Sony's long-awaited PSP successor, the PlayStation Vita, is finally here. The most powerful handheld gaming console of all time, there's no denying it's a mightily impressive bit of kit. But in this age of tablet and smartphone apps, not to mention having a direct rival in the form of the Nintendo 3DS, is there room for another gaming device in our already stuffed pockets? Read on to find out.
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This morning we got some details on the the Sony PSP2, which they now seem to be calling the “PSP Go!”. I thought it’d be interesting to compare and contrast it with the Nintendo DSi, which is by far Sony’s greatest competition in the handheld market.
Sony’s completely dumping the UMD format, after it’s been such a massive flop. The new PSP will instead have plenty of storage onboard – 16GB or 8GB, and let you download content to the device over the air.
The DSi still relies on cartridges, though I suspect that’s for backwards compatibility more than anything else. The latest version of the handheld lets you download content over-the-air as well, and you can store the content on an SD card upto 16GB.
For the PSP Go! there’ll be 100 titles available at launch, including Gran Turismo. Any games you own for your PSP won’t work, as the UMD format won’t be supported. All DS games are still compatible with the DSi, though there’s far fewer titles available in Nintendo’s download store.
While the DSi’s much touted touchscreen has proved a bit of a headache for some games developers, others have used it fantastically. There’s no word yet on whether the PSP Go! will have a touchscreen but it will have an analog stick, a feature sadly missing from Ninty’s handheld.
Size and shape
We don’t know how big the PSP Go! will be, yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s rather more compact than the rather chunky original PSP. What we do know is that the slide-out screen will definitely be present.
The DSi, on the other hand, is a svelte 137mm x 74.9mm x 18.9mm and 214g. It folds in half like a book, and can easily be slipped into a coat pocket. Portability is obviously an important factor for these devices.
The DSi came out on April 3rd 2009 in Europe, and in November 2008 in Japan. The PSP Go! won’t be out until the last quarter of 2009, i.e. not before October. It’ll be shown off at E3 in June, though, so we should get some pictures of it soon that we can use in place of all the concept art that we’ve been employing up till now.
The most important things for Sony to get right are the look of the thing, and the game catalogue available. It’d be a good move for them to implement a system where you can get your old games on download when the PSP Go! is released, otherwise I think there’ll be a certain amount of consumer backlash.
As for me, though, I’m sticking with my DS Lite. I don’t feel the push, just yet, to switch to downloadable games – particularly as backing them up seems to be an issue. When the next generation of devices comes round, I’ll be ready.
A PSP2, featuring a sliding touchscreen and two analogue sticks, will apparently be in the shops in time for Christmas, according to a source quoted by Pocket Gamer. It’ll also be considerably more like the iPhone.
The forthcoming PSP2 will feature a large touchscreen, which slides back to reveal controls. There’ll also be an ‘app store’ equivalent in the Playstation Store, where users download games digitally, as the device lacks support for the dying UMD format.
Full specs and pricing will apparently be revealed at E3 in June, but going after the iPhone seems to be a strange move for Sony to be making, especially as Nintendo is hammering the company with its low spec, casually-focused DS.
Are Sony really trying to out-casual Nintendo? And what will that mean for gamers? I can answer that second question right now – it’ll mean a prevalence of cheap movie tie-ins, iFart applications, virtual pet games and other miscellaneous shovelware. Sony will rapidly lose its hardcore fanbase, instead capturing a smaller part of a slightly larger market. Meanwhile, the hardcore go unserved in the portable arena.
(via Pocket Gamer)
Didn’t Acclaim’s chief creative officer, David Perry, pay any attention to the World War II aphorism “Loose Lips Sink Ships”? He’s been mouthing off about the PSP. He reckons it’ll come out in the autumn:
“I spoke to a developer who is working on it right now, I know this developer is already working on it, so that means they have a prototype. That would sound like a fall release to me.”
Also of interest is that the device would be free of the PSP’s proprietary UMD disc format, and would instead rely on digital downloads and connectivity with your PC for games. There’ll be space for a memory card, though, so retailers could sell games pre-loaded onto those.
It’s expected that all current PSP titles would appear on an online store, much like Nintendo’s download channel. The idea makes a lot of sense, but consoles are primarily marketed by their games. What will happen if Sony lose all the shelf space currently dedicated to the PSP?
Sony has been roundly beaten in the handheld and the… er… non-handheld markets by Nintendo (seriously, we need a better name for full size consoles than that – suggestions in the comments). What’s the best way for them to fight back? That’s the question that Sony is asking its fans, with a survey floating several new feature ideas for the PSP2 and asking people to rank them.
Some of the new features include GPS, bluetooth, internal storage, touchscreen, a content download service and a social network including home support. Personally speaking, I’d rate GPS and social network features high, if only to compete with the growing influence of mobile phones on the gaming-on-the-go market. Adding in Skype features could just make the fightback possible.
Today we have yet more leaks from Sony’s gaming division to help inform your purchasing decisions – this time regarding the long awaited and much-needed proper sequel to the little portable PlayStation.
Sony’s tweaked its PSP numerous times before, adding the Slim & Lite model to the range last year, then tinkering with the screen a bit in this year’s 3000 model update.
Now, Eurogamer is telling the world that a further revised PSP – the model 4000 – will hit in late 2009, followed by a proper, all-new PSP2 at some random…