Monday February 7, 2005 11:58 pm
Why Sony’s PSP Will Suck
We’ve had a tremendous response to our last article on the PSP…so much so that we had to write about Sony’s upcoming handeld again. But in the spirit of objectivity, we’re obligated to show you the other side of the coin…the side Sony doesn’t want you to see. As much as the PSP has been praised, we’re not blind to its faults. In fact, people may have more reasons to hate it than to love it come March 24th.
By the way, do you have thoughts on whether the DS or PSP is the better platform? If so, chime in on the forums.
Let’s talk first about the recently announced price. $250 is a big slap to all of our faces. Not because the PSP isn’t worth the cash, but because of all the useless accessories Sony decided to bundle with the system. Apparently Americans are too stupid to purchase better alternatives for themselves. They need to be spoon-fed everything. News Flash Sony: When I bought my Playstation2 it didn’t come bundled with a memory card. I had to buy that on my own. It also didn’t come with a bundled movie to show off the DVD capability. Because of all the accessories, Sony had to raise the price to $250.
1 GB Cards are so expensive. Sandisk offers the cheaper variety, but even those will run you close to $150. And you’ll need a 1 GB if you plan on enjoying a decent amount of MP3’s on your handheld, or if you plan on watching movies with it. Some of the movies I have encoded to MP4 are larger than 650 MB, so a 512 MB card isn’t an option. SD cards are half the price, and even cheaper after rebates. But no, Sony wants to shaft the public with their proprietary standards once again. In fact, if you decide to purchase a 1 GB Sony Pro Duo card, you’ll be paying more than $300. Go you!
The games are going to range from $40 to $50. Awesome, so after they gouge us with the system price, they gouge us again with the software. And this is UMD we’re talking here folks. It doesn’t cost Sony much to put out these diskettes, as compared to physical cartridges on other systems.
There’s no killer app. How many times have we already played Ridge Racer on our home systems? Same for every other game being released near the launch window: they’re all ports (with some fancy mini games to avoid Sony’s no-ports rule). Even the game I want the most: WipeOut Pure rehashes four levels from previous installments. Where is the SSX of the bunch? Where’s the Halo, the WaveRace64, the Soul Calibur, the Resident Evil 4? I don’t mean these franchises, but I mean a title that says: “You want me now, and you will spend $300 of your hard-earned cash on me.” The closest thing we’re getting to something unique is Mercury, and that doesn’t even have randomly generated puzzles, so replayability is questionable.
Movie conversion to MP4 is a royal pain. It takes three pieces of software: one to rip a film , one to convert it to AVI, and yet another to convert the AVI to an MP4. Here’s the best part. No one has figured out how to get movies to the native resolution of the PSP wide-screen. So when you’re playing your MP4, you’ll need to stretch the video to get the ratio right. It still looks decent, but it’s not native and therefore not as good as it could have been. Rumor has it that Sony sloppily borrowed the MP4 utility from its Clie PDA software suite. Thanks.
The headphone and remote cord is a travesty. Okay, let me see if I can find the logic here. The color for both these items is white. Sony figured that you needed to be down with the iPod crowd, so they chose a similar color, which will make you look as cool as those Apple commercials will lead you to believe. Except if you look at the color of the PSP itself, it’s….well…it’s black. The cord colors don’t even match with the system! You won’t get the best sound out of the included earbuds either. Yeah, I know I was shocked too.
Music organization doesn’t exist. The PSP does not let you sort your music by artist, genre, date uploaded, or other ID3 tags. You place them all in the same directory, and will basically need to scroll and select each song you want to hear. Either that or be subject to a “shuffle” option that will juxtapose your gospel tracks with your gangster hip-hop. Sweet Lord, please let there be a firmware update soon.
We’ll need to wait for a better battery. If you forget to charge your PSP at night, you’re basically up the creek until you find a wall outlet the next day, especially if you’re using it for all the functionality it’s supposed to have. That bright screen comes at a steep price. You’re getting only about 10 hours of music playback, and maybe 5 hours max of game playing time per charge. Well, you can always purchase a second AC adaptor to leave at your job just in case.
The system will not boot up straight to the XMB interface if you have a game installed. In other words, say you don’t want to play the game loaded on your system and want to play a song or a movie instead. Well, you’ll need to either boot up the game first and then exit, or the more popular approach, pop the eject button, turn on the system, and then close the game lid once you enter the XMB. This is laughable at best. Sony should have included an option to jump straight to the XMB if you hold one of its buttons.
The PSP will suck every drop of oil in your fingers and apply them directly to the screen. When a system comes with a wipe-down rag to erase the smudges you’ll get, you know something is wrong. Where are you supposed to keep the rag when you’re not using it, anyway? I know some of you PSP fanboys already have a personal answer for this one for me.
No second analogue stick. Just when EA begins the love-fest with the second stick on the standard PS2 Dual Shock pad, Sony rips the option away, completely changing the control dynamic for some of our favorite games. What would it have hurt to make the PSP just a little bit wider to accommodate this glaring omission? Oh, and in case you haven’t heard Sony’s Ken Kutaragi defending the PSP design yet, many people are experiencing problems with the system’s square button, which has been a little unresponsive due to it being so close to the LCD screen.
The pouch that comes with the system is a joke. Not only is it too thin to offer any significant protection against bumps and bruises, it’s also too small to fit any other accessories in it, like any extra UMD games you’re going to want to carry around. To add further insult, the pouch doesn’t zipper up, so if you tilt it in any significant way, your PSP will succumb to the mysterious force of gravity and die a quick painful death on the hardwood. It’s another reason the accessories, and the price that comes because of them is an issue.
Downloading firmware: an unnecessary hassle. A lot of these issues can be fixed with some updated firmware. We’re wondering why they weren’t with the system to begin with? How long does it take for a company this big to develop a web-browser and an email client and have them at launch? Something smacks of a lack organization on Sony’s part. Yes, these things are eventually coming, but we don’t have a solid time-frame for them. Besides that, the average person may not feel comfortable having to completely overhaul the interface via a USB or WiFi connection for these killer features to be added.
Someone tell me, why am I getting this thing again?
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