PlayStation Portable

PlayStation Portable
PSP Logo.svg
Psp-1000.jpg
Logo and original model of the PSP
Developer Sony Computer Entertainment
Manufacturer Sony
Product family PlayStation
Type Handheld game console
Generation Seventh generation
Release date
  • JP: December 12, 2004
  • NA: March 24, 2005
  • BR: March 24, 2005
  • INA: March 24, 2005
  • EU: September 1, 2005
  • AS: September 1, 2005
  • AF: September 1, 2005
  • AU: September 1, 2005
Lifespan 2004–2014
Discontinued
  • NA: January 2014
  • JP: June 2014
  • PAL: December 2014
Units sold Worldwide: 80–82 million[1][2][3]
Media UMD, digital distribution
Operating system PlayStation Portable system software
CPU 20-333 MHz MIPS R4000
Memory 32 MB (PSP-1000); 64 MB (2000, 3000, Go, E1000)
Storage Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo
PSP Go: Memory Stick Micro (M2) and 16 GB flash memory
Display 480 × 272 pixels with 24-bit color, 30:17 widescreen TFT LCD
PSP Go: 3.8 in (97 mm)
other models: 4.3 in (110 mm)
Sound Stereo speakers, mono speaker (PSP-E1000), microphone (PSP-3000, PSP Go), 3.5 mm headphone jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi (802.11b) (except PSP-E1000), IrDA (PSP-1000), USB, Bluetooth (PSP Go)
Online services PlayStation Network
Dimensions PSP-1000:
2.9 in (74 mm) (h)
6.7 in (170 mm) (w)
0.91 in (23 mm) (d)
PSP2000/3000:
2.8 in (71 mm) (h)
6.7 in (169 mm) (w)
0.75 in (19 mm) (d)
PSP Go:
2.7 in (69 mm) (h)
5.0 in (128 mm) (w)
0.65 in (16.5 mm) (d)
PSP E1000:
2.9 in (73 mm) (h)
6.8 in (172 mm) (w)
0.85 in (21.5 mm) (d)
Mass PSP1000:
9.9 ounces (280 g)
PSP2000/3000:
6.7 ounces (189 g)
PSP Go:
5.6 ounces (158 g)
PSP E1000:
7.9 ounces (223 g)
Best-selling game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (7.6 million) (as of October 2015)[4]
Backward
compatibility
PS one (download only)
Successor PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Portable[a] (PSP) is a handheld game console that was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of the seventh generation of video-game consoles. Development of the handheld console was announced during E3 2003 and it was unveiled on May 11, 2004, at a Sony press conference before the next E3. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004; in North America on March 24, 2005; and in the PAL region on September 1, 2005. It competed with the Nintendo DS.

The PSP was the most powerful portable console when it was introduced. It was the first real competitor of Nintendo's handheld consoles after many challengers, such as SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and Nokia's N-Gage, had failed. Its advanced graphics made the PSP a popular mobile-entertainment device, which can connect to the PlayStation 2 (PS2) and PlayStation 3 (PS3) games consoles, computers running Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh software, other PSPs and the Internet. The PSP is the only handheld console to use an optical disc format – Universal Media Disc (UMD) – as its primary storage medium. It was received positively by most video-game critics and sold 76 million units by 2012.

Several models of the console were released. The PSP line was succeeded by the PlayStation Vita, which was released in December 2011 in Japan and worldwide in February 2012. The Vita has backward compatibility with many PSP games that were released on the PlayStation Network through the PlayStation Store, which became the main method of purchasing PSP games after Sony shut down access to the PlayStation Store from PSPs on March 31, 2016. Hardware shipments ended worldwide in 2014; the PSP sold 80 million units during its 10-year lifetime. Production of UMDs ended when the last Japanese factory making them closed in late 2016.

