Friday, April 25, 2008

Next-Generation PSP On The Way?

I draw your attention to the fact that only one game came out for the PSP this month in Australia (UEFA Euro 2008) and there's only two more games after than until the end of August (Iron Man and FF7: Crisis Core). Over the same period, the PS2, an ostensibly superseded console, has five releases.

I don't think I'm being premature in saying that the PSP is thoroughly into its twilight; these are the sort of release schedules that you expect to see on a system once the next-generation model has been out for 6 months or so.

Sony, for all their vices, aren't terminally stupid. I'd be very surprised if Sony are not almost finished development on their next generation handheld. With rumours flying around about a new-model Nintendo DS, it's worth keeping your ear out for something much more interesting coming from Sony. I'd put money on something lighter, easier to hold, with improved battery life and a vastly streamlined connectivity profile. UMD will be out the door, possibly in favour of non-physical media.

It'll be interesting to see the plan for taking on the Nintendo DS giant.

EDIT: A better source puts the Europe-region PSP releases to August at 16, versus 19 on the PS2. (Compare to 47 on the DS.) It may be that the discrepancy is due to shorter announce-time on releases in Australia. Anyway, even with larger numbers, I'm happy to stand by the rest of my comments above.


Anonymous said...

I am currently using my PSP to write this comment.
I have a slim&lite. Is significantly more lightweight than the original.
Release market seems very different here in the UK. I've never had to walk out of a game store empty-handed when I've wanted a new title...
And there have been alot of online aps in recent updates...
There also seems to be alot more online content lately too.
I think that Sony are playing with making PSP into a PS3 companion device... Need more time to play with it a bit more.

Greg Tannahill said...

I think Sony would like to be able to do more with the PSP. Unfortunately the developers aren't really backing that move.

The PSP is a pretty damn good try for Sony's first step into the handheld market, but it ultimately comes with a bunch of problems including sub-par battery life, an ergonomically awkward design, a screen that gathers dust as though it was sweet candy, and the UMD media format. Their intention to use it as a media center was also significantly hampered by an arcane interface, deliberate lack of support for homebrew, and their insistence on Sony formats for physical storage.

The market's telling them pretty clearly that it wants to see their next try; I wouldn't be surprised to see Sony announce it's ready to answer that call at Tokyo Game Show this year.

Xantar said...

I don't know that it's time to move on just yet. The PSP has been selling really well in Japan, sometimes even topping the DS by a 2:1 ratio (personally, I think this is because the Japanese market is quite saturated with DS by now, but that's neither here nor there). Monster Hunter has been a big hit, and it seems that Sony has been doing what they should have done from the beginning: sell the PSP as a videogame playing device, full stop. It's been months since they've announced a new PDA-like function for the thing.