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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

PSP in 2009/2010?

::::Just some concept art I found online::::

I dunno. I posted some thoughts about it already, but the rumourangs about a "PSP 2" just aren't going away.

It's a bit sad, because with the announcements of new UMD games and the lilac "Hannah Montana" PSP... which I have to admit I'm liking (the colour) more every day... this good news should have fans feeling the PSP is on a major comeback. But because of these "PSP 2 with no UMD drive" rumours, I can't help but feel like why would I want another PSP if a major redesign is just around the corner... just behind all the Sony suits hiding something behind their backs going, "nothing to see here...."

These rumours aren't just some vague rants or individuals looking for their 15 minutes of fame. Before the PSP-3000 was announced, NOBODY would have thought there'd be another PSP iteration so soon after PSP-2000 came out. It wasn't even a year. Sony themselves should get a big part of the blame for the persistence of these rumours.

I think that "PSP 2" will come out soon, and PSP (2000/3000) will still be in stock, they will share shelf space like what Nintendo plans with the DS/DSi: they said the DS will still be available, and it's $130.00, while the DSi will be $170.00. This is a little more honest than Sony just ignoring that the PSP-2000 is still on the shelves at all, which it is.

I can see Sony spinning this as "if you want to play the UMD PSP library, you can buy a PSP-3000, if you want to all download, buy our PSP 2"... of course you can download games onto a PSP too.

The main thing is that I don't think Sony is ready to release the PSP 2 because it sounds very dependent on having a robust library of downloadable games. Maybe the PS Store in Japan can do it, but I don't think any of the other PS Stores have enough games to properly support a new handheld console. They'd have to have a killer app of some sort, at least one must-have game that would be PSP 2 exclusive.

I've been keeping track of Sony's mp3 player development, and their latest, the Sony X-1000 is supposed to be their answer to the iPod Touch. It has a touch screen, but also tactile buttons.

Traditionally Sony's mp3 players & the PSP have some overlap but never really meet, they stay pretty separate. So it might not be an accurate indication of what's to come for the PSP 2 but maybe...

I'm not exactly sure why people need touch so badly in a PSP. Is it just a sheep mentality: "Ooh, the DS and iPhone use touch and they're really popular, so that's what will save us!"? I don't mind the feature maybe... but why not add accelerometer motion controls while you're at it? Loco Roco with tilt controls?? How awesome would that be?

If Sony does keep the tactile buttons, they'd better add a second analogue nub. That's the top of my list. If the PSP had 2 analogue nubs back in 2005, things would be very different today. Yes there would be more ports, probably a lot more FPS ports. But that momentum would possibly have allowed some more creative games to also be developed for the system.

A big point is storage... I'd like to see some built in flash memory as well as being expandable. It would have to have at least 32GB, which Sony's mp3 players are currently maxing out at, but I think if they wanted to be serious it should have 64GB, if not more. Another indicator of Sony's abandonment of PSP is the lack of a 32GB memory stick being announced. Every February they've been announcing a new memory stick that doubles the capacity of the previous maximum stick. last February we got 16GB, but this Feb... nothing so far.... this could be due to Sony's fear of people using the big sticks for piracy, but it could also be if a PSP 2 is coming, especially a 32GB one, they want that to be a selling point and not compete with it with a regular memory stick. That's a sketchy theory I admit-- hell, a 32GB memory stick could come out in a few weeks for all I know.

Bottom line is I can't shake the feeling that a "PSP 2" or a "download-only PSP" is coming soon. It won't necessarily replace the current PSP right away but it's meant to, eventually. Unless Sony can assure us that things are not going to change, 2009-2010 is looking murky for PSPs future......

But even if that does happen, the PSP will still have a few big-name games lined up for it. Plus there are lots of games in its back-catalogue that are really forgotten treasures. I know I have at least 5 PSP games in my pile that I have to dig into, including God of War: Chains of Olympus. I'm going to try to keep in mind the positive news, that new games are coming for PSP, and that even if a PSP 2 comes out, our PSPs aren't going to just stop working. What I love about the PSP right now will still be there a year from now...


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