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Posts with tag gamasutra

PSP hardware to undergo refreshing change?

When speaking of PSP, many gamers come up with one of two qualms. Firstly, the absence of a PSP store, similar to the PLAYSTATION Store found on PS3 consoles. As we reported earlier, this problem is finally being addressed. The second complaint -- a much more common one -- is the hardware design: many people are clamoring for a revised PSP design.

Well, looks like that's going to be happening too. While unlikely to be a true successor to the PSP hardware, Sony seems intent on making a slightly altered system. In a statement that Gamasutra picked up, it appears that Sony is working on a "hardware refresh." Certainly, an interesting choice of words. What could a "hardware refresh" mean? It could be something as simple as a new system color ... or it could be something far more drastic, akin to the change from the original DS Phat to the sexier DS Lite.

Let the speculation and conspiracy theories begin.

Station Launcher to bring downloadable movies to PSP


Sony Online Entertainment is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the PLAYSTATION Network and Store. At yesterday's Gamer's Day event, they revealed Station Launcher, a new service that will bring downloadable content to the masses. The plans are quite ambitious, as detailed by Gamasutra's interview with SOE creative director Nathan Pearce. According to the interview, plans for a PSP version of Station Launcher is already in the works. Through it, players will be able do download movies directly to their handhelds.

"We have a version of Launcher where it recognizes when you plug in your PSP into the PC. You can download a movie straight from the internet through the Launcher straight to your PSP without it ever having touched your PC. There is no version on the PC, if you don't want it to be. It can download straight to your destination device like your PSP."

Movies will be formatted for PSP, and will not incur an additional cost. The possibilities of Station Launcher are nearly endless: imagine if PS1 games were made available for download, sans PS3. Unfortunately, because of the huge scope of the project, it will be a very long time until we see it: "It is going to be a pretty big endeavor, so I don't have a release date for it, but it is going to be a good time after summer."

[Thanks, Colin!]

Gamasutra asks: "Is there anything wrong with the PSP?"

We'd like to think that there's nothing wrong with our beloved handheld. However, the truth is that many people, misinformed or not, do not believe in Sony's platform. Gamasutra asked a number of industry professionals about what they think is wrong about PSP, if there is anything at all.
  • David Cole from DFC Intelligence points out that the price drop is a good step, but that's not enough. "I think a new form factor is needed more than a price cut."
  • Ed Barton from Screen Digest is frustrated at the constant comparisons to Nintendo DS: "We forecast that the global installed base of PSP users will be around 29 million at the end of 2007, generating $1.9 billion in software sales. Lifetime software sales at the end of 2007 will be around $4.5 billion. If this is 'failing,' then failure just got a huge brand makeover."
  • Mike Wolf from ABI Research thinks that anti-Sony fanboyism runs wild due to high expectations placed on Sony ... due to their ambitious claims. "I believe the device's perceived 'failure' by some is due to the device struggling to live up to Sony's own marketing of the product, much like what the PS3 is going through today."
I completely agree with many of the things these professionals have to say about PSP. It's true that PSP is certainly not a failure, but it could've been far more successful as well. Sony has made a ton of mistakes this life cycle, but as they've been recently showing, things can easily change with a refocused effort.

D2C unofficially announces D2 Comics for PSP

Speaking to Gamasutra, Scott Orr from the new video game publisher, D2C Games, has mentioned an ambitious new project for the PSP: "For us, the PSP offers a platform that users look at as more than just a game machine. At GDC we will officially announce D² Comics, which will offer interactive comics for PSP users. These comics give writers and artists the opportunity to play at being movie directors, panning a scene to create a sense of motion, and letting the user dictate the pacing or let it run on its own."

This isn't the first time the PSP has been home to digital comics: Konami successfully transformed the Metal Gear Solid franchise into a digital graphic novel. This kind of innovation is what D2C plans to bring to PSP owners everywhere: "We plan to initially support the PSP. So far the PSP has had nice ports of PS2 games, but our sense is that publishers are shifting gears and putting limited resources toward next-gen development at the expense of the PSP. We will fill that gap. There is a real opportunity here to bring gamers content to that platform which is different."

More PS1 games announced for PSP

Gamasutra is reporting that Sony reps have confirmed the next PS1 titles that will be hitting the PlayStation Store. If racing fans didn't like the last offering, then this one should really excite them since the update will include both Wipeout and Jet Moto. Sony didn't give a firm release for the titles, but I'm betting by the end of next week or the start of the following week these games will be playable on your PSP.

