My brief history with the PSP and why the PS Vita is frustrating
- Share by Email
- Launch Price: My lady didn’t pay $250, but with slim PSPs going for $200 in bundles, the initial price tag bordered ridiculous and insane. Especially when considering the need to rebuild one’s gaming library with digital copies.
- Missing Titles: Many great games on UMD weren’t readily available in the PlayStation store, continuing Sony’s trend of releasing new products that consumers can’t fully enjoy out of the box.
- Expensive Titles: If the $39.99 price point was defined for shipping costs, packaging, and printing, then why keep it the same for digital downloads? I received no physical manual or hard plastic case with my download. Prices needed slashing.
- VOLUME: This has actually been a PSP issue since before the Go model. The headphone audio quality is a whisper.
- Illogical PSP Go Cradle: The cradle was supposed to let me charge the PSP while I watched movies at my old job, but an illogical design disallowed me from plugging my headphones into the device while it charged. Which leads me to my next point…
- PSP Go Bluetooth Remote: I ordered this Bluetooth remote to hear my movies and now Play-Asia won’t leave me the fuck alone. Their newsletter’s unsubscribe link doesn’t work and they keep breaking through my Spam filter. This is Sony’s fault.
This is merely a drop in the ocean but, after careful deliberation, I’ve decided to delay my purchase of Sony’s new PS Vita. Yes, that feeling is the earth rumbling beneath your feet following this thunderous declaration.
But, to be clear, “delay” means that I intend to wait until the device and its software are fully recognized and established as a worthy investment. I will jump on the bandwagon after it gains a substantial amount of steam, and pretend I was always there.
Now, I’m fully aware of and enticed by the PS Vita’s specs and alleged handheld-gaming innovations. It’s also ranking very high in my sleek and sexy category. So high, in fact, that I’m looking forward to “Saturday Night Live” using the Vita to make technology hump. But I’m still hesitant. Long-time consumers know that this wouldn’t be the first time Sony’s impressed with a tech sheet for an underwhelming final product.
The PlayStation 3 disappointed for approximately two years after its release (and an absurd launch price), and the original PlayStation Portable blazed the trail before it.
It’s been nearly seven years since Sony released their first PSP and I still tell war stories while pointing to my wallet’s scars from that fateful, hefty, and impulsive purchase. Sony promised a quality gaming experience in 2005 with their PSP, but left me with only a learning experience.
The most basic PS Vita is launching at the same $249 that Sony slapped on the original PSP years ago. But if you were among the early-adopting
suckers buyers, then you probably remember how quickly your $249 investment escalated. For me, two new games at $40 a piece and a 1GB Pro Duo Memory Stick, priced at an absurd $129, vacuumed approximately $500 from my wallet in one afternoon.
Funny enough, a 1GB Pro Duo stick is about $5 now on Amazon. The value on technological memory might depreciate quickly and lose its value, but my human memory does not. It’s ripe, baby!
That original PSP is now an ancient paperweight. “Slim” PSP models with new colors and themes for anticipated titles, like God of War and Star Wars versions, kept hitting the market — making my original PSP look like a clunky, impossible-to-carry Zack Morris-esque cell phone.
After a little more than a year with the fat boy, I traded the PSP into Gamestop with a few games for a significant loss. I don’t remember the exact total credited to me, but I’m pretty sure it barely covered the cost of two new console games. That broke my heart.
My decision to part with the PSP happened because I wasn’t actually playing games on the damn thing. The library was dreadful and anyone arguing to the contrary is a liar. God of War wasn’t a thing yet, we were all making due with the Grand Theft Auto titles, and people weren’t pretending to really love Patapon yet, either. It was really just low-quality Madden games for me.
Ultimately, the PSP became an mp3 and video player until I accepted the iPod as a more efficient alternative. Plus, no more need to donate blood for a bigger Pro Duo chip with Apple.
In the end, that was $500 down the drain in a little more than a year.
Then the PSP Go came along, slimmer and fancier with a slightly larger slide-up screen. I was drinking Sony’s Kool-Aid and, about two years ago, convinced the lady in my life to secure a Go for me. She loves me lots.
It was the smaller build and digital-download marketplace that lured me in, because I hated the clunky UMDs. Also, I’m convinced all media will go by way of the digital download in my lifetime so I felt like I was investing in the future. Sadly, the PSP Go was a colossal failure.
And that’s for a lot of reasons, actually. Here are the most significant to me:
I still use it, though. My lady really enjoys Michael Jackson: The Experience. I think it needed Dirty Diana.
With all that said, and my conscious efforts to be an educated consumer (and responsible adult, too, I guess), I’m still pretty damn stupid. Advertisements are made for people like me because I’m impressionable, impulsive, and frivolous.
Despite my experiences with Sony’s handheld shortcomings, all I need to see is something kinda cool and unique on the new PS Vita — beyond the advertised intents for usage — and I’ll be all in before I reasonably should. Just like my friend Shadow lured me into the PSP with talk of emulators and remote PS3 capabilities, the PS Vita will probably have an easy shot at my heart in a few months.
But I don’t see it being that easy this time around.
Once again, Sony is up to their same old tricks, selling overpriced “Starter Kits” to help us protect and carry our $250 toys from getting scratched. And worse yet, they’re still forcing proprietary memory units on us. Like the Pro Duo of old and the M2 with the Go, Sony has a special 32GB memory stick for the Vita.
This means we can’t use any extra 8GB MicroSD card sitting around the house. No, we must purchase an 8GB PS Vita Memory Card. It all feels too familiar. That $249 for the Wi-Fi only PS Vita becomes $270 once you grab a memory card. But are 8 whole gigabytes really sufficient with games consuming around 1-2GBs? Of course not. Throw two games, two movies, and some playlists on your Vita and you’re full. The 32GB memory card will run you $100.
It’s going to take a whole lot more than watered-down experiences with new Uncharted and Call of Duty titles to chip away the ice on my heart. Because when those games get old, and the online multiplayer experience proves even remotely unstable, I know I’ll be right back on line at Gamestop with a PS Vita and my fingers crossed for reasonable buyback value.
Let’s talk again when the slimmer, faster, and multicolored $200 bundles drop around the holidays.