Five Utopian Features of the PSP2

May 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

The run up to this year’s E3 seems to be proving once more that (in their own words) Sony is still an industry leader in leaks. It seems like every week that goes by sees more details emerge about a possible PSP2, such as rumours of an announcement at Sony’s Press Conference as well as speculation that the console will finish what the PSP Go started with download-only releases.

The jury’s still out on whether Sony has learnt what it needs to do to make the PSP2 a success, and the boring answer is most likely the accurate one. The PSP2 needs to be cheap it needs to have good games both at release and on the horizon to convince consumers its a worthwhile investment.

Let’s get a little more idealistic for a second here though, and think to ourselves what the PSP2 could do to not just get sales, but to set the world on fire. What could a small handheld console provide to get itself a space in the pocket of every commuter the world over? With that in mind I present to you my five utopian features of the PSP2.

Don’t just step on Apple’s toes, trample them

I should make one thing clear right off the bat. If I get called on my PSP and am forced to look like I’m gaming whilst actually answering a phonecall you can count me out. I want a device that can play all the great games my PSP can, but can still do all my smartphone stuff without getting bogged down. Make it a PSP Go with a touchscreen if you have to, but don’t force me to navigate a phonebook with an analogue stick.

I want it all, I want a phonebook, mobile internet, calander, Facebook apps, camera, music player and I want a movie player. Don’t just make me consider leaving my phone at home, make me feel like an idiot for carrying around a second device that does everything my PSP does minus the games. If you can make sure people have their PSPs on them at all times, then that’s half the battle won.

Download-only

Sony, if your listening, I didn’t by a PSP Go. I’m not sorry for that I’ll admit, but don’t take that a sign I disagree with its digital-only releases. I love the idea of not having to wait a couple of days for my games to arrive through the mail, but I didn’t like the prospect of having to give up my UMD collection for the privilege.

Retailers are understandably a little reluctant to devote shelf space to games that didn’t do so well last generation, and you can easily circumvent this problem by making the storefront yourself. Just make sure you get that whole piracy thing sorted out or else you’re going to end up with egg on your face for the second time running.

Embrace Your Past

Playing Metal Gear Solid on my PSP was an absolute blast. Not those PSP ones you put out mind, by the original PSX epic, with Psycho Mantis and more stupid Genome soldiers than you could shake a stick at. It’s hard to get myself playing old classics when I’m at home with my trio of next-gen consoles, but out on the go it’s perfect when I’m looking for a handheld shot of nostalgia.

Without wishing to sound ungrateful, I want more. I want more PSX games, released more frequently and…well admittedly the prices you charged for them were about right. Don’t stop there though, as I see it every old console is ripe for the picking. I could go for Genesis games on the go, and hell, even a couple of Neo Geo games might be nice.

Yes I know licensing deals are tricky things to negotiate, but Sony you’re a big boy now, and you’ve been in this game a long time. It’s time to start pulling your weight and convincing third parties that their old games are more than welcome on your digital store.

Reward me

I’ve got a pretty nice gamerscore going on with my PS3. I spent a significant amount of time earlier this year chasing after a platinum trophy for Assassin’s Creed 2, and when I finally got it the feeling was impressive to say the least. If I could get that same feeling with smaller handheld games then I’d certainly spend a lot more time with the PS3’s portable little sibling, rather than wasting my time reading books on the train (which I might add don’t even have the common courtesy to play a satisfying little chime whenever I finish a chapter).

On a more serious note, trophies would give people a very alluring incentive to connect their PSP to their PSN account. As soon as you’ve got PSPs talking with your central servers you’ve got an avenue for pulling all sorts of checks to make sure people are using legitimate copies of games in their search for trophy glory. If you make trophies appealing enough, then you can let human competitiveness take over, at which point losing a gamerscore would become quite a serious punishment for a potential pirate.

Make the PSP2 do Everything you Lead us to Believe the Original Would

I may have been the only one that thought this, but there was a time before the PS3 joined the PSP on store shelves when I really thought there was a possibility of using my PSP to control PS3 games. Developers tantalised us with demonstrations of the PSP acting as a rear-view mirror on racing games such a F1 Championship Edition but when both systems were on store shelves everyone went strangely quiet on the issue.

Personally I’d never want to use the PSP’s tiny little analogue stick to play as precise a game as F1, but the feature could be invaluable in many other instances. Imagine if you will, a two player RPG experience. You’ve been sucked into a random encounter, and both you and one friend are controlling a party member each. The HDTV in front of you however, is completely free of any HUD, instead all the required menus for controlling the tide of battle are located on your individual PSP screens. You scroll through your characters’ data individually, without needing to see your partner’s information, and when your turn comes to attack, the animation plays out in beautiful high definition in front of you. That my friends, would be living.

Token Inclusion: A Second Analogue Stick

I didn’t want to include this feature, because honestly I think anything that encourages developers to put a console experience on a handheld is a bad thing, especially when your going to be forced to control them with sticks not designed for ease of use, but to take up as little room as possible.

Ignoring that quite large hurdle however, there do seem to be a significant amount of people that are really pining after that second stick, which should generate enough sales to offset the cost of its inclusion. A small number of handheld games may work quite well with it as well, such as Super Stardust, so it’s influence wouldn’t be all bad.

If you do all of these things Sony, you’ll be guaranteed to generate at least one extra sale, which should make it all worthwhile right?

What about you? What does Sony need to do to get that bad PSP Go taste out of your mouth and get you back on the bandwagon for its handheld successor?

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