History

Sony Computer Entertainment first announced development of the PlayStation Portable at a press conference preceding E3 2003.[5] Although samples were not presented,[5] Sony released extensive technical details.[6] CEO Ken Kutaragi called the device the "Walkman of the 21st century"; a reference to the console's multimedia capabilities.[7] Several gaming websites were impressed with the handheld's computing capabilities and looked forward to its potential as a gaming platform.[8][5][9]

In the 1990s, Nintendo had dominated the handheld market since launching its Game Boy in 1989, experiencing close competition only from Bandai's WonderSwan (1999–2003) in Japan and Sega's Game Gear (1990-2001).[10] In January 1999, Sony had released the briefly successful PocketStation in Japan as its first foray into the handheld gaming market.[11] The SNK Neo Geo Pocket and Nokia's N-Gage also failed to cut into Nintendo's share.[12] According to an IDC analyst in 2004, the PSP was the "first legitimate competitor to Nintendo's dominance in the handheld market".[13]

The first concept images of the PSP appeared in November 2003 at a Sony corporate strategy meeting and showed it having flat buttons and no analog joystick.[14] Although some reviewers expressed concern about the lack of an analog stick,[15] these fears were allayed when the PSP was officially unveiled at the Sony press conference during E3 2004.[16][17] Sony released a list of 99 developer companies that pledged support for the new handheld.[18] Several game demos such as Konami's Metal Gear Acid and SCE Studio Liverpool's Wipeout Pure were also shown at the conference.[19]

Launch

On October 17, 2004, Sony announced that the PSP base model would be launched in Japan on December 12 that year for ¥19,800 (about US$181 in 2004) while the Value System would launch for ¥24,800 (about US$226).[20] The launch was a success; more than 200,000 units were sold on the first day.[21] Color variations were sold in bundle packs that cost around $200. Sony announced on February 3, 2005, that the PSP would go on sale in North America on March 24 in one configuration for an MSRP of US$249/CA$299.[22] Some commentators expressed concern over the high price,[23] which was almost US$20 higher than that of the Japanese model and more than $100 higher than the Nintendo DS.[24] Despite these concerns, the PSP's North American launch was a success.[25][26] Sony said 500,000 units were sold in the first two days,[27] though it was also reported that this figure was below expectations.[28]

The PSP was originally intended to have a simultaneous PAL region and North American launch,[17] but on March 15, 2005, Sony announced that the PAL region launch would be delayed because of high demand for the console in Japan and North America.[29] The next month it announced that the PSP would be launched in the PAL region on September 1, 2005, for €249/£179.[30] Sony defended the high price by saying North American consumers had to pay local sales taxes and that the Value Added Tax (sales tax) was higher in the UK than the US.[31] Despite the high price, the console's PAL region launch was a success, selling more than 185,000 units in the UK.[32] All stock of the PSP in the UK sold out within three hours of launch, more than doubling the previous first-day sales record of 87,000 units set by the Nintendo DS. The system also enjoyed great success in other areas of the PAL region; more than 25,000 units were pre-ordered in Australia[33] and nearly one million units were sold across Europe in the first week.[34]

Hardware

A PSP-1000: the shoulder buttons are on top, the directional pad on the left with the analog "nub" directly below it, the PlayStation face buttons on the right and a row of secondary buttons below the screen.

The PlayStation Portable uses the common "bar" form factor. The original model measures approximately 6.7 by 2.9 by 0.9 inches (170 by 74 by 23 mm) and weighs 9.9 ounces (280 g). The front of the console is dominated by the system's 4.3-inch (110 mm) LCD screen, which is capable of 480 × 272 pixel display resolution with 24-bit color, outperforming the Nintendo DS. Also on the unit's front are four PlayStation face buttons (Triangle, Circle, X, Square); the directional pad, the analog "nub", and several other buttons. The system also has two shoulder buttons, a USB 2.0 mini-B port on the top of the console, and a WLAN switch and power cable input on the bottom. The back of the PSP features a read-only Universal Media Disc (UMD) drive for access to movies and games, and a reader compatible with Sony's Memory Stick PRO Duo flash cards is located on the left of the system. Other features include an IrDA-compatible infrared port and a two-pin docking connector (this was discontinued in PSP-2000 and later); built-in stereo speakers and headphone port; and IEEE 802.11b Wi-Fi for access to the Internet, ad-hoc multiplayer gaming, and data transfer.[35]

