4000 and the PSP Go 32GB models. There is also the PSP 2 in the future as well. I will do speculation on those in another article. In this article, I would like to mention five items that the PSP should focus on in the future: 3D Content,  eBooks, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.

3D gaming is an interesting idea that has a slight bit of merit; but can really only be a gimmick at best. Because of the PSP screen, a developer would have to use Anaglyph 3D. If Sony packed in the glasses with certain games that had a 3D mode and then backed it up with Anaglyph enabled comics, and video content; they could succeed. It would be a good marketing point as part of the "Everything Anywhere" slogan idea. The public is suitably enamored with 3D content currently and offering it as an aside on the PSP would be a prudent idea. Yes, the glasses look silly and the addition does little in the way of improving content; but the PSP needs a few more bullet points to further sales.

The Comic Book Reader on the PSP creates a folder called "BOOKS" when it is installed. If Sony put a PDF reader in that "EXTRAS" section of the PSP XMB, they could effectively add that notch to the systems selling points. The ability to read PDF files would be brilliant as the PSP really should be an "Everything Anywhere" device. It also takes a bit of the iPad's lunch and eats it too.

The EXTRAS menu on the XMB should also be used for a custom YouTube channel, a custom FaceBook channel, and a custom Twitter channel. Sure, the PSP really could use 3G and 802.11g/n as well; but that is why they will continue to refine the hardware. There is not real Flash support on the PSP Web Browser, so a few dedicated FaceBook, Twitter, and YouTube channels would be most welcome.

In conclusion, it would appear that Sony has been making baby steps toward making the PSP profitable; but they are going way too slowly on doing so. The PSP is a great device and it could be a market leader if Sony would just put the effort into it to make it more appealing. The device is wonderful and I use the multi-media functions of it every day. The 3000 has better battery life than an iPod Touch, I can play some really good games on it, I like the ability to customize and delete items from the unit itself, Remote Play works well, the visualizations work well, the device has a lot going for it. It really is very heart breaking to see such amazing potential being wasted by a company that does not seem to want their product to succeed. Sony needs to wake up, stand up, and deliver on the potential of their system. Thank you for reading this address and look forward to the Nintendo one after their Media Summit.

-Would you like to go to the Ice Block Entrance, Library Entrance, or the Main Entrance?
-Philip Wesley 2010-
-Sora is a trademark of SquareEnix and no endorsement of DMG or SquareEnix by either company is meant or implied.-
-Philip is property of Sarah Tomase-
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