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Piracy and the PSP

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the arrr-ye-hearties dept.

PlayStation (Games) 272

In a lengthy interview with Gamasutra about the state of the Playstation brand in 2009, Sony's senior vice president of marketing, Peter Dille, made some interesting comments about how piracy has affected their popular portable console, the PSP. He said, "we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP," a platform that was slow to start anyway due to the lack of early interest from game developers. Dille mentions that while they can fight piracy with hardware upgrades in new versions, that doesn't do anything to help the roughly 50 million PSPs already out there. He goes on to address other aspects of the PlayStation line, including complaints about the pricing and exclusivity.

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272 comments

Emulation (5, Funny)

numbware (691928) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682587)

I rarely use my PSP to actually play PSP games anymore. I usually end up playing SNES or Gameboy games through emulation. That or watching porn (at least I'm honest).

Re:Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682829)

So instead of pirating PSP games, you pirate SNES and Gameboy games? Unless you're one of the few who has a console copier and legally dumps all of your own ROMs.

Re:Emulation (2)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682973)

I download all my ROMs, but I actually own the games.

Close enough. ;)

Re:Emulation (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683071)

Maybe someone should clue Sony in to the fact that all the games they have "released" for the PSP fell into one of three categories:

#1 - Crappy "rpg" games that can't be played for anything less than a 2-hour stretch (Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core, Monster Hunter, Wild Arms XF aka Wild Arms Tactics, etc).

#2 - Re-releases of games people already owned a copy of for original Playstation.

#3 - UTTER CRAP (lookin' at you, Lumines, you cheapass soulless Columns-alike).

If there'd been some truly impressive, unique, and compelling games for the PSP, it would have driven sales. If they'd made the thing to function correctly, it would have driven sales.

Instead, compare PSP vs DS to Sega Nomad vs Game Boy. What do we have in each generation? Nintendo's had a lesser screen, less processing power, less cute/pretty visuals, but more battery life and kick-ass, fun to play games. Thus, Nintendo won.

Piracy, like communism, is just a red herring [uselessmoviequotes.com] Sony is using to try to distract people from the fact that they're a bunch of half-wits who would no longer know a good game if someone shoved it up their whiny asses.

Re:Emulation (3, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683117)

Too true.

"Piracy" may screw with game sales, but will still have a number of the units sold (you can't play the game if you don't have the console).

PSP, on the other hand, sells like shit because there are no good games for it, UMD's suck battery life like no tomorrow (if I load a game image to the memstick I get 25% or more battery life ), and the very idea of buying a UMD movie instead of just encoding the DVD down for my memstick is fucking stupid.

I've had multiple friends ask me whether they should buy a DS or a PSP in the last year. Without hesitation, I pointed them to the DS. My PSP hasn't even been charged in the last six months, for chrissake.

Re:Emulation (2, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683401)

There's a cost barrier on UMD movies where it eventually makes sense.

Unfortunately for Sony that barrier is at about 5 bucks.

Re:Emulation (3, Interesting)

thesolo (131008) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683501)

Everything the parent said is 100% true. It's a slick piece of hardware, but after nearly 8 months of not using it, I finally just sold mine to a friend for his kids to use.

I used my PSP while riding the train to & from work every day, about 35 minutes in each direction. As a result, I wound up playing Lumines more than anything else because every other game I tried was a complete joke, or, in the case of GTA, too convoluted & involved for easy pick-up & put-down gameplay. If I can't turn the game off at my stop without losing all of my progress, then it's not worth playing.

And yeah, UMD movies, why on earth would I want them!? So I can rewatch half of my DVD collection in "teeny weeny eyestrain-o-vision"? (Thanks, Yahtzee.) Fuck that.

Re:Emulation (5, Informative)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683865)

the psp like the ds has a 'suspend' feature. just push the power switch for a split second up and release and the system goes into suspend and will start up again right where you left off once you do it again. Works in every game no need to get to a save point.

Re:Emulation (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683545)

PSP, on the other hand, sells like shit because there are no good games for it

This, and the hardware is just unappealing. I'm definitely in their core market, the 21-30 bachelor with tons of cash to burn, but

a) I already own a nintendo DS and

b) who gives a flip about a silly single (non-touch) screen gaming device these days?
 
