The PSP go continues to frustrate me. This whole HMV price cut thing today can probably only hurt Sony in the long run as many people will just refuse to buy one now until it is officially £150 which may be quite a while.
The quick couple of hour sale HMV pulled today that took the black PSP go from £200 down to £150 showed me a few things. The first of which is that at £150, the PSP go has the potential to be an enticing prospect, but not to everyone.
When I saw the sale I instantly thought of my brother rather than myself. The reason for this was that he has only a few UMD games that he plays at the moment. Those are Resistance: Retribution and a couple of others. He recently made the decision to go totally digital and only buy from PSN, and put up with the price increase over traditional media.
Myself, on the other hand, since the PSP go was launched, have stuck even more rigidly to UMD based games, despite the fact in general I am a huge fan of digital downloads of games. I buy almost all my PC games on steam unless they’ aren’t available there and I buy a lot of PSN and iPod touch games.
In other words, Sony screwed up the great concept of PSP go so much that it turned me, a huge digital download supporter off it almost entirely. Yeah, that’s a massive screw up by them.
But as far as this sale goes, it made me realise that £150 may just be the magic price point that Sony need to get to in order to sell a lot of these devices, rather than marketing it as a premium device when it clearly lacks the premium qualities of the iPod touch, while certainly not skimping on the price tag.
£150 may be the magic price point, but I think it will be for only a select group of people unless they can work out a way to let people copy their UMDs over to the go. For someone like me, it’s hard to really imagine myself splashing out on a go at any price because I want all my games on the system’s memory, and until that’s a possibility the device in general is useless to me.
What I really wish Sony had done is simply kept with the 3000 until the PSP 2, and roll out the digital content alongside UMD (which they are doing now) for the current system rather than introducing a whole new one which would sour the whole PSP brand, in a similar way to how the PS3 originally made people dislike Playstation.
I recently gave my first impressions of LBP PSP a week or so ago. I haven’t updated recently because I was waiting for the issue where my PSP would crash when attempting to go online in the game was fixed. Luckily, in the end they released a patch which you download by using triangle on the UMD icon and clicking update.
Now that I can go online, I can tell you that this is one of the best PSP games yet made and you should definitely own it. As a big fan of the PS3 game that Media Molecule made last year which was amazing, this one surprisingly doesn’t feel diluted to a point where it spoils the experience. With a game like this, you have to accept that to fit the game on a PSP you have to cut some corners, it’s inevitable. With that said, there are some corners cut. Most notably multiplayer of any kind. This is disappointing because I’m sure my brother would have bought the game if it did have ad-hoc play.
If you asked the question, which would you rather have? Online community level sharing or ad-hoc multiplayer, I think about 90% of people would take the former, because not only does it extend the life of the game endlessly but because most people play their PSPs alone anyway, it would seem like a far better idea to have a constant stream of user created levels.
The graphics and game play both feel like the PS3 game which I’m sure was no easy feat for Studio Cambridge to achieve. I think this game is surely going to put them on the map as a high level PSP developer and it is very well deserved. I’m interested to see what they do in the future.
While we wait though, go and grab yourself a copy of this game. Oh and before I forget, I paid £20 at GAME for the UMD, well technically I got it free with my saved up reward points. The PSN downloadable version is £21.99 I think, so £2 extra which is weak really, but it may be worth it for you, especially if you have a PSP go and have no other option. I think it’s worth taking. What you might want to do though is buy a PSN card from GAME first. That way you get reward points on the card before you redeem it and buy the game.
I’ve been thinking a lot about PSP lately. I’ve been wondering about how the system is settling into the market, and how it fits into the playstation family at this point.
To be honest, my thoughts on the PSP at the moment are still about 30% positive and 70% negative, and that’s being generous.
Here are the good points currently:
- Looks nice
- Digital only is cool / the future of handheld gaming
The bad points:
- Price of system is still too high
- No UMD solution
- Selection of games on PSN is limited
- PSN releases are sometimes later after UMD release
- PSN downloads are more expensive than UMD
- No reward points from PSN purchases
- The device itself is low-tech for today’s market considering the price (lack of touch screen, not as much memory as other devices available.
- MiniS have been poor to average quality and expensive so far and that doesn’t look to be changing.
- Lack of competition price wise means Sony can charge whatever they want on PSN.
So, essentially this list isn’t too dissimilar to the one I did after the launch of the system back in October. Possibly even worse because of how MiniS have been disappointing, in a similar way to how Nintendo’s download services always succeed in disappointing hardcore fans.
Every time I look at the PSN store update, in the PSP section it seems like a few UMD legacy games are being released each week which practically no-one cares about. Sony need to make sure that all the best PSP games are on the store as quickly as possible and it seems like they don’t care to do this most obvious of things. It’s weird how they seem to lack any sense of urgency. I just want them to focus on blowing our socks off each week with tons of new content. That isn’t happening. How hard can it possibly be for a company as large as Sony to produce content to excite people?
So with that said, what can Sony do to reinvigorate the PSP go and make people excited for that device? Well, here’s some obvious tips I hope they realise.
- UMD solution: This is even more important than the price cut. The PSP 3000 was a rip off for the paltry amount of stuff it added. If you tell people that they can make digital copies of all their games and have them with them everywhere on a smaller, sleeker device, they will sell a ton of them. This is the biggest roadblock Sony have at the moment.
- Lower the price. £175, £179, £150 even? They don’t cost a lot to make, I’m sure they could do this. I suppose maybe they’re worried they won’t make any loss back on game sales because people aren’t aware of what’s out there.
- Release games day and date with the retail versions.
- Make downloads cheaper. They may be limited by retailers wanting to protect their business, but there are other options, for example the following suggestion.
- A loyalty scheme where you get money off or bonus content for buying digital games from the store.
- Get every major PSP back-catalogue game on the store quickly.
- Make better miniS
If they did some of those things the PSP go could be a very attractive product. If they did all of them, it would be a massive success. Too bad they might have tarnished the brand by releasing it in the state that it’s in now, unfinished and rough around the edges in many ways.