The Sony PSP is one of my favorite portable devices, simply because it delivers a quality gaming experience on the go. Over the past year, Sony has been making slight improvements to the PSP, and it’s not hard to see where the trend is going…
Many portable “phones” today are really nothing more than an attempt to be the “everything to everyone” gadget. Today’s phones include a camera, video cam, microphone, speaker, touch screen, keyboard, wireless networking, headphones… everything that a computer has. And now cell phone vendors (*cough* iPhone *cough*) are trying to say that their gadgets are even full-blown gaming consoles. Unfortunately, many of these games are casual in nature, and really do not appeal to a “real” gamer.
Some of the updates to the PSP include Skype, microphone, and web camera (sold separately). Really all you need to make the PSP a full-blown phone/online gaming device is to add a keyboard and 3G. (a second analog stick wouldn’t hurt, either). The PSP already has Skype, so you only need a “data” plan with your device.
What if the PSP had a slide-out keyboard? The PS3 and Xbox 360 controllers have mini-keyboard attachments, so this should be the next big thing for the PSP. Or what if the gaming controls slid out from the sides?
I cannot bring myself to purchase one of today’s gadget phones. If money were no object, then I would have one, but the cost/benefit must be analyzed… is it worth $100 a month for a gadget that I would barely use? Sure it would be neat, but is it really worth it?
The “hard-core” gamer would be very happy with a true “gaming” phone… be it a PSP phone, or if vendors would produce real games for phones rather than shoving crapware down our throats.
The first thing that must happen is better hardware. Some cell phones come with 3d hardware (iPhone and the Google phone), but these really can’t compete with what the PSP can do, and there are many other shortcomings in the hardware department (read why PSP is better than iPhone).
The second thing for this to be a success are the games. For Sony… just keep doing what you’re doing. PSP games completely blow away any cheap-ass casual offering on the iPhone, and robust online games like Resistance: Retribution (reviewed here) puts nails in the coffin.
For Apple… well… you have a lot of catching up to do in the gaming department… Casual games are becoming a significant portion of the gaming market, but you won’t be considered serious until you have serious games.
Now is the time for Microsoft or Nintendo to throw down the gauntlet. Microsoft has the phone know-how (kindof), and Nintendo is the uncontended gaming leader.
The time is right for a “true” gaming phone. Who will get there first, and who will do it best?