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"2009, The Year of the PSP Come Back?"

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Thu 10/12/09 at 10:29
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Back in 2004 Sony made jaws drop when it unveiled the Playstation Portable. Sony had already brushed aside Sega and Nintendo in the home console market and it wasnít finished, the handheld market was the enxt target. The handheld market was Nintendoís turf, a turf it has owned from day 1 and they have seen contenders come and fall but this is different, this is Sony can they really do the same with the handheld market?

The PSP is 5 years old now and we all know the answer to the above question. The PSP had such potential, it was a stunning looking machine and there was barely enough space for the controls because of that HUGE screen. This console can do it all, play games, play films using the fancy new UMD (Universal Media Disc) media, play music, you can store your photos on it and the icing on the cake, a graphical capability just short of the PS2. How could it fail?

Perhaps fail is too strong a suggestion. Afterall, 5 years later and the PSP is still going, how many other handheld contenders can boast that? However, a games machine is only as good as the games it can play and in that respect the PSP has disappointed. Too many PS2 ports and a control system which isnít suited to such games have been common and well founded complaints. Many games were targeted at recreating the PS2 experience on the PSP and not enough games aimed at simply creating good games suitable for the format and control system. This is not to say the PSP doesnít have a lot of good games, just nowhere near as many as the DS.

To Sonyís credit they have never given up and 2009 has seen a change for the PSPís fortunes. In the past, Sony has been criticised for not knowing what they want for the PSP, jack of all trades, master of none is a stigma that fits the PSP but in 2009 Sony showed the PSPís primary focus is games. I will not pretend 2009 has been a perfect year but I think it has been the best year for the PSP since launch and shows promise for the future.

Letís start with the games. 2009 saw the release and announcement of some big names and some big review scores to go with the ones that were released. I obviously canít go through them all so Iíll handpick a selection of games.

2009 will be remembered as the year Gran Turismo finally made it onto the handheld. It has been in development for an eternity it seems and many a time doubt was cast over whether it would ever be released. The overall review scores may not be quite as high as the series is used to, there is no doubt this is a huge franchise to arrive on a handheld. This is not a port, this is a game designed purely for the PSP.

Another Playstation racing franchise which has arrived from home consoles this year is Motorstorm. If you have read my review on this website then you will realise this is a favourite of mine, captures the PS3 experience exceptionally well and proves the PSP can handle online gaming just as well as the home consoles. Again, this game is not a port.

PS3 favourite, Little Big Planet has arrived on the PSP too and complete with popular level designer. After a few seconds on the demo I quickly realised this is as strong a game as the PS3 version. You may be spotting a theme here but again, this is not a port, these are purely levels designed for the PSP.

Rock Band Unplugged is possibly the big surprise in the PSP releases. When you think Rock Band, you think guitars and drum kits, you donít think of handheld consoles and bus journeys. This version may not have instruments to play but it works surprisingly well and is every bit as addictive. Do I need to point out this is not a port and itís been designed specifically for the PSP?

For those that like a bit of fisticuffs then Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny went down a storm with reviews. Soul Calibur was a big title when it was released on the Dreamcast and judging by review opinions is a strong today on the PSP as it was back then. Of course, this is not a port, itís a.... oh you know the rest by now.

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars got massive critical acclaim when it was released on the DS earlier in the year and many a PSP owner, myself included, was jealous. Well not anymore, Chinatown Wars has made it onto the PSP and makes use of the extra oomph under the hood, as they say. Ok so this is a port but itís not a port of a PS2 game, itís been designed for handhelds.

First person shooters on the PSP have always suffered due to the lack of a 2nd analogue stick but Resistance Retribution makes some amends for this, itís still not perfect but it is the best anyone has done so far and the game was well received and commended on the control system.

And of course there is the usual strong entries from EA Sports, FIFA on the PSP is every bit as good as the main consoles games. The very recently released Tekken 6 is getting very good reviews too.

On the hardware side Sony released a new console in 2009, the PSP Go and for the first time in PSP history, Sony released a console with no media drive. The Go comes with 16 GB of internal memory which is also expandable via memory cards, The PSP has moved completely into the digital download era. The Go is designed purely for downloadable content and to support this Sony and 3rd party publishers have started to offer a lot of games, old and new, for download via the Playstation Store on the Playstation Network (PSN). MP3 players allow music lovers to carry their entire music collection in one small unit and now the PSP allows gamers to carry their games collection around with them with similar ease. The best part of this digital distribution is that it is available for all PSP models, not just the Go.

