Sony announced the NGP (PSP2 in all but name) last week and forums the world over lit up with enthusiastic gamers wanting one. Yet the original PSP is here today and most gamers couldn’t care less about their dusty paper weight they haven’t charged in over a year. So what is it about the PSP2 that makes them froth at the mouth to get one? Isn’t the PSP2 just a turbo charged PSP?
The PSP launched in 2005 against the underpowered Nintendo DS. From the start it looked like the DS would be dead inside a year and the PSP becoming the new handheld king, especially with titles like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Lumines. Yet within a year it was clear the DS was becoming THE handheld console. The PSP offered Movies, PS2 level graphics, a web browser, online play and a whole bunch more. Yet the games that came out on it, portable versions of console games, portable versions of big franchises and portable versions of ports from other consoles didn’t set the world alight.
In fact the DS shows people wanted something different with a handheld. They wanted games that could be started and ended quickly. They didn’t have to invest an hour or two to get anywhere and they could play simplistic but fun games like Brain Training and Nintendogs. They didn’t want a console experience, they wanted something new that suited handheld gaming.
Here we are, 5 or so years later with the PSP2. Sony shows up it’s two touch panels, it’s dual analogue sticks, multiple cameras, wifi, 3G, a compass and much more. Oh and let’s not forget the PS3 looking graphics. Compared to the once again under powered Nintendo 3DS. It really is the Ferrari of games consoles. How could it not lose with all that power and features?
Well Sony decided to show us why we feel it may lose. The games. First up was a portable Uncharted game, next was a portable Call of Duty game and tech demos of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Lost Planet. The PSP proved before that gamers don’t want a console experience on their handheld but here we are with them giving us more of the same.
You could argue the lack of a second analogue stick harmed the original PSP but did it really? It didn’t, the games harmed the PSP. Sure it has found an audience who did want portable Fifa and portable Resistance but you can’t deny it could have done as well as the Nintendo 3DS.
But back to the point, here we are over 5 years on, with Sony offering us more of the same with a super charged PSP and all the gamers who own or generally have owned a PSP can’t wait for it to arrive. We can’t see why they can’t wait. They had a PSP and binned it. They couldn’t be bothered with it’s poor battery life and portable conversions. Yet here we are with both of these things coming back for the PSP2.
Sony truly are the masters of pre-hype it seems. As wonderful as we think the PSP2 is (it is an exciting piece of tech after all) we just can’t see it selling if the show reel is a sign of whats to come. Why anyone who owned any original PSP would want one is beyond us when they got bored of console games on a portable platform years ago. Why not get that PSP out of the draw, spend a few hours charging it up and installing the latest firmware and just think that you could be playing the still powerful PSP instead of wasting money on a PSP2.
This is why we think the PSP2 might fail and why current PSP owners won’t buy one on launch. The PSP proved people wanted more than portable console conversions and whilst we think people are getting caught up in all the graphics and pre release hype currently, we feel the PSP2 ultimately will go the way of the PSP. Unloved, dusty in a draw forgotten about.