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Old 03-20-2005, 04:31 AM   #1
Drunken Savior
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Post Sony's PSP Wows, but Only if You Stick to the Games

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Originally Posted by http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/washpost/20050319/tc_washpost/a48974_2005mar19

Sony's PSP Wows, but Only if You Stick to the Games

Sat Mar 19, 4:21 PM ET -*Technology - washingtonpost.com

By Rob Pegoraro

Sony has often won big by thinking small. Portable gizmos such as the Walkman, the Discman and the Handicam helped make this company the consumer electronics power it is today. But until now, it hasn't tried to run that play with its most successful product of the past decade, the PlayStation line of video-game machines.


That changes Thursday, when Sony introduces the PlayStation Portable -- PSP for short. This $250 device is Sony's answer to Nintendo (news - web sites)'s Game Boy and DS handhelds. It also represents yet another try by Sony to get into the portable-media market Apple's iPod owns.

The PSP does only one of those jobs well, and you can probably guess which one. As a portable game machine, it's a peerless piece of work, combining sharp graphics, deep game play and easy online connectivity. As a multimedia gadget, however, it's a dud.

The PSP's sleek appearance backs up its gaming orientation. This booklet-sized device -- 6 5/8 inches by 2 7/8 inches by 15/16 inches, weighing 11 ounces with headphones and remote control -- carries a similar layout of buttons to that of a PlayStation 2 (news - web sites) controller, plus a sharp, wide-format color display. At about 4 1/4 inches wide, with a 480-by-272 resolution, it's larger than other game players' displays and almost as sharp as those on handheld organizers.

The sum of these parts looks just different enough from other portable widgets -- and cool enough in its own right -- to draw reactions from passerby that range from intrigued to awestruck.

The PSP's breakthrough feature, however, can't be seen from outside. Its WiFi receiver allows PSPs to link up for peer-to-peer wireless gaming or, if within range of a separate WiFi access point, competition across the Internet. That second option is absent from the PSP's chief competitor, Nintendo's $150 DS. (Web access would have been a pleasant bonus but there is no browser available on the PSP.)

Setting up a PSP for Internet game play is harder than necessary, thanks to Sony's awkward interface for entering the lengthy alphanumeric encryption key most WiFi access points require.

Otherwise, though, multiplayer mayhem on the PSP is laughably simple. Select "multiplayer" from a game's menu, choose between local or Internet-wide contests (in a fit of jargon, the PSP calls them "ad hoc" and "infrastructure"), then wait for opponents to show up.

In The Post's newsroom, two PSPs joined the same game in seconds and maintained the connection up to about 110 feet away. Two Internet-hosted games were almost as quick to set up and showed no signs of lag, the slow response time that can gum up online games.

You can also play PSP titles solo, of course, but it's just more fun to compete against other people. You don't get the same sublime sense of satisfaction when the car you incinerate with a hail of missiles is driven by the computer instead of your co-worker.

Gaming novices may find the PSP's multiple controls a lot to handle. It offers two four-way arrays of buttons to operate with your left and right thumbs, left and right switches to work with your index fingers and an "analog stick" that also falls under your left thumb -- and which can cramp up your hand.

Instead of CDs or DVDs, the PSP uses a new, smaller format that Sony has optimistically christened the Universal Media Disc (UMD). These 2 1/2-inch-wide discs store 1.8 gigabytes of data, far more than the flash-memory cards used in other handhelds. (One unpleasant side effect: lengthy waits for games to load, up to a minute in my tests.)

That kind of storage allows PSP titles to offer much of the depth and detail of games made for the PS2, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox (news - web sites). PSP sports simulations, for instance, let you build teams by drafting and trading players, instead of just playing games with a fixed roster.

Sony says 24 games will be available initially, at $40 or $50 each. (See the related story below for an evaluation of this batch of titles.)

A rechargeable, replaceable battery powers the PSP; it ran for about 4 1/2 hours with WiFi on.

If Sony had quit there, it would have had an unambiguous winner. But it fell flat in trying to turn the PSP into a media machine that plays and displays movies, music and photos.

In this role, the PSP is the prisoner of its own formats. Movies must be bought or rented on UMDs, which can neither be played or viewed on any other devices. Only 22 titles have been announced so far; even discounted off their $20 list prices, these constitute a lousy deal.

Because those same UMDs aren't rewriteable, your own music and photos can be stored only on a Memory Stick Duo card inserted in a slot on the PSP's side. This cut-down version of Sony's proprietary, expensive Memory Stick format can't be used in a regular Memory Stick slot without an adapter, but Sony doesn't include one. Nor does it include the USB cable you'll otherwise need to connect a PSP to a PC. (At least the PSP's standard-size USB jack accepted the cable from my handheld organizer.)

Once you've obtained an adapter or USB cable, copying music and photos requires creating a particular hierarchy of folders on a Memory Stick Duo, without which the PSP can't find your files. If you, unlike most, have downloaded songs from the Sony Connect online store, you'll need to use Sony's SonicStage program to transfer those files.

If you get a PSP, do yourself a favor and stick to the games. If you also want to listen to music and view your pictures, just get an iPod Photo or another music-plus-photos player. What if you don't want to carry around two expensive gadgets all the time? Then you've got a problem -- and so does Sony, until it revisits the PSP's multimedia software.

