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Miscellaneous

PSP Good and Bad

This week, one good thing and one bad thing happens in the world of PSP. The good thing is that GT PSP comes out. The bad thing is that the PSPgo comes out.

Yes, I know that GT PSP didn’t get the most favourable reviews, but I think they were overly harsh on the game. Also, despite there not being a career mode to speak of, I am a huge gran turismo fan and just doing quick races on all the tracks and collecting all the cars will keep me entertained for a long time.

The PSPgo on the other hand, while it does have a lot of cool aspects to it, it also has too many drawbacks to justify me and probably a lot of other people buying one.

Instead of me going on and writing tons I just want to bullet point the pros and cons here.

Pros:

  1. Digital only is cool
  2. Looks good
  3. lots of good games coming out soon (but these are also all playable on old models)
Cons:
  1. Price is way too excessive for essentially a 4 year old system
  2. UMDs are useless now effectively
  3. Doesn’t do anything the original 3 PSP versions can’t do, except be more portable
  4. Despite what sony will tell you, it’s not a very good media player
  5. Games will cost at least the same and probably more to download than to buy on UMD
  6. no game.co.uk reward points on purchases
  7. can’t trade games in (not that I really do much, but a lot of people will be upset about this)
  8. Mini’s on PSP will probably be overpriced compared to the same things on iPhone / iPod Touch
  9. from what I’ve heard, controls can be awkward to use, even compared to the first PSP.

I think if you look at that list, you’ll begin to get the picture of why I personally think the PSPgo is a terrible move for Sony in many ways. Yes, there are positives. Normally I fully embrace digital downloads, but not for more money than disc games.

I don’t consider myself to be biased against it either. I really wanted one until they announced the price, and when they said they don’t have a UMD conversion solution, that really just sealed the deal.

The original PSP came out in Europe for £179 or around that back in 2005. At that time, the technology was new and very impressive. For them now, after 4 years to say that £225 is justified for a system that doesn’t add much new from the old versions in terms of features is crazy to me. Sure, the new design is sleeker and that cost money to make, but the actual innards of the system are essentially unchanged except the addition of bluetooth (big whoop, my cheap nokia phone I just bought even has it). So to say that it now costs them more to make is ridiculous.

To put it into perspective. The iPod touch 32gb version costs £229 (£5 more than the go). It offers double the memory, a far superior music and video experience, an infinitely more usable web browser and so much more due to the all the stuff available on the App Store. As far as games go, yes, the iPod touch will lack a lot of the established brands from other systems, and controls will often be compromised to work with the touch screen capabilities, but on the whole, the iPod Touch still offers a wide selection of great games for genres which excel with touch controls, like tower defence for example.

Until Apple come up with some way to get physical buttons onto the iPod Touch by way of some optional addon to the device, it will never rival the dedicated handheld systems as a true gaming device. You just can’t play every type of game with a touch screen and accelerometer. Also, regarding the motion, the only driving game I’ve played that I liked with motion was Excite Truck. Nothing else compares.

However, despite the lack of buttons for more traditional games, the iPod touch is still the more useful device and offers much more in terms of value and new technology (such as multi-touch) than Sony are managing. Nintendo of course are in the same boat as Sony, but in terms of graphics they are even further behind. They get around that with innovative controls but I get the feeling that if it wasn’t for Nintendo’s mascots they would be under threat much more by Apple.

So to conclude this post, and going back to the PSP, I’ll do a quick rundown of what I would recommend to people in different positions.

If you are a current PSP owner and prize your UMD games, then I recommend sticking with your current system and possibly grabbing a bigger memory stick so you can download or install games (like GT PSP) if you choose to.

If you are new to the PSP, it’s more interesting.

If you are a big fan of the exclusives on PSP like GT and LBP then I would recommend the go. However, you may want to wait for a price drop. It also depends on your stance on digital downloads. If you resent paying equal or more money, and not being able to trade in games, then you might want to look at the 3000.

If your not really a hardcore gamer and your not that interested in PSP exclusives then I would suggest the iPod Touch. It will serve you well in everything you want from a device of that type for a good price.