March 23, 2007 - On March 24, 2005, Sony Computer Entertainment released the PlayStation Portable in North America.
At the time, there was nothing but tremendous hope and hype for the system. This was Sony, entering the handheld videogaming market. The first time this company entered a gaming market, Sony not only took over, it completely transformed it -- what was once considered a "kids' toy" (one that dad would occasionally sneak playtime on) was now the centerpiece of the entertainment area for every family member in every household across the globe. Videogames had evolved, and Sony was there just in time to embody the new generation of videogames, to be the embracing host for this emerging and expanding artform.
And now, Sony was going to take that same DNA and form something that gamers and entertainment seekers could take anywhere they go. All this, many thought, might happen all over again...
SCE America's John Koller Senior Brand Manager
Part 1: PSP In The
"Game 3.0" Era
Part 2: Finding the Right Fit for PSP
Ready At Dawn
Daxter, God of War PSP
SCEA's SOCOM Team
SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo
High Impact Studios
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters
SCE Studios San Diego
MLB, NBA, Gretzky NHL (producer)
SCE Studios Bend
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
Namco's Tekken Team
*NEW - Tekken: Dark Resurrection
*NEW - Medal of Honor Heroes, EA Sports titles
*NEW - Untold Legends, Field Commander
Infected, After Burner: Black Falcon
Production Studio 1
Monster Hunter Freedom
Spider-Man 3, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Death Jr., Brooktown High
Lumines, Gunpey, Every Extend Extra
Mercury, Mercury Meltdown
eLoader & PSP homebrew
(2007 PSP Demo)
Two Years Later...
A lot can be said about what has gone right and what has gone wrong for PlayStation Portable since that launch, but one thing has been proven for certain: it's hard as anything to make it in the portable videogaming business. Nintendo is the only manufacturer to have survived it for the long haul, and even with its mighty franchises and its dominating control over this market, Nintendo has still not traversed the landmines perfectly -- major genres such as Sports, Shooters, Fighting and Racing have had difficulty finding interest in the handheld gaming audience even with the success of Game Boy and now DS, and to date, only one title has managed to ship on Nintendo DS with an ESRB M rating. If any company other than Nintendo were to have a chance at creating a fanbase and consumer audience in the handheld videogaming biz, it would be Sony. It had the clout, it has the developers and publishers, it had the franchises, it had the gamers, and it had the PlayStation vision of what videogamers want and what can be done with an entertainment device.
And, of course, it still has all of that. Although the PlayStation Portable has not quite changed the handheld videogaming market in the way that the two PlayStation consoles have (or, as SCE's current President Kazuo Hirai once put it, "...elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld gaming ghetto"), its successes are far too often ignored. This is the first major gaming system to have online-enabled games available at launch, and in a portable form no less. This is the system that brought full console-quality productions like Grand Theft Auto and Metal Gear Solid to a portable machine while even the enormous user base of the Nintendo DS system still has not convinced most publishers to spend the extra pennies on production value. (That said, DS may be missing a few voice-overs and some more expansive game concepts, but it has wooed away from consoles the epic Dragon Quest IX -- the shock that gamers expressed at that news showed that millions still didn't know that handheld gaming is no longer just Pokemon and Tetris.) This is the system that brought everything that is PlayStation into a market that previously only had one option for gamers looking to take the good times on the go.
But what about the competition, and what about the fact that Nintendo DS is clearly the best-selling portable on the market? Hell, the Nintendo Ds is the best-selling game system of this new generation, period -- nothing stands up to it as competition. But just because Nintendo is winning, does that mean that Sony has lost? If there is room for three console game systems, certainly there's room for two portable game systems (especially two with such different approaches and gaming audiences.) Sales have tipped in Nintendo's favor, but those numbers aside, PlayStation Portable has continued to moves units in its second year at around the same rate as all three hyped-up next-gen console systems. (In fact, market analyst David Cole told Next-Gen.biz that DS and PSP could end up with a bigger install base together than the three next-gen consoles combined.) Sony said before the battle began (back when many expected the DS vs. PSP battle to go the other way) that this wasn't a fight over pieces of a single pie but instead a challenge for each system to earn its own. The figures and bets have changed, but the company line is the same: the future of the PlayStation Portable has little to do with competition and everything to do with what this PlayStation handheld system is able to accomplish as a gaming and entertainment unit.
PSP: Year Three
So, what is the future of PlayStation Portable? On the anniversary of the system's launch, IGN has talked to a number of the top minds and most experienced creators working with PlayStation Portable to ask that question. Sony calls the future of gaming the "Game 3.0" era, and when you read through what they've said, you will know how PlayStation Portable fits into that future.