The Latest

S.O.S PSP (Save Our System)


Following this year’s E3, many have commented on the lack of
software for Sony’s handheld unit. A scant number of titles were publicized- only
the distantly-dated Resistance: Retribution and downloadable Super Stardust Portable
were shown during Sony’s own press conference. Although Loco Roco 2 and Patapon
2
were mentioned during the convention, little else was discussed or playable
on the show floor. Throughout the rest of the year, only two truly unique PSP
titles are on the horizon; Buzz Master Quiz and Valhalla Knights 2, a sequel to
last year’s JRPG. Every other title is a system port or a reworking of an
earlier title (as is the case, with Star Ocean: First Departure).

This scarcity of software is in direct opposition to amount
of PSP hardware being sold. According to the June NPD sales figures, the PSP
sold roughly 337,000 units through the month, outselling the Xbox 360 by
thirty-five percent.  The God of
War
-themed bundles are selling briskly at most retailers. While the DS consistently
sells an amazing amount of units every month, the PSP more than holds its own
and can support a substantial software line.


So what’s the reason for the disparity between hardware
sales, and new software availability? 
According to many industry observers and software developers, that
reason is piracy. Recently, SCEE president David Reeves stated, “There is a
piracy problem on PSP. We know about it, we know how it’s done.” before he
alluded on how piracy can fuel hardware sales. Frequent firmware updates have
slowed, but not stopped the steady flow of illicit games illuminating PSP
screens. With proficient developers like Ready at Dawn (Daxter, God of War:
Chains of Olympus
) leaving the platform, allegedly disappointed by the availability
of their game via torrent sites, the future of the PSP seems grim.

As the Xbox Live Arcade model has shown, a successful digital
distribution channel can alleviate piracy’s woes. But sadly, Sony’s Playstation
Store often seems like a hobbled afterthought, with illogical pricing. For
example, a customer could walk into many Circuit City or Toys R Us stores and
purchased a disk-based version of Parappa the Rapper for about eight dollars. Meanwhile,
Sony sells a digital version on their online store for a bloated $23. Another
illustration- players could buy one PSN version of Medevil for six dollars,
which allows play on both the PSP and PS3, or they could foolishly purchase the
PSP-only Medievil Resurrection for $17, which has a negligible amount of extra
content. Sony’s haphazard pricing of PSP content shows the lack of care and
concern in using the Playstation store to lessen the plight of piracy. Additionally,
having a Playstation Store Icon in the PSP’s Crossbar interface (as the PS3
currently does), and allowing users to purchase PSP content directly from their
units, would be beneficial.

For PSP owners who don’t install illicit firmware version,
the future of PSP software looks less than promising. With few titles hitting
stores shelves, PSP hardware sales will inevitably slow. Sony must make serious
efforts to combat this crisis, before the support for the system dries up
entirely.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

42 comments

  1. Great professional article. I haven’t played my PSP in months, probabably because of a lack of software.

  2. I think it’s too late to save the PSP; it’s been hacked and you cant get the genie back in the bottle.

  3. Lots of piracy on the DS, although it doesn’t seem to affect the platform that much.

  4. Sad, I didn’t realize everything coming out was just ports. I read the article then went to gamestop.com. Shit, except for EA’s junk, there’s nothing 25-30 games total.

    Sad, completely sad, since I just got my PSp 3 months ago.

  5. Well, there’s plenty of older games you can get for cheap now. All isn’t lost.

  6. I haven’t touched my PSP in about 2 months, I wish some good games would come out for it.

  7. I bought my PSP at launch. I know there is a bunch of games for it, but I still feel that its dying too soon. Damn pirates.

  8. Sad day for PSP; I don’t know if DLC will help, I see those on torrent sites, too.

  9. Never had a PSP, my DS suits my on the go gaming needs.

  10. You know the DS has a significant piracy (I think even more so from my anecdotal experience) problem and that doesn’t stop N and 3rd party Dev’s from churning out titles for it. I think Sony is more upset with the idea that their product can be “hacked” easily and is doing things that they would rather sell to us as other products.

  11. Great article. I saw this on digg

  12. It’s funny how Jack Tretton or whoever it was said that they don’t care if we download piracy stuff on the psp. I have one, but don’t really use it at all.

  13. I blame the PSP sales on the ridiculous amount of money Sony has spent to implant the system into movies and TV shows.

    Seriously folks, think about how many times you’ve seen the “gotta get a PSP mention in there somewhere” scene…

  14. I think commentors are missing an important point. Even tho Sony is rich as G-d, software is still slowing down; they could be making so much more money if the piracy issue is fixed.

  15. Great article.

  16. Sony still never be able to stop piracy until the PSP2.

  17. Doesn’t seem like Sony really cares about it. If they know how its done, they should know how to stop it.

  18. Agreed. Sony seems to do what Sony wants to do, and has nothing to do with logic or what players actually want.

  19. You guys are some great writers.

  20. Piracy has nothing to do with the lack of good games.

  21. PSP is dead now, it seems. I never really think they took advantage of the system.

  22. Love my PSP; sad to hear about this.

  23. Why does this site have great writing, but look so amateurish- like a 2002 website

  24. Grim stuff, though it was seemingly inevitable ever since the first custom firmware came out.

  25. I’m tempted to buy a PSP, mostly for God of War, but that’s really it.

  26. But it has everything to do with a lack of future games.

  27. The Sony only product I’ve purchased was a PSP and now it’s dead? Fucking Sony. They can suck it.

  28. Nice article

  29. I purchased a PSP, but I never ended up using it. Lack of really good games, made it collect dust and I finally sold it.

  30. We know how they’re hacking the PSP. We’re just kind of busy right now I guess.

  31. Sony has no chance in the handheld market anymore, I don’t know why theyre even trying.

  32. Haven’t touched my psp since I finished god of war

  33. I bought my PSP when it first came out…since then it’s been collecting dust. I just never think to play it.

  34. Please explain how a game can be pirated. Are they mass produced and sold for cheap on the black market? Are they of equal quality?

  35. yeah i bricked my psp and it was taking for ever to do pandoras battery and invitually someone stole without knowing it
    kinda sucks for them to

  36. Bah, I don’t understand why Sony (or anyone) should care if people are putting homebrew programs on the PSP. That’s part of its appeal. Sure I know its used mainly for pirating games, but most of them are Nintendo games anyway 😛

  37. After a fairly lengthy process, a PSP can be modified to play isos- digital files found on the internet. These play just the game as the small UMD disks.

  38. Just as I was contemplating buying one too. Great article though.

  39. It’s not the homebrew it’s the ISo’s that are killing the market.

    Look at any torrent site; over a hundren thousand people have d/l God of War. Think that doesn’t affect developers?

  40. Digital pricing will even out by the next console generation. I expect they will still be higher than people will like, but people will continue to purchase them regardless (just like the virtual console).

  41. I’m not so sure that the PSP is dead. Certainly there is room for improvement, but I think that if they were to expand the game selection it may re-energize it. Just look at the software sales in other locations not North America, PSP is doing ok.

  42. I think sony has been trying to revive the psp, like releasing the god of war bundle and the madden 09 one, but I think they know its life is coming to an end.