PSP is Go(-ing nowhere fast)

1 06 2009

Originally when I decided to make an entry about Sony’s unveiling of the PSP Go I was going to try to avoid saying anything that Sony’s loyal fanbase would misconstrue as the work of a Microsoft or Nintendo fanboy. Then I remembered that’s what they think any dissenting opinion about Sony is from, so I decided pulling punches was unnecessary. That said I am going to try to remain constructive.

So yeah, the PSP Go. Sony’s attempting to do away with physical media on this one, for a couple reasons. One reason being that the UMD was a terrible idea and the drive sapped battery life like you wouldn’t believe. The other reason is…oh I dunno let’s be really snarky and say “to charge everyone for their UMD-based games again”. Granted that one isn’t really fair since Nintendo is doing the exact same thing to their GBA library with the DSi. But on the other hand you’d think Sony would’ve found a way to do a relatively painless data transfer to a memory stick of UMD games to compensate. Actually I don’t even know if that would work. The point is that in theory they had a chance to get one over on Nintendo and kinda missed the boat.

Which brings me to the next instance of Sony missing the boat. The PSP Go still has the analog nub.
Exhibit A: The Thumb Wrecker 3000

I already have a low opinion of this…thing they try to pass off as an analog stick because the mere thought of it makes my thumb hurt. But now they’ve put it in it’s own little recessed alcove, as if that will somehow make it work properly (I’m going to have to guess “no” on that one). The problem isn’t that one’s thumb would slip off, the problem is that it is just a badly designed piece of hardware that doesn’t feel right to most people who use it. And again, my thumb hurts just thinking about the abrasive texture they’ve placed on it for “friction”. Maybe if they had designed it more like a conventional analog stick, it wouldn’t have to be built like a piece of vulcanized rubber sandpaper.

Furthermore, it’s on the same side as the D-Pad. Why not just put it on the other side, so that you could (assuming an FPS) you could use the analog nub to aim and look around and use the D-pad for strafing. But of course apparently I’m thinking wrong because “3D action games do not belong on handhelds” (this is a comment someone said on a forum, take it for what you will). Personally I feel if the handheld has the approximate power of a PS1, it should be able to do 3D action games. But that’s just me.

Also I’m not so sure an all-download model for software distribution is going to work out properly. I am hoping that Sony isn’t going to make it so you’ll have to be connected via PSP to some sort of network 24/7 to play, because that will not only put a severe drain on the battery, but also unless someone builds the Aquinas Router in the next 6 months we’re not going to have unlimited-range Internet, which limits the places you’d be able to use your “portable” gaming system. Now I want to believe that Sony isn’t going to repeat what they did with the PS3 and essentially gear it towards a market that wasn’t as big as they thought (the HD market), but at the same time they do have a tendency to over-extend themselves and try to read too far ahead into the future. Plus they’re really vicious about curbing piracy and a constant verification system via 24/7 Internet link sounds like something they might do to deal with that. Again this is all speculation though and I’m not going to castigate them for something they haven’t done yet.

Lastly…the thing just isn’t that appealing. It looks like a cell phone. Hell it might as well be one because it shares the exact same case design as the Sony Mylo.
the PSP Go is the Mylo's gothy younger brother

Of course maybe this is unsurprising, since Sony has maintained that neither the PSP or the PS3 are really “game machines”, which I think is a bad move to make in the Video Game industry because typically, aside from the NES which had to advertise itself differently out of necessity, people are buying game consoles for the games. Not because they can play movies/music/etc.

I mean yes, most of them can do that, but they are tertiary to the whole game-playing part…mostly.

Anyway it will be interesting to see how the PSP Go fares. Right now I feel it has to do a couple things in order to compete with Nintendo on a better level than its predecessor.

1. Killer App. The PSP has not had one. They tried with Lumines but it failed to be the next Tetris.
2. Better Battery Life. I can attest that my DS could last a 6-hour drive with life to spare, wheras my brother’s PSP would clonk out after only 2. This needs to be overcome.

Do I think they can do it? I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like they could. I don’t think the PSP Go will fail horribly, but it won’t make much more of a splash than the original PSP did.

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2 responses

1 06 2009
psp go

PSP go rocks is really looks great and another metal gear game is going to be released on it …

1 06 2009
edubois

Sadly the MGS series has soured for me after 3. Also in terms of PSP metal gear games, Portable Ops was all right but hampered by bad controls, and I didn’t really care for the Acid series. Again, probably not for me. And I don’t see Metal Gear as being the killer app anyway.

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