The PSP uses two 333 MHz MIPS32 R4000 R4k-based CPUs, as a main CPU and Media Engine, a GPU running at 166 MHz, and includes 32 MB main RAM (64MB on PSP-2000 and later models), and 4 MB embedded DRAM split between the aforementioned GPU and Media Engine.[35] The hardware was originally forced to run more slowly than it was capable of; most games ran at 222 MHz.[36] With firmware update 3.50 on May 31, 2007, however, Sony removed this limit and allowed new games to run at 333 MHz.[37]

The PSP is powered by an 1800 mAh battery (1200 mAh on the 2000 and 3000 models) that provides between about three and six hours of gameplay, between four and five hours of video playback, or between eight and eleven hours of audio playback.[16][38]

Software

System Software

The PSP runs a custom operating system referred to as the System Software, which can be updated over the Internet, or by loading an update from a Memory Stick or UMD.[39] The software cannot be downgraded.

While System Software updates can be used with consoles from any region,[40][41] Sony recommends only downloading updates released for the model's region. System Software updates have added many features, including a web browser, Adobe Flash support, additional codecs for various media, PlayStation 3 (PS3) connectivity, and patches against security exploits (and the execution of homebrew programs).[39] The most recent version, numbered 6.61, was released on January 15, 2015.

Designs

PSP-2000

The PSP-2000, which was marketed in PAL countries as the "PSP Slim & Lite",[42] is the first redesign of the PlayStation Portable. At E3 2007, Sony released information about a slimmer and lighter version for the device.[43] It was released on August 30, 2007, in Hong Kong; September 5 in Europe; September 6 in North America; September 7 in South Korea; and September 12 in Australia. The PSP-2000 system is slimmer and lighter[44] than the original PSP, reduced from 0.91 to 0.73 inches (23 to 18.6 mm) and from 9.87 to 6.66 ounces (280 to 189 g).[43][45]

The serial port was modified to accommodate a new video-out feature, making it incompatible with older PSP remote controls. On the PSP-2000, games only output to external monitors and televisions in progressive scan mode. Non-game video outputs work in either progressive or interlaced mode. USB charging was introduced and the D-Pad was raised in response to complaints of poor performance[46][47] and the responsiveness of the buttons was improved.[48]

Other changes include improved WLAN modules and micro-controller, and a thinner[49] and much brighter LCD screen. To improve the poor loading times of UMD games on the original PSP,[50] the internal memory (RAM and Flash ROM) was doubled from 32 MB to 64 MB, part of which now acting as a cache, also improving the web browser's performance.[51]

PSP-3000

In comparison with the PSP-2000, the 3000, which was marketed in PAL areas as "PSP Slim & Lite" or "PSP Brite", has an improved LCD screen[52] with an increased color range,[53] five times the contrast ratio,[54] a halved pixel response time, new sub-pixel structure, and anti-reflective technology to reduce outdoor glare. The disc tray, logos and buttons were all redesigned, and a microphone was added. Games could now be outputted in either component or composite video using the video-out cable.[55] Some outlets called this model "a minor upgrade".[56]

The PSP-3000 was released on October 14, 2008, in North America; October 16 in Japan; October 17 in Europe;[57][58] and October 23 in Australia.[59] In its first four days on sale in Japan, the PSP-3000 sold 141,270 units, according to Famitsu.[60] It sold 267,000 units during October.[61]

On its release, a problem with interlacing when objects were in motion on the PSP-3000 screen was noticed.[62] Sony announced this problem would not be fixed.[63]

PSP Go (N1000)

Logo for PSP Go

The PSP Go (model PSP-N1000)[64][65][66] was released on October 1, 2009, in North American and European territories,[67] and on November 1 in Japan. It was revealed prior to E3 2009 through Sony's Qore video on demand service.[68] Its design is significantly different from other PSP models.[65]

