February 26, 2009 § Leave a comment
An expansion of my comments here.
To my understanding, the PSP has sold over fifty million units so far. That means that there is a huge market audience out there with the console, and hopefully, willing to pay for games on it. There isn’t much the PSP could benefit from apart from a better control layout and a new storage format. I still believe that the PSP has the technological capabilities to be a great portable console. The problem isn’t so much with the console, it’s the way games are designed around it.
First off, I would say a significant portion of home console games don’t suit the concept of a portable console – a platform which must deliver high-bursts of short, segmented pieces of gameplay as its bread-and-butter. I bring my PSP on the bus, into town, on holiday and on the train; therefore, I need games which I can start and stop playing at any moment, and where I can get my thrills instantly. This doesn’t mean that designers should start doing endless clones of Wii/DS-style mini-game challenges; we can still have RPGs, racing games, strategy games etc… Depth shouldn’t be shunned in favour of shallow gameplay, I am not saying that it should at all.
Console games and portable games provide, in general, two seperate and different experiences. Because of the technological advancements with the PSP, a lot of developers have become blinded to this fact, and instead have become intent on trying to cram their PS3/360 game onto a UMD. I understand that portable consoles are used indoors and not always when in transit, but the thing is this: if I have a PS3 with Resistance 2 in my living room, why would I play an inferior version of that game on my PSP? It doesn’t make sense.
If developers want a portable game to be a success, while using some existing intellectual property of theirs – for example, the Resistance licence – then they need to think about redesigning that game from the ground up with that portable console in mind.
If Sony were to make a new PSP though, there are two additional issues that need to be dealt with: the first being the lack of a second analogue nub; the second, the issue of game piracy and copy protection. Touch-screens and motion control are interesting features, but I believe they are only secondary in importance to the points I have outlined above.