I remember watching an episode of good eats at quakecon when they first came out (06?), for the novelty of it, but even then the speakers weren't loud enough for the three of us to hear over the din. The PSP is just a black slab of video game console, and like you said, theres nothing really eye opening about the PSP that would make you pick it over the DS except maybe, you already own a DS and feel the need to own both? I think that's really the market sony is after at this point. I honestly hadn't even thought about the PSP in probably 18 months until this article hit slashdot. My 3 year old DS Lite works just fine, thanks.

Re:Emulation (3, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683605)

The real reason is that the game industry is over produced, and past games compete with new products. How many games are released each year? Who can keep up with them all? We can't buy every game that is released. Then there's the fact that most of them aren't worth the $60 pricetag let alone the fact you can rent them for a fraction of the price or buy them used and get the same enjoyment out of them.

Truth be told the game market is suffering from over production.

Re:Emulation (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683971)

From what I see the hardware sells pretty well though of course not on the same level as the DS. The PSP's problem is in its low software sales. On the other hand handheld systems tend to have much lower tie-in ratios than home consoles in general and the PSP is marketed as a multimedia device so quite a few purchases can probably be attributed to people buying the thing as a movie or music player that also happens to play games (or they find out that home console games are designed in a way not suitable for portable play and the PSP gets mostly home console games...). The DS isn't exactly free from piracy either and we don't see Nintendo complain about that thing.

Re:Emulation (2, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683375)

Monster Hunter is a bad example. You get max 50 minutes to finish any quest -- if you don't finish it by then, you fail it. some quests are shorter, and the "training school" quests are just a few minutes.

The main failing as I see it is the lack of interesting games.
Most of the games are just jap-ports, and while the nipponophile fanbois are dedicated and vociferous, there aren't that many of them. What's left after that can be summarized in two letters: EA. And if you're not into American sports or urban driving in the dark, there's pretty much nothing left.

The device itself has power for a handheld, and it shouldn't be hard to make good games for it. Consider that Jurassic Park was modeled and rendered on SGI Indigo workstations with a MIPS R4000 CPU running at 90 MHz, and that the PSP has two MIPS R4000 CPUs, each running at up to 333 MHz...

Re:Emulation (4, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683417)

Consider that Jurassic Park was modeled and rendered on SGI Indigo workstations with a MIPS R4000 CPU running at 90 MHz, and that the PSP has two MIPS R4000 CPUs, each running at up to 333 MHz...

Jurassic Park was not rendered in *real time*. It could have been rendered on a 286 running at 8mhz if you were to wait long enough...

Re:Emulation (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683571)

How much ram can a 286 address? That's an 8 bit processor, right? from wikipedia:

Having a 24-bit address bus, the 286 was able to address up to 16 MB of RAM...As well, there was a performance penalty involved in accessing extended memory from real mode, as noted below.

How many square inches of T-Rex skin do you think 16mb is? Not including the wire frame mesh, or course :)

Re:Emulation (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683731)

Textures can be disk-resident for software rendering. With caching it won't make much difference to rendering time (scan-line rendering rendering has very coherent memory access patterns - not random access).

Re:Emulation (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#27684155)

I thought it could address 16MB or RAM, not of diskspace?
Or does rendering a T-Rex have to be an atomic operation?

Re:Emulation (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683639)

Thus the words "modeled and".

Anyhow, it was just putting the power of the PSP into perspective. If you want another perspective, a typical SGI Indy was capable of running web, proxy, mail and DNS servers in the background while playing Doom 3 in the foreground.

For a handheld, the hardware just rocks, and isn't what holds the device back. The lack of support from Sony North America (SCEA) is the big problem -- they have been extraordinary recalcitrant and not supported games developers, but wanted a small slice of a guaranteed income while doing nothing, instead of a bigger slice which would require some active work. Leeching off the Japanese work and investments is only going to go so far, because the typical Western gamer just won't dosh out $50 for the latest jap-rpg port or old converted PS1 game.
Western games designed specifically for the PSP are few and far between, and that's where Sony should look for the real reason, instead of blaming piracy.

Re:Emulation (3, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683491)

Kudos for the "Clue" reference.

I was considering buying a PSP actually. The piracy aspect entered into the equation. Then I looked at the games available and realised it wasn't worth it.

Yes, Sony, I wouldn't even PIRATE your games.

About the only game I'd like is Football Manager. I like the idea of a portable version of that. But it's not worth shelling out $200 on a console for just for one title. And I literally found no other game across the entire race that I was interested in.