The unit is 43% lighter and 56% smaller than the original PSP-1000,[65] and 16% lighter and 35% smaller than the PSP-3000.[69] Its rechargeable battery is not intended to be removed by the user.[70] It has a 3.8-inch (97 mm) 480 × 272 pixel LCD screen,[71][72] which slides up to reveal the main controls. The overall shape and sliding mechanism are similar to those of Sony's mylo COM-2 Internet device.[73]

Front view of a closed PSP Go

The PSP Go features 802.11b[74] Wi-Fi like its predecessors, although the USB port was replaced with a proprietary connector. A compatible cable that connects to other devices' USB ports is included with the unit. The new multi-use connector allows video and sound output with the same connector using an optional composite or component AV cable. As with previous models, Sony also offers a cradle (PSP-N340)[64] for charging, video out, and USB data transfer on the PSP Go. This model adds support for Bluetooth connectivity,[75] which enables the playing of games using a Sixaxis or DualShock 3 controller. The use of the cradle with the controller allow players to use the PSP Go as a portable device and as a console, although the output is not upscaled. PlayStation 1 games can be played in full screen using the AV/component cable[64] or the cradle.

The PSP Go lacks a UMD drive, and instead has 16 GB of internal flash memory[66], which can be extended by up to 32 GB with the use of a Memory Stick Micro (M2). Games must be downloaded from the PlayStation Store. The removal of the UMD drive effectively region-locks the unit because it must be linked to a single, region-locked PlayStation Network account. While the PSP Go can download games to itself, users can also download and transfer games to the device from a PlayStation 3 console[76], or the Windows-based software Media Go.

All downloadable PSP and PlayStation games available for older PSP models are compatible with the PSP Go. Sony confirmed that almost all UMD-based PSP games released after October 1, 2009, would be available to download[77][78] and that most older UMD-only games would also be downloadable.[79]

In February 2010, it was reported that Sony might re-launch the PSP Go due to the lack of consumer interest and poor sales.[80][81] In June 2010, Sony began bundling the console with 10 free downloadable games; the same offer was made available in Australia in July. Three free games for the PSP Go were offered in America.[82][83][84][85][86] In October that year, Sony announced it would reduce the price of the unit.[87][88][89] On April 20, 2011, the manufacturer announced that the PSP Go would be discontinued outside of North America so it could concentrate on the PlayStation Vita.[90][91][92][93]

PSP Street (E1000)

The PSP-E1000, which was announced at Gamescom 2011, is a budget-focused model that was released across the PAL region on October 26 of that year.[94] The E1000 lacks Wi-Fi capability and has a matte, charcoal-black finish similar to that of the slim PlayStation 3.[94] It has a monaural speaker instead of the previous models' stereo speakers and lacks a microphone.[95] An ice-white version was released in PAL territories on July 20, 2012.[96]

Battery

Two different battery size standards

To make the unit slimmer, the capacity of the PSP's battery was reduced from 1800 mAh to 1200 mAh in the PSP-2000 and 3000 models. Due to more efficient power use, however, the expected playing time is the same as that of older models. The original high-capacity batteries work on the newer models, giving increased playing time, though the battery cover does not fit. The batteries take about 1.5 hours to charge and last for between four-and-a-half and seven hours depending on factors such as screen brightness settings, the use of WLAN, and volume levels.[97] In March 2008, Sony released the Extended Life Battery Kit in Japan, which included a bulkier 2200 mAh battery with a fitting cover. In Japan, the kit was sold with a specific-colored cover matching the many PSP variations available.[98] The North American kit released in December 2008 was supplied with two new covers; one black and one silver.[99]

Bundles and colors

The PSP was sold in four main configurations. The Base Pack, which was called the Core Pack in North America,[100] contained the console, a battery, and an AC adapter.[101] This version was available at launch in Japan[20] and was released later in North America and Europe.[102]

Many limited editions of the PSP were bundled with accessories, games, or movies.[103][104] Limited-edition models were first released in Japan on September 12, 2007;[105] North America and Europe on September 5;[106] in Australia on September 12, and in the UK on October 26. The PSP-2000 was made available in piano black, ceramic white,[107] ice silver,[108] mint green, felicia blue, lavender purple, deep red, matte bronze,[109] metallic blue, and rose pink as standard colors. Several special-edition consoles were colored and finished to sell with certain games, including Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (ice silver engraved), Star Ocean: First Departure (felicia blue engraved), Gundam (red gloss/matte black), and Monster Hunter Freedom (gold silkscreened) in Japan,[110] Star Wars (Darth Vader silkscreened),[111] and God of War: Chains of Olympus (Kratos silkscreened) in North America, The Simpsons (bright yellow with white buttons, analog and disc tray) in Australia and New Zealand,[109] and Spider-Man (red gloss/matte black) in Europe.