For those who are unsure of how to get these PS1 games on your PSP, right now the only method is to own a PS3 and buy them off the PlayStation Store. Sony has said eventually there will be another solution in place for PSP owners, but when people like myself are insane enough to buy a PS3 just for this functionality, they may take their time unlocking the feature.

[Update 1: Changed the incorrect PSP to PS3]

NPD's October hardware sales numbers released

NPD's October hardware sales numbers releasedWe're all fully aware of the PSP's situation in Japan, but I think many people don't know how well the PSP sells in North America. Well, NPD has just released the October hardware numbers, and I have some good news and some bad news for you PSP Fanboys.

Bad news - in October, there were 130,000 PSPs sold compared to the DS' 360,000 units.

Good news - the deficit between the DS and PSP is a lot smaller than it is in Japan.

While it still seems like a large gap, the DS, at times, outsold the PSP by that margin in a week's time in Japan. Plus, the PSP is now selling better in America than it is in Japan by an average of 50,000 units.

However, with Peter Dille's recent comments, do these numbers really matter anymore since Sony is targeting a different audience? Or do you think Sony's just telling us and themselves that to make them feel better?

Sony exec admits PSP more about media than games

Dave Karraker, new PR head for Sony, was recently confronted by Gamasutra in a pretty intense interview. While it focuses mostly on the upcoming PLAYSTATION 3, Karraker had a few interesting things to say about the PSP:
The PSP is doing incredibly well, and I think that you'll see even more interest behind it now that the PS3 is coming out, because the inner-connectivity between the two, I mean you saw the demo in terms of accessing your PS3 harddrive through your PSP. That's just the tip of the iceberg of what can be done with that... I'm not just talking about games, I'm talking about entertainment content as well. Already the TiVo-to-go option for the PSP is turning into a huge hit for us, as people discover that they can take the shows they've already stored on their TiVo and put it on their PSP and while they're riding the bus to work or to school, they can watch television shows on the PSP, I mean that's huge. You can't do that on anything else. So again, I think when you compare the two products, the Nintendo product versus our product, it's kind of apples and oranges. We're providing more of an entertainment system, and they're focused more on gaming.
While the Nintendo fanboys may criticize Sony's approach to creating a media convergence machine, I highly applaud it. I do a lot more things than simply game on my handheld, as I have no desire to carry around a huge laptop to watch movies, listen to music, and use the internet.

Continue reading Sony exec admits PSP more about media than games

Former EGM editor speaks on state of PSP in Japan

Former EGM editor speaks on state of PSP in JapanIt's been no secret that the PSP has struggled to keep up with the DS Lite in Japan, although one Sony exec says otherwise. Former EGM editor turned part owner of the Japan-based localization firm 8-4, John Ricciardi, was recently interviewed by Gamasutra on the state of gaming in Japan, and he shed some light on why the PSP is losing the portable gaming war.

"I think there's some kind of disconnect between the people who create the hardware and the people who sell it." He said the PSP started off strong, but have been hindered by some fundamental hardware issues. "I felt like I was holding the future," but the game-based ramifications of the hardware are not well thought through. Another problem with the PSP is it "costs almost as much to make a [PSP] game as to make a PS2 game," he said.

Well, Ricciardi didn't really say anything we didn't already know about the PSP, but it's interesting to hear industry insiders express the same complaints most of us gamers have. However, Sony made a pretty damn good showing at the Tokyo Game Show, so let's hope things are on the up and up.

[Via Gamasutra]

Mr. O'Rourke explains himself

The name might not be too familiar, but Mr. O'Rourke is the man responsible for the PSP-bashing report he created for the analyst group In-Stat. In an interview with Gamasutra, O'Rourke explains his reasoning behind Nintendo's continued success in the handheld market. Here are a few excerpts:
  • "The DS's shipment advantage has been overstated somewhat."
  • "The key to a successful handheld is not necessarily graphics. Several of Nintendo's challengers over the years (e.g., Atari, NEC) have had superior graphics performance. But they did not succeed. More important is strong software support, and recognizable characters, that appeal to what has been primarily a pre-teen, early teen demographic. This is what Nintendo has understood well, and has executed on."
  • "Sony does not have the same number of breakout titles for the PSP as Nintendo has created for the DS. In addition, the PSP costs substantially more than the DS ($199 vs. $129 in the US)."
  • "No, publishers will not move away from the PSP. Sony is selling too many of them. Publishers are not in the business of throwing away revenue opportunities."
I think the man's on-the-money with his analysis. While it's clear that the DS is "winning," that's not going to stop publishers and developers from delivering games to us. And in the end, that's what we fanboys want (more than a victory in the handheld "war").

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