Living with technology, or trying to? E-mail Rob Pegoraro at rob@twp.com.
Thoughts??
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunken Savior
Thoughts??
people will eventually be highly dissapointed with theyre PSP, like buying something thats expensive being happy, then realising it isn't what it cracked up to be.

if you want games, youll love PSP, but sony's false promises will send you into denial and give you a deep down resentment.

by it for the games, and wit for the price drop.
20 movies is very poor at the moment, and as i've said many tims, UMD is chained to the psp with no other UMD playable devices.

If you look at this compared to DS once the hype has subsided, the lower graphics will give the DS the pop culture GBA enjoyed.
If they keep advertising theyre best games like they are now, then i'm sure that will happen, Plus DS is incredibly cost effective.


as i said they shoulda dropped all the extra feature's and kept PSP as a gaming only device and it would have been far more popular, and people would have looked more at the games potentential rather than justifying PSP greatness on- UMD- MOVIES- MUSIC- PHOTOS- ONLINE- as they all suck

thats is if this report is real and I bet it is.
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:16 AM   #3
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I think I agree with FinalSolace2.
TBH the PSP was a bad idea from the start, today Nintendo dominates the world of handheld gaming & shouldn't have rivals!
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:32 AM   #4
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Just like what I said
PSP should have been a game handheld only
and what Sony is doing is a rip off and I will only buy PSP if they remove that Spiderman 2 Movie and the other junks.
but now I will only buy the games and I am in no rush of playing them so waiting is the best and right thing to do.
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:55 AM   #5
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Ditto. I too have stated that Sony should have at least made 2 different units - the basic game-playing handheld vs the all-in-one media bundle. If they're smart, they'll make a game-playing version only handheld soon enough to offer consumers who solely favor that.
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Old 03-20-2005, 06:40 AM   #6
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I put yes.... because first and foremost I want it for gaming......and will treat it as such. The psp doesn?t come with a gun to your head to buy or use any of the other features. Those who stick to games will be satisfied also.
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freeman
TBH the PSP was a bad idea from the start, today Nintendo dominates the world of handheld gaming & shouldn't have rivals!
Does that mean Sony shouldn't have rivals in console gaming
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Those who stick to games will be satisfied also.
Unless you look at the price tag, which could be a bit lower without the non-gaming crap.
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:35 AM   #9
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$50 for a portable Ridge Racer or Twisted Metal? I'll pass, thanks. Just like with the DS launch, the PSP is looking to be rather lackluster. As far as the article is concerned, nothing he stated was unknown to me. I'm suprised that he didn't bring up how easily the screen scratches. He makes good sense when he says that the whole movie/music/photo thing is not impressive and that Sony should've focused solely on gaming, but Sony cannot resist hyping their products.
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:08 AM   #10
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I would have to agree with the article on the basis if I believe that its 100% acurate...

Nice find Drunken! :cool guy:
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Old 03-20-2005, 11:38 AM   #11
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I tihnk the PSP is a good idea, but $50 for hand-held games and more for movies than what it costs to buy DVD's will keep their sales low. Sony really needs to quit it with always charging the highest possible price for something.
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Old 03-20-2005, 12:14 PM   #12
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The article pointed out all my grivences I have with the PSP.


The PSP is lousy as a portable movie/music player, and it's too expensive as a tradition handheld machine. Given that i already have an Ipod, I have no need for the PSP (trying to watch movies on the PSP is way to much of a hassle, Sony needs to find a better way to get movies and music onto those memory sticks), and I have no interest in the launch line-up, I'll save my $250 dollars.


If the PSP proves to be successful and is still ticking in 2006, I'll probably get one. Right now, I don't feel like investing over $300 on something that's not a sure thing.


PS - the article some misinformation, the most glaring one is when it said the DS did not have Wi-Fi. If the author was award of this, I think he would have been a lot more harse on the PSP.
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Old 03-20-2005, 12:48 PM   #13
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I agree. The PSP is a system that looks incredibly sexy to those who aren't gamers. Though when time is spent with the system and price/software is analyzed, it's not nearly as good as it should be, especially when you pay so much for it. All of this on top of the fact that in 2 months, the DS will have all the online features of hte PSP.

But I digress. When the price drops and there's 100 titles for it that don't cost as much as their PS2 counterparts, it may become to better system. But I'm not about to rule out what nintendo has up their sleaves.
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Old 03-20-2005, 01:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Bombay
I agree. The PSP is a system that looks incredibly sexy to those who aren't gamers. Though when time is spent with the system and price/software is analyzed, it's not nearly as good as it should be, especially when you pay so much for it. All of this on top of the fact that in 2 months, the DS will have all the online features of hte PSP.

But I digress. When the price drops and there's 100 titles for it that don't cost as much as their PS2 counterparts, it may become to better system. But I'm not about to rule out what nintendo has up their sleaves.

Right now there are exactly zero games that interest me for it. All I see are a bunch of EA crap-games. Makes me wonder why it's not launching with more of the releases that the Japanese one launched with.
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Old 03-20-2005, 02:46 PM   #15
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There are definately games coming out on the system that I'm interested in...I'd just rather play them on the PS2/3
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