The PSP-3000 was made available in piano black, pearl white, mystic silver, radiant red, vibrant blue, spirited green, blossom pink, turquoise green and lilac purple. The limited edition "Big Boss Pack" of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker had a camouflage pattern while the God of War: Ghost of Sparta bundle pack included a black-and-red two-toned PSP.[112] The Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy Cosmos & Chaos edition that was released on March 3, 2011, has an Amano artwork as the PSP's face plate.[113]

Below are the comparison of the different Playstation Portable models:

Model Image Connectivity/storage Wireless connectivity RAM and internal storage CPU Display Original release date Original system software Battery In production
PSP-1000 [114] Piano Black PSP-1000 USB 2.0, UMD, Serial Port, Headphone Jack, Memory Stick PRO Duo 802.11b Wi-Fi, IRDA 32 MB, 32 MB System Software MIPS R4000 at 1~333 MHz 4.3 in (110 mm) 16:9 TFT at 480 × 272, 16.77 million colors December 12, 2004 (Japan) 1.00 3.6 V DC 1800 mAh, Upgradeable to 2200 mAh Discontinued
PSP-2000 [114] Piano Black PSP-2000 USB 2.0, UMD, Video Out, Headphone Jack, Memory Stick PRO Duo 802.11b Wi-Fi 64 MB, 64 MB System Software September 2007 3.60 3.6 V DC 1200 mAh, Upgradeable to 2200 mAh Discontinued
PSP-3000 [114] Silver PSP-3000 USB 2.0, UMD, Video Out, Microphone, Headphone Jack, Memory Stick PRO Duo October 2008 4.20 Discontinued
(2012)
PSP Go (PSP-N1000) [114] Piano Black PSPGo All in One Port, Headphone Jack, Mic, Memory Stick Micro (M2) 802.11b Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR 64 MB, 16 GB User and System Software Shared 3.8 in (97 mm) 16:9 TFT at 480 × 272, 16.77 million colors, sliding screen October 2009 5.70 3.6 V DC Non Removable Battery Discontinued
(2011/2013)
PSP Street (PSP-E1000) [114] PSP-E1000 USB 2.0, UMD, Headphone Jack, Memory Stick PRO Duo No 64 MB, 64 MB System Software [115] 4.3 in (110 mm) 16:9 TFT at 480 × 272, 16.77 million colors October 2011 6.50 [114] Discontinued
(2014)

Games

Demos and emulation

In late 2004, Sony released a series of PSP demo games, including Duck In Water, world/ball, Harmonic City, and Luga City.[116] Demos for commercial PSP games could be downloaded and booted directly from a Memory Stick.[117] Demos were sometimes issued in UMD format and mailed out or given to customers at retail outlets.[118] In addition, several older PlayStation games were re-released; these can be played on the PSP using emulation. As of 2008, this feature could be officially accessed through the PlayStation Network service for PlayStation 3, PSP, PlayStation Vita (or PlayStation TV), or a personal computer.[119] Emulation of the PSP is well-developed; one of the first emulators was JPCSP, which ran on Java.[120] PPSSPP is currently the fastest and most compatible PSP emulator; it supports all major games.[121]

