When the PSP launched more than four years ago, I was the first in line to put down the cash for it. Thanks to that gorgeous widescreen display and a slick Metal Gear spin-off series – one that I still love to this day, by the way – I was a pretty happy customer. The PSP’s library was a little pricier and less varied compared to its dual screen competitor’s, but I was pretty content with my purchase.
Fast forward to the present. Roughly 30 UMDs later, I’m frustrated with Sony’s recent hardware decisions. Specifically, while I’m in love with the concept of downloadable software, the exclusion of any UMD drive or method of transferring my games has ensured that I will likely never pick up the new PSP Go. And unfortunately, while much of the blogosphere and gaming press had hoped for some sort of conversion solution, Sony said last month that this was no longer happening for the time being. Bummer.
Now, ordinarily, I would just let this Go (hyuck hyuck), but I’ve actually gotten a little jealous after seeing a few Gos in the wild during my subway commute to work. Memory sticks are for chumps! I want built-in memory and a usable d-pad. (I have the oldest model, by the way.) So in the interest of being *ahem* a consumer whore, I offer some potential suggestions, as well as the actual feasibility of these suggestions.
1) Trade-in Kiosks
The Plan: From what I understand, this was originally solution that Sony was tossing around internally. It would have been a pain in the butt scanning in all those little discs, but at least I’d come home a little lighter.
Feasible?: Not at all. I don’t even know why I ever thought this would be a good idea. First of all, as the linked Kotaku article suggests, retailers are not going to embrace a system that directly cuts into their sales. Maybe Gamestop could charge some sort of licensing fee, but this would still be a major financial headache. PSP games might not fly off the shelves, but I don’t think retailers would want to deal with huge lines and piles of plastic either.
2) An External UMD Drive
The Plan: This is a slight variation on #1, but Sony would eliminate a number of hurdles. Most importantly, this drive could be sold directly to consumers online, eliminating the cranky Gamestop middleman. And I know that some of our listeners always celebrate sticking it to that particular man. Plus, collectors would still be able to hold onto their boxes and instruction manuals, or sell them on eBay to make back a little cash. Actually…
Feasible?: …Then you need to start worrying about sharing games. Unless you’re able to tag these UMDs so that they can only be copied a set number of times, you’re going to have friends trading back and forth. The PS3’s shared accounts suggest that Sony may not be so draconian regarding this matter – at least not like Nintendo, which only lets Wii users play their virtual console titles on the console for which it was originally downloaded. Still, something to consider.
3) Online Credits
The Plan: Now, I preface this by admitting that I have no idea if there is a software or hardware patch that can even make this possible. But I look at Xbox 360’s “burn to the harddrive” feature – introduced in an update last year – and I wonder if Sony could take it one step further by letting users download entire games to the internal memory. Perhaps you could register purchased UMD games on the Playstation Store using a USB cable and a friend’s old PSP. Doesn’t sound too difficult to me.
Feasible?: No idea, but I would imagine if it were this simple, it may have already been done. Reading this over again, it also sounds like a pain in the butt, too.
It will be interesting to see if any of these ideas take hold in the coming year. I’m really hoping that this isn’t one of those promises that’s never fulfilled. Sony probably has enough problems to deal with this holiday, but if they want to keep me as an enthusiastic PSP supporter,* they’ll need to help me out here.
*Still planning to pick up Prinny this week, regardless. I cannot turn down tough-as-nails platforming and masochistic penguins.
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