Can you imagine a world where the Sony PSP is actually relevant? Should Sony follow through with any of the actions that have been rumored in the past few days, it may be able to rescue its little system from obscurity. Today’s evidence: SCEA is working extra hard to bring over as many PS1 games to the PlayStation Network, so that you can play them on your PSP. (Japan has tons of PS1 games available for download; the U.S. has nothing.) That, and Sony is talking to publishers to see if they’d be interested in bringing their classic, non-PlayStation games to the PlayStation Network. Nothing wrong with a little Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on your PSP, purchased for $5, while riding the [subway/bus/whatever] to class or work in the morning, right?
Let’s say Sony does go through with all of that. The PSP2 or PSP-4000 or whatever the hell Sony wants to call it eliminates the slow and expensive-to-produce UMD drive. It says to you guys, “Look, we made the PSP a hell of a lot thinner, and now it only costs $100. From now on, you’ll download games from PSN right to internal flash memory or to as many memory sticks as you care to buy. Oh, and now you can play pretty much every PS1 game from when you were still young and happy on the PSP.” All of a sudden, the PSP goes from having a library of just a few competent games—even though the good games are really good, such as Wipeout Pulse—to having a Really Great Library. Throw in a handful of non-PlayStation games—classic, still-good Sonic, for example—for good measure!
Of course, Sony would have to sell these games at reasonable prices. If it thinks people are prepared to spend more than $10 on the 11-year-old PlayStation port of Tekken 3, then it has lost its mind. After all, $10 in this scenario might as well be zero dollars; $20 might get the reaction, “I’m not paying $20 for an 11-year-old game that I have to squint just to be able to play.”
I don’t know, the PSP could be a truly great little system theoretically. The PSP launched here in the U.S. in Spring, 2005, right? See, Sony just needed four+ years to figure things out. Maybe.