Notable games

There were 1,370 games released for the PSP during its 11-year lifespan. Launch games for PSP included; Ape Escape: On the Loose (North America, Europe, Japan), Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (North America, Europe, Japan), Dynasty Warriors (all regions), Lumines (North America, Europe, Japan), Metal Gear Acid (North America, Europe, Japan), Need for Speed: Underground Rivals (North America, Europe, Japan), NFL Street 2: Unleashed (North America, Europe), Ridge Racer (North America, Europe, Japan), Spider-Man 2 (North America, Europe, Japan), Tiger Woods PGA Tour (North America, Europe, Japan), Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix (North America, Europe), Twisted Metal: Head-On (North America, Europe), Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade (North America, Europe, Japan), Wipeout Pure (all regions), and World Tour Soccer: Challenge Edition (North America, Europe).[122][123][124] Additionally, Gretzky NHL and NBA were North America exclusive launch titles. The best selling PSP game is Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, which sold 7.6 million copies as of October 2015.[125]

Other top selling PSP games include Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories,[126] Monster Hunter Portable 3rd,[127] Gran Turismo,[128] and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.[127] Retro City Rampage DX, which was released in July 2016, was the final PSP game that was released. The best rated PSP games on Metacritic are God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, and Daxter,[129] Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the only PSP game to receive a perfect score from Famitsū.[130] During E3 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that the Greatest Hits range of budget titles were to be extended to the PSP system.[131] On July 25, 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment America released the first batch of Greatest Hits titles. These titles included Ape Escape:On the Loose, ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, Hot Shots: Open Tee, Twisted Metal: Head-On, and Wipeout Pure.[132] The PSP Greatest Hits lineup consists of games that have sold 250,000 copies or more and have been released for nine months.[133] PSP games in this lineup retail for $19.99 each.[132] Downloadable games were limited to 1.8 GB, most likely to guarantee a potential UMD release.[134] A section of the PlayStation Store is dedicated to "Minis"; smaller, cheaper games available as download only.

Homebrew development and custom firmware

PSP-Homebrew

On June 15, 2005, hackers disassembled the code of the PSP and distributed it online.[135] Initially the modified PSP allowed users to run custom code and a limited amount of protected software, including custom-made PSP applications such as a calculator or file manager.[136] Sony responded to this by repeatedly upgrading the software. Some users were able to unlock the firmware to allow them to run more custom content and DRM-restricted software. Hackers were able to run protected software on the PSP through the creation of ISO loaders that could load copies of UMD games from a memory stick.[137] Custom firmware including the M33 Custom Firmware, Minimum Edition (ME/LME) CFWm, and PRO CFWl were commonly seen in PSP systems.[138]

Peripherals

Component cable, which allows PSP-2000 and 3000 models to output analog stereo audio and analog component ( YPBPR) video

Official accessories for the console include an AC adapter, car adapter, headset, headphones with remote control, extended-life 2200 mAh battery, battery charger, carrying case, accessories pouch and cleaning cloth, and system pouch and wrist strap.[139] A 1seg television tuner peripheral (model PSP-S310), designed specifically for the PSP-2000, was released in Japan on September 20, 2007.[140]

Sony sold a GPS accessory for the PSP-2000; this was released first in Japan and announced for the United States in 2008. It features maps on a UMD and offers driving directions and city guides.[141]

After the discontinuation of PSP, the Chinese electronics company Lenkeng released a PSP-to-HDMI converter called the LKV-8000.[142][143] The device is compatible with the PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP Go.[144] To overcome the problem of PSP games being displayed in a small window surrounded by a black border, the LKV-8000 has a zoom button on the connector. A few other Chinese companies have released clones of this upscaler under different names, like the Pyle PSPHD42.[145] The LKV-8000 and its variants have become popular among players and reviewers as the only means of playing and recording PSP gameplay on a large screen.[146][147]

Web browser

Web browser on a PSP-1000

The PSP Internet Browser is a version of the NetFront browser and came with the system via an update.[148] The browser supports most common web technologies, such as HTTP cookies, forms, CSS, and basic JavaScript.[149] It features limited tabbed browsing and has a maximum of three tabs.[150]