The expansion of the PSN opens up support for the PSP games via downloadable content. Many PS3 and xbox 360 games get additional content released for them and now the same is widely available for the PSP. Rock Band Unplugged has made good use of this with a variety of tracks being available to purchase

Sony has watched the iPod move into gaming territory and although the iPod Touch and iPhone cannot compete on technical comparisons, the App Store is offering many good, cheap games to consumers. The success of games on the App Store has prompted Sony to offer something similar to PSP owners in the form of Minis, basically mini games at App Store prices. The list of Minis is growing and like the App Store, the quality varies but it is a brilliant, if not original idea, to bring to the PSP and with classics like Tetris being available and the promise of Pac-Man Championship Edition due to arrive, the Minis can only go from strength to strength.

On the downside, there are still some big games that disappoint but no gaming system is free from that. And when the Go was announced Sony did suggest that they would provide a means for existing PSP owners to get their UMD games onto the Go as an incentive for PSP owners to upgrade but this doesnít seem to have materialised. The Digital Comic Reader which will allow PSP owners to view comics on their PSP has been released with no comics yet but this support will come in time. It would also be nicer to see more demos appear on PSN for the PSP, there are some but not as many as the PS3 gets.

The PSP doesnít own the console market yet and probably never will do but it has had its best year yet and it is now up to Sony and 3rd party developers to ensure the good work of 2009 doesnít go to waste. There is a huge potential with the Minis, some big names have arrived and been a credit to the PSP and with the likes of a new PSP Metal Gear Solid game to come the PSP can certainly start fulfilling the potential we all saw 5 years ago. People could very well look back on 2009 as the year the PSP turned the corner and started to really go somewhere.
--------

So what do you guys think? Still awake :) ?
Has the PSP had it's best year so far?
Are you now considering getting a PSP or is your PSP getting more use?
Fri 11/12/09 at 09:00
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
pb wrote:
> Easiest way is on the PSP itself through WiFi.

Easier (although the wired method isn't complex) but slower in my experience. I do prefer browsing the store on a PC rather than through the PSP but that's a personal preference.
Fri 11/12/09 at 08:36
Moderator
"possibly impossible"
Posts: 24,985
YH wrote:
> A good post - well written and an interesting read.
>
> I've not got a PSP, so can you answer this - if I got a PSP, how
> do I download games onto it? I've not got a PS3, so would I have
> to download to a PC first, and then transfer or what?

Easiest way is on the PSP itself through WiFi.
Thu 10/12/09 at 14:15
Regular
"THFC"
Posts: 4,488
Haha - yea i always sneak on here during work, but luckily i am my own boss so i never get told off!
Thu 10/12/09 at 13:52
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Thanks for the kind compliments guys.

@Emmie, if I didn't contribute I might actually have to do my work!

@YH all you need is a PC and a USB cable (and PSP obviously). You will need to download the Media Go application, create an account which gives you access to the Playstation Store. It is then a simple case of choosing which items you wish to download. When you want to download, just connect up the PSP, put it into USB mode and Media Go will download your item straight onto your PSP.
Thu 10/12/09 at 13:40
Regular
Posts: 14,117
A good post - well written and an interesting read.

I've not got a PSP, so can you answer this - if I got a PSP, how do I download games onto it? I've not got a PS3, so would I have to download to a PC first, and then transfer or what?
Thu 10/12/09 at 12:14
Regular
"THFC"
Posts: 4,488
Nice post Dav - good to see your keeping up contributing.

I had a PSP, i did not use it much but now with the addition to great psone games to the PS Store, i would consider picking up a 3000 model for like £130 - so i could put all my favourite old games like FF7 back on it.

There are a couple of good games and i enjoyed some of the ones i played. When i get another Ps3 i will have to think about getting one!
Thu 10/12/09 at 10:29
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Back in 2004 Sony made jaws drop when it unveiled the Playstation Portable. Sony had already brushed aside Sega and Nintendo in the home console market and it wasnít finished, the handheld market was the enxt target. The handheld market was Nintendoís turf, a turf it has owned from day 1 and they have seen contenders come and fall but this is different, this is Sony can they really do the same with the handheld market?

The PSP is 5 years old now and we all know the answer to the above question. The PSP had such potential, it was a stunning looking machine and there was barely enough space for the controls because of that HUGE screen. This console can do it all, play games, play films using the fancy new UMD (Universal Media Disc) media, play music, you can store your photos on it and the icing on the cake, a graphical capability just short of the PS2. How could it fail?

Perhaps fail is too strong a suggestion. Afterall, 5 years later and the PSP is still going, how many other handheld contenders can boast that? However, a games machine is only as good as the games it can play and in that respect the PSP has disappointed. Too many PS2 ports and a control system which isnít suited to such games have been common and well founded complaints. Many games were targeted at recreating the PS2 experience on the PSP and not enough games aimed at simply creating good games suitable for the format and control system. This is not to say the PSP doesnít have a lot of good games, just nowhere near as many as the DS.

To Sonyís credit they have never given up and 2009 has seen a change for the PSPís fortunes. In the past, Sony has been criticised for not knowing what they want for the PSP, jack of all trades, master of none is a stigma that fits the PSP but in 2009 Sony showed the PSPís primary focus is games. I will not pretend 2009 has been a perfect year but I think it has been the best year for the PSP since launch and shows promise for the future.

