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5 PSP predictions for 2006

Crystal Ball

There's really no telling what 2006 has in store for the PSP (we're not even sure Sony knows what's going on). But here's our predictions for what's headed our way in what is shaping up to be the year of the PSP.

PSP Prediction #1: The UMD movie market will collapse. 2006 will see too much UMD content delivered too quickly. It will continue to be priced too high and include the bare minimum in terms of value add (we should have predicted this for 2005). The new format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray combined with the mainstream acceptance of "digital content on demand" via the likes of iTunes and Google will leave little room for the oh-so-cute UMD. Inventories will rise, prices will plummet and new content being delivered on the format will level off to something more sustainable by the market.

PSP Prediction #2: The PSP will take on some very specific colors. The black monolith will make some room at the table for brothers and sisters of different colors. Sony will begin to steal adopt some tried-and-true iPod marketing tactics and release the PSP with new color and accessory options before the year is out. Count on at least two new colors, including a hot-rod red and a camo green, possibly marketed with or around the likes of, oh, let's say Gran Turismo 4 and Metal Gear Solid.

PSP Prediction #3: The PSP will allow you to access your PS3 from anywhere.
Now, this prediction depends on the release date of the PS3. It's still Spring right? Right. Anyway, you'll be able to access PSP content content that is stored on your PS3's HDD (media, game saves, whatever) by accessing it via the PSP over a wifi Internet connection. Have a layover at the airport? Just whip out your PSP, access a hotspot and phone home to stream your favorite movie. You won't be streaming PS3 games or anything like that, but who needs memory sticks now?

PSP Prediction #4: The PSP will get a price drop and then some
. Yeah, this one is a bit of a no-brainer, but we wanted to get at least 1 out of 5 right. The PSP will certainly see a price drop this year (likely sometime in the Fall, but possibly at E3). We expect the drop to be in the $50 dollar range, but the important part of this prediction is that you may also see additional pack-ins or offers that sweeten the pot. Don't be surprised to see another movie included "free" like Spiderman was during the PSP's launch. In fact, depending on how bad the UMD crash of '06 gets, you may see multiple free movie offers as Sony tries to dump and write-off the inventory of its own studio's UMDs. This scenario would be very similar to the early days of DVD where Warner Brothers produced too much product and offered 5 free DVDs with the purchase of certain partner companies' DVD players.

PSP Prediction #5: Sony will completely botch PSP advertising in 06. Ok, so we're going for a guaranteed 2 out of 5 correct predictions now. After a couple of advertising fiascoes in 2005 (the "Italy incident" and the "Graffiti conundrum") Sony will take a much more cautious approach, and, again, look at how Apple select competitors have successfully advertised their products. Expect PSP ads to go upscale and play up the "lifestyle" aspects of the device ("now with new colors that match any personality!"). This will further distance the PSP from its actual core competency: gaming. It will take Nintendo's Gameboy SP successor to wake Sony up and get them back on track with the PSP as a gaming device.

There you have it, 5 predictions for the ages (or at least 2006). Agree, disagree? Have your own predictions? Join the fun and comment below.

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