Re:Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683517)

Sega Nomad as the competitor to the Gameboy? The Nomad was a straight-up portable Genesis. It came late in the life of the Genesis and was never much of anything, let alone a serious competitor to the Gameboy.

You're probably thinking of the Game Gear. That was Sega's 8-bit competitor to the Gameboy. It was actually the Sega Master System hardware in a portable form, and could play those games too with a cheap connector.

Sega had some other weird portables, like the CDX. It was a Genesis with a Sega CD in a single unit, and no screen. It was designed to be convenient for hauling around to different televisions or for use in cars.

Re:Emulation (2, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683749)

So, to which category do God of War: Chains of Olympus and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops belong?

Yes, the PSP has its fair share of shitty games, but so does the DS and every other console in existence, portable or not. And when it comes to fun games, both have plenty of good ones, despite what the fanboys of either may say. The problem is tackling Nintendo in the portable arena is much like going against WoW in the MMORPG arena: inertia's a bitch, specially if you're a new player in the market.

Re:Emulation (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683433)

I do the same thing. Even in the protective caddies, the disks get damaged.

What is up with disk manufacture recently? I recently paid full price for one of the few remaining copies of Windows XP at my local computer store. (I'm a Linux guy myself but my kids need their PC games). The price was insanely expensive. I tried installing it and kept getting disk failures. I thought it might be my CD/DVD drive but it wouldn't work on another box, either. You'd think Microsoft would have some quality control on their disks, especially for the huge price I was paying.

So instead, I downloaded an, ahem, shared copy on the Internet. Worked like a charm when I burned it to my own disk. I don't feel guilty because I bought the damn thing, full price, but I was surprised because the last time I bought an OS on a disk was back in the Windows 98 days and that CD was rock solid and thick. Same thing with my Win 2K OEM disk - it was thick and solid, although it scratched eaily. But this XP disk was flimsy and you could just about see through it.

C'mon, Mickeysoft! If you're gonna charge $300 for an OS, at least have it printed on a solid CD.

I know this is off-topic, but actually, not really. Crappy products and service by companies will always lead to their customers looking for another way.

Re:Emulation (2)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683041)

PSP Game Library: You know it's bad when your console has rampant piracy... but only of other manufacturers' games!

Re:Emulation (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683239)

legally dumps all of your own ROMs.

has that been upheld as fair use in a court of law?

Re:Emulation (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683765)

legally dumps all of your own ROMs.

has that been upheld as fair use in a court of law?

I think more meaningful questions would be,

has this been challenged as fair use in a court of law?

or

could this be challenged under the DMCA's circumvention clause?

If I can make a copy of a videotape, or copy my CD onto my cassette, then there's no fair use obstacle (of which I know) to dumping a cartridge ROM.

I'm not familiar enough with ROM dumping to know whether the process would qualify as "circumvention", but I feel moderately comfortable saying that the claim is plausible enough to be heard in court.

(IANAL, etc.)

Re:Emulation (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683807)

I'll remind you of that next time you try to thaw a cube of monsanto ice...
(kind of joking here, but there are countries who allow format-shifting, you know...)

Re:Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683101)

Friend bought a PSP via ebay and it was shipped with some pr0n on the mem card.

Messaged the seller to thank him for the "bonus material". Received a message back that he was happy the "extras" were appreciated and that a DS he sold in a similar condition was not as well received... ;)

PSP... Portable Source for Pr0n.

Re:Emulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683497)

Friend bought a PSP via ebay and it was shipped with some pr0n on the mem card.

Messaged the seller to thank him for the "bonus material". Received a message back that he was happy the "extras" were appreciated and that a DS he sold in a similar condition was not as well received... ;)

PSP... Portable Source for Pr0n.

He's lucky that eBay allowed the sale. They've been known to kill DS sales with flashcarts, especially those that list large numbers of "bonuses" (the nature of which will be confirmed through out-of-band communications, Arrrrrr). As well they should. You should download your pirate games and pr0n yourself, or get them with your flashcart from your local Captain Eyepatch VAP (value-added-plunderer) who can ensure you've got the latest firmware and will save you the trouble of getting your machine raped and pillaged by all the exploit code on dodgy pirate sites out there.

Geeks know how to keep safe on line, for the most part, and can wander the seedier districts relatively safely. Mums and dads who mostly use the net for email and banking should stay the hell away from the dodgier parts, for their own safety. I wouldn't trust the pop-up ads on download sites to *always* be safe, and there's no way in hell I