Letís start with the games. 2009 saw the release and announcement of some big names and some big review scores to go with the ones that were released. I obviously canít go through them all so Iíll handpick a selection of games.

2009 will be remembered as the year Gran Turismo finally made it onto the handheld. It has been in development for an eternity it seems and many a time doubt was cast over whether it would ever be released. The overall review scores may not be quite as high as the series is used to, there is no doubt this is a huge franchise to arrive on a handheld. This is not a port, this is a game designed purely for the PSP.

Another Playstation racing franchise which has arrived from home consoles this year is Motorstorm. If you have read my review on this website then you will realise this is a favourite of mine, captures the PS3 experience exceptionally well and proves the PSP can handle online gaming just as well as the home consoles. Again, this game is not a port.

PS3 favourite, Little Big Planet has arrived on the PSP too and complete with popular level designer. After a few seconds on the demo I quickly realised this is as strong a game as the PS3 version. You may be spotting a theme here but again, this is not a port, these are purely levels designed for the PSP.

Rock Band Unplugged is possibly the big surprise in the PSP releases. When you think Rock Band, you think guitars and drum kits, you donít think of handheld consoles and bus journeys. This version may not have instruments to play but it works surprisingly well and is every bit as addictive. Do I need to point out this is not a port and itís been designed specifically for the PSP?

For those that like a bit of fisticuffs then Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny went down a storm with reviews. Soul Calibur was a big title when it was released on the Dreamcast and judging by review opinions is a strong today on the PSP as it was back then. Of course, this is not a port, itís a.... oh you know the rest by now.

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars got massive critical acclaim when it was released on the DS earlier in the year and many a PSP owner, myself included, was jealous. Well not anymore, Chinatown Wars has made it onto the PSP and makes use of the extra oomph under the hood, as they say. Ok so this is a port but itís not a port of a PS2 game, itís been designed for handhelds.

First person shooters on the PSP have always suffered due to the lack of a 2nd analogue stick but Resistance Retribution makes some amends for this, itís still not perfect but it is the best anyone has done so far and the game was well received and commended on the control system.

And of course there is the usual strong entries from EA Sports, FIFA on the PSP is every bit as good as the main consoles games. The very recently released Tekken 6 is getting very good reviews too.

On the hardware side Sony released a new console in 2009, the PSP Go and for the first time in PSP history, Sony released a console with no media drive. The Go comes with 16 GB of internal memory which is also expandable via memory cards, The PSP has moved completely into the digital download era. The Go is designed purely for downloadable content and to support this Sony and 3rd party publishers have started to offer a lot of games, old and new, for download via the Playstation Store on the Playstation Network (PSN). MP3 players allow music lovers to carry their entire music collection in one small unit and now the PSP allows gamers to carry their games collection around with them with similar ease. The best part of this digital distribution is that it is available for all PSP models, not just the Go.

The expansion of the PSN opens up support for the PSP games via downloadable content. Many PS3 and xbox 360 games get additional content released for them and now the same is widely available for the PSP. Rock Band Unplugged has made good use of this with a variety of tracks being available to purchase

Sony has watched the iPod move into gaming territory and although the iPod Touch and iPhone cannot compete on technical comparisons, the App Store is offering many good, cheap games to consumers. The success of games on the App Store has prompted Sony to offer something similar to PSP owners in the form of Minis, basically mini games at App Store prices. The list of Minis is growing and like the App Store, the quality varies but it is a brilliant, if not original idea, to bring to the PSP and with classics like Tetris being available and the promise of Pac-Man Championship Edition due to arrive, the Minis can only go from strength to strength.

On the downside, there are still some big games that disappoint but no gaming system is free from that. And when the Go was announced Sony did suggest that they would provide a means for existing PSP owners to get their UMD games onto the Go as an incentive for PSP owners to upgrade but this doesnít seem to have materialised. The Digital Comic Reader which will allow PSP owners to view comics on their PSP has been released with no comics yet but this support will come in time. It would also be nicer to see more demos appear on PSN for the PSP, there are some but not as many as the PS3 gets.

The PSP doesnít own the console market yet and probably never will do but it has had its best year yet and it is now up to Sony and 3rd party developers to ensure the good work of 2009 doesnít go to waste. There is a huge potential with the Minis, some big names have arrived and been a credit to the PSP and with the likes of a new PSP Metal Gear Solid game to come the PSP can certainly start fulfilling the potential we all saw 5 years ago. People could very well look back on 2009 as the year the PSP turned the corner and started to really go somewhere.
--------

So what do you guys think? Still awake :) ?
Has the PSP had it's best year so far?
Are you now considering getting a PSP or is your PSP getting more use?

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