Remote Play

Remote Play allows the PSP to access many of the features of the PlayStation 3 console from a remote location using the PS3's WLAN capabilities, a home network, or the Internet.[151] Using Remote Play, users can view photographs, listen to music, and watch videos stored on the PS3 or connected USB devices.[152] Remote Play also allows the PS3 to be turned on and off remotely and lets the PSP control audio playback from the PS3 to a home theater system.[153][154] Although most of the PS3's capabilities are accessible with Remote Play, playback of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, PlayStation games, PlayStation 2 games, most PS3 games, and copy-protected files stored on the hard drive are not supported.[152]

VoIP access

Starting with system software version 3.90, the PSP-2000, 3000, and Go can use the Skype VoIP service. Due to hardware constraints it is not possible to use the service on the PSP-1000. The service allows Skype calls to be made over Wi-Fi and – on the Go – over the Bluetooth modem. Users must purchase Skype credit to make telephone calls.[155]

Room for PlayStation Portable

At Tokyo Game Show 2009, Sony announced that a service similar to PlayStation Home, the PS3's online community-based service, was being developed for the PSP.[156] Named "Room" (stylized R∞M), it was being beta-tested in Japan from October 2009 to April 2010. It could be launched directly from the PlayStation Network section of the XMB. As in Home, PSP owners would have been able to invite other PSP owners into their rooms to "enjoy real time communication".[157][158] Development of Room halted on April 15, 2010, due to feedback from the community.[159]

Digital Comics Reader

Sony partnered with publishers such as Rebellion Developments, Disney, IDW Publishing, Insomnia Publications, iVerse, Marvel Comics, and Titan Books to release digitized comics on the PlayStation Store.[160][161] The Digital Comics Reader application required PSP firmware 6.20.[162]

The PlayStation Store's "Comic" section premiered in Japan on December 10, 2009, with licensed publishers ASCII Media Works, Enterbrain, Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Square-Enix, Softbank Creative (HQ Comics), Hakusensha, Bandai Visual, Fujimishobo, Futabasha, and Bunkasha.[163] It launched in the United States and in English-speaking PAL countries on December 16, 2009, though the first issues of Aleister Arcane, Astro Boy: Movie Adaptation, Star Trek: Enterprise Experiment and Transformers: All Hail Megatron were made available as early as November 20 through limited-time PlayStation Network redemption codes.[164] In early 2010 the application was expanded to the German, French, Spanish and Italian languages.[165] The choice of regional Comic Reader software is dictated by the PSP's firmware region; the Japanese Comic Reader will not display comics purchased from the European store, and vice versa. Sony shut down the Digital Comics service in September 2012.[166]

Reception and sales

PSP and DS

The PSP received generally positive reviews soon after launch; most reviewers noted similar strengths and weaknesses. CNET awarded the system 8.5 out of 10 and praised the console's powerful hardware and its multimedia capabilities but lamented the lack of a guard to cover the screen and the reading surface of UMD cartridges.[167] Engadget praised the console's design, stating that "it is definitely one well-designed, slick little handheld".[168] PC World commended Sony's decision to build-in Wi-Fi capability but criticized the lack of a web browser at launch, and the glare and smudges that resulted from the console's shiny exterior.[169] Most reviewers also praised the console's large, bright viewing screen and its audio and video playback capabilities. In 2008, Time listed the PSP as a "gotta have travel gadget", citing the console's movie selection, telecommunications capability, and upcoming GPS functionality.[170]

The PlayStation Portable was initially seen as superior to the Nintendo DS when both devices were revealed in early 2004 because of the designers' emphasis on the technical accomplishments of the system. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fil-Aime, however, focused on the experience aspect of the Nintendo DS.[171] The DS started to become more popular than the PSP early on because it attracted more third-party developers. The DS sold more units partly because of its touchscreen, second display, and wireless elements.[172]

