Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is there anything wrong with the PSP?

An interesting article on Gamasutra, asking this question of a few of the industry's top people (that last bit was sarcasm by the way, I've never heard of any of them or their companies, but I'm sure they are all very important people - they must be good since for the most part I agree with them).

I find it interesting anyway, since I've spent a fair bit of time with Sony's handheld, and done my own haphazard research into what people do and don't like about it. Most of the points raised in the article I agree with, but this is one I often see brought up.

the market is showing that you must develop a game specifically for the portable platform and not just repurpose console [i.e. PS1] games
It's just not really true. The biggest selling games on the PSP are, for want of a better phrase, 'repurposed' console games (crueler people would say ports, but those people are talking out of their arses). What Konami released a Metal Gear game that was pitched towards being a handheld title, the fans went mental, demanding a 'proper' Metal Gear game be released (which it was, in the end).

A lot of the detractors don't really seem to grasp that there are more uses for a handheld console than just when you're on the move. Most people only have one television in their living room, and quite a few spend a lot of time away from home for work. These people (or at least the ones that play games) would like to play exactly the same games as they do on their PS2 when they're at home (or when their partner isn't using the TV to watch Soapstars Dancing on Ice).

So what do I think about the PSP? I honestly think it's a great piece of kit. The UMD drive was a bit of a misstep, since it's the seek time that causes most of the bad loading times for which the PSP is infamous (though I'm not sure what else they could have done - even now it would be crazy to make a download-only handheld, let alone a couple of years ago, and cartridges would be very expensive if you're going to fit a whole UMD's worth of stuff on). I think it would be nice if the games were a bit cheaper (no matter how much work goes into a title, in people's minds it's still "only a handheld game", so by definition not worth as much as console software). And I wish Sony would get their arses into gear with the online store so that I can download PS1 games without a PS3.

1 comment:

TSDK said...

It's definitely one of the nicest Sony machines to work with and the SDK is actually pretty decent compared to the PS2 and PS3. It's a fairly capable little machine once you get out of the mindset of thinking "Portable PS2" and I've yet to see a title that's convinced me it's wringing every little bit out of the hardware.

In my opinion, the PSP needs three things to succeed: EDI titles, EDI titles, EDI titles.

I don't want to pay £35 to play an all-singing, all-dancing epic title that requires 20 hours of gameplay to unlock all of the good content. I want to pay £5-10 to download shoot-em-ups and beat-em-ups that deliver good, no-nonsense, old-fashioned gameplay in short bite-sized chunks. I want to turn the PSP on, thrash a few mates in a spitfire dogfight over wifi, and then go back to listening to MP3s on it.