Watch me ollie!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sony PSP Launch

Well, it looks like Sony's actually serious about taking the fight to Nintendo. Look at this. I'm more interested in the DS as a bit of hardware, it has to be said, because of its potential for new experiences, but the PSP is a *very* tidy piece of kit in itself.

Here's what's impressive about today's PSP news.

1. The price. It's about half of what I thought it would be, and it is, in fact, very close to the price of Nintendo's DS. I think the PSP will have a great chance at mainstream success with this price point, as the enormous, high-quality screen with its PS2-looking visuals, not to mention the system's sleek design and multimedia capabilities make it an instantly desirable impulse buy.

2. It's actually coming out this year. I'd have lost a bet on this.

3. The launch lineup is actually significantly better than Nintendo's. Now this is the last thing I expected to say. I'm flabbergasted. Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Lumines looks awesome, Metal Gear Acid is a true "must have" (well, if you're a rabid fan of both the Metal Gear series and turn-based strategy, as I am), and then you've got stuff like Puyo Pop Fever (best puzzle game ever - I already have the Xbox version, but I wouldn't mind a nice handheld one), Puzzle Bobble, Everybody's Golf, Armored Core and Vampire Chronicles. A handheld system launching with a decent fighting game? Unheard of.

4. The battery life. Well, at 4-6 hours for games, it's still not great, but I can live with that.

To be honest, I think Sony have answered most of their critics. I'm still highly sceptical about using this thing to watch movies in UMD format, and its Memory Stick storage will never replace the iPod, but at that price, it can stand on its own as a games machine. I'll completely ignore its other features and still get value for money, by the looks of it. And hey - the other stuff's always there if you want it.

This should be a closer scrap than I thought, and should be a hoot to watch.


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