Reviews of the PSP Go were mixed. It was mainly criticized for its initial pricing; Ars Technica called it "way too expensive" and The Guardian stated that cost was the "biggest issue" facing the machine.[173][174] Engadget said the Go cost only $50 less than the PS3, which has a Blu-ray player.[175] Wired said the older PSP-3000 model was cheaper and supports UMDs, and IGN stated that the price increase made the PSP Go a "hard sell".[176][177] The placement of the analog stick next to the D-pad was also been criticized.[173][177][178] Reviewers also commented on the change from a mini-USB port to a proprietary port, making hardware and cables bought for previous models incompatible.[175][179] The Go's screen was positively received by Ars Technica, which called the screen's image "brilliant, sharp and clear" and T3 stated that "pictures and videos look great".[173][180] The controls received mixed reviews; The Times described them as "instantly familiar" whereas CNET and Stuff called the position of the analog stick "awkward".[179][181][182] The ability of the device use a PS3 controller was praised by The New Zealand Herald but Ars Technica criticized the need to connect the controller and the Go to a PS3 for initial setup.[173][183]

By March 31, 2007, the PlayStation Portable had shipped 25.39 million units worldwide with 6.92 million in Asia, 9.58 million in North America, and 8.89 million Europe.[184] In Europe, the PSP sold 4 million units in 2006 and 3.1 million in 2007, according to estimates by Electronic Arts.[185][186] In 2007, the PSP sold 3.82 million units in the US, according to the NPD Group[187][188] and 3,022,659 in Japan according to Enterbrain.[189][190][191] In 2008, the PSP sold 3,543,171 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.[192][193]

Region Units sold First available
Japan 19 million (as of April 28, 2013) December 12, 2004
United States 17 million (as of March 14, 2010)[194] March 24, 2005
Europe 12 million (as of May 6, 2008)[195] September 1, 2005
United Kingdom 3.2 million (as of January 3, 2009)[196] September 1, 2005
Worldwide 76.3 million (as of March 31, 2012)[197][198]

In the United States, the PSP had sold 10.47 million units by January 1, 2008, according to the NPD Group.[194][199][200] In Japan, during the week March 24–30, 2008, the PSP nearly outsold all of the other game consoles combined, selling 129,986 units, some of which were bundled with Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G,[201] which was the bestselling game in that week, according to Media Create.[202] As of December 28, 2008, the PSP had sold 11,078,484 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.[191][193] In Europe, the PSP had sold 12 million units as of May 6, 2008, according to SCE Europe.[195] In the United Kingdom, the PSP had sold 3.2 million units as of January 3, 2009, according to GfK Chart-Track.[196]

From 2006 to the third quarter of 2010, PSPs sold 53 million units.[203] In a 2009 interview, Peter Dillon, Sony's senior vice-president of marketing, said piracy of video games was leading to lower sales than hoped.[204] Despite being aimed at a different audience,[205] the PSP competed directly with the Nintendo DS. During the last few years of its life cycle, sales of the PSP models started to decrease. Shipments to North America ended in January 2014, later in Europe, and on June 3, 2014, Sony announced sales of the device in Japan would end. Production of the device and sales to the rest of Asia would continue.[206] During its lifetime, the PSP sold 80 million fewer units than the Nintendo DS.[207]

Marketing controversies

In late 2005, Sony said it had hired graffiti artists to spray-paint advertisements for the PSP in seven major U.S. cities, including New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. According to Sony, it was paying businesses and building owners for the right to spray-paint their walls.[208] A year later, Sony ran a poster campaign in England; a poster bearing the slogan "Take a running jump here" was removed from a Manchester Piccadilly station tram platform due to concerns it might encourage suicide.[209]

Later in 2006, news of a billboard advertisement released in the Netherlands depicting a white woman holding a black woman by the jaw, saying "PlayStation Portable White is coming", spread. Two similar advertisements existed; one showed the two women facing each other on equal footing in fighting stances, the other showed the black woman in a dominant position on top of the white woman. Sony's stated purpose was to contrast the white and black versions of the PSP but the advertisements were interpreted as being racially charged. These advertisements were never released in the rest of the world and were withdrawn from the Netherlands after the controversy.[210] The advertisement attracted international press coverage; Engadget said Sony may have hoped to "capitalize on a PR firestorm".[211]

Sony came under scrutiny online in December 2006 for a guerrilla marketing campaign in which advertisers posed as young bloggers who desperately wanted a PSP. The site was created by advertising firm Zipatoni.[212]

See also

Copyright