Why can't PSP just focus on being a great gaming device?

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stu-mugshot2.jpgStuart Dredge writes…

We live in a convergance era. My phone plays music, my iPod runs games, my set-top box has a whirring hard drive, and my fridge spends half the day messing about on YouTube rather than keeping my carrots cool. That’s progress, I guess.

My PSP is perhaps the most converged gadget of them all. It’s got a web browser, plays music and videos, displays photos, can act as a wireless TV receiver around the home, and thanks to a new deal between Sony and BT, is going to be capable of making video and voice calls too.

Thing is, does anyone really want all these extra features on their handheld gaming device? Naturally, this is journalistic code for ‘I don’t want them, and I’m going to tell you why everyone else should agree’…

I’m arrogant confident in my hunch, though. How many PSP owners tried ripping a DVD or two onto a memory card to watch on the go when they first got the device, only to ultimately decide that it was a bit of a faff, and they’d rather be playing Virtua Tennis on those long train journeys anyway?

sony-psp-device.jpgWho actually uses their PSP as a music-playing device, when phones are now capable of storing as many songs on a memory card, and dedicated players like the iPod Shuffle are now small enough to be clipped onto your belt?

Who regularly surfs the Web on their PSP? Are UMD movies selling in their millions? What is the point of the PSP’s Remote Play feature, really? And why, oh why, would I want to make voice or video calls with my PSP when I have a 3G mobile phone in my pocket?

As seductive as the ‘many gadgets in one’ convergence argument is, surely it has to stop somewhere. I’d argue that the PSP simply isn’t a communications device, excepting of course features like online multiplayer, and the communities that will (hopefully) spring up around connected games in the future.

I bought my PSP to wear my thumbs down to bloody stumps playing Pro Evolution Soccer, embarrass myself in public by singing along to the dancing scenes in Sid Meier’s Pirates, and to use the Wi-Fi features to prove how woefully un-hardcore I am when playing against people online.

The multimedia / communications stuff? It’s just fripperies. Am I alone in thinking this?

Stuart Dredge

2 comments

  • Nobody is forcing you to use those features. Nobody is forcing you to watch videos, listen to music or buy UMD movies for the PSP. Nobody is forcing you to use it as a web browser, or as a remote player for your PS3. Nobody is forcing you to use the PSP as camera, or GPS receiver. Nobody is forcing you to use it as a mobile communications device.

    Exactly what part of ‘nobody is forcing you’ do you not understand?

    Almost every feature on the PSP is optional. It is up to the individual user to use/buy whatever s/he likes. If you just wanna play games, play games! Why do you people, yes, you PEOPLE always criticise everything Sony does?

    Who are you to judge what functionality Sony should or should not offer to its PSP owners?

    PSP is an amazing device. Love it for what YOU do with it. What others do with it is their business.

    Have a nice day.

  • Extras are great if they are relevant to the device design.
    The PSP should be a great support for games but it falls short for anything else : GPS? too awkward; phone? too bulky; video player? battery life too short; music player? size!capacity!weight!and battery life!; camera? with only 1.3megapixels??
    Jack of all trade….
    hmmm, I wonder why the DS and the Wii are SO successful?

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