Monday, October 25, 2010

Commentary: PSP2 - Does it REALLY Need To Do EVERYTHING?

Love Letter From A Low-Tech Hard-Head

As much as I love Sony and the PlayStation lineup), the news cycling 'round about the company's upcoming PSP2 (and possible, on and off PSPhone device) irks me to no end. Well, maybe not that much (this isn't an "angry" rant at all, folks), but still... Not that's I'm complaining (but I'm complaining anyway), but SOME of us just want a pure GAMES PLATFORM, not another touchscreen tablet, laz-e-reader, movie playin', memory eatin' overheatin' shiny new tech toy. If the PSPgo has taught us (and hopefully, Sony) anything it's that getting away from the core consumer or adding too much functionality to a gadget only turns away those who just want to PLAY GAMES (pirates be damned).

My name isn't Marcus and as funny as those Kevin Butler ads are, I'm more old school lame than he is. Thing is, so are a lot of PSP owners who still love our UMD collections. I'm NOT one of those folks who thinks of games as some sort of invisible media only to be seen when they need to be enjoyed. I happen to be quite proud of my PSP collection (most of which is in the photos in this note) and given that there's a good possibility that most of the older PSP titles I like won't make the transition to digital, a new PSP without a UMD slot isn't a product I'm all that interested in. As it is, I'll more than likely be looking for a replacement at some point for my PSP-3000 which may be another 3000 that can play the game I have and will continue to purchase on UMD.

From what I'm reading elsewhere, the homebrewers and hackers have their own particular dislike for the PSPgo and will probably feel the same way about the PSP2, but that's neither here nor there (given the popularity of the original model PSP among that crowd - hey, everyone needs a hobby, I guess). Sony needs to realize that outside that crowd, there are still quite a number of gamers like me who don't feel the urgent need to have a portable that DOES IT ALL. We just want a dedicated platform that allows developers to make the best games possible, period. Everything else NON-game related is just window dressing, not matter how much it makes one's digital life easier.

Granted, more than a few Sony die-hards will disagree with me, touting the need for Sony to "keep up" with Apple, Nintendo or other manufacturers of branded products with huge followings of folks who think they've got the bestest gadget on the planet. Thing is, why bother with trying to follow or lead this stupid "arms race" when there can never be a true winner? Even if there's a device with access to EVERY sort of social networking/media playing/next big fad, in the end, all we'll see is yet another console deemed "obsolete" as a media device in a few short years when it's the GAMES made for the device that should help it stand on its own.

Why not do something cool for us stubborn types? Recycle those unsold PSPgo's into a core PSP system that plays UMD games (and movies for those that have collections), add a USB port or two for future PSN purchases system updates (as an option, not a mandate) and menu-styled application upgrades (free or paid for according to which apps a user NEEDS for his or her purposes). Then release this core unit for under a hundred bucks and see what happens. That, or at least ASK the more stubborn users like me what they'd want to see in a PSP2 rather than relying on constantly looking over everyone's fence and cobbling together an all-in-one wonder toy that many will find either too expensive or lacking some feature or another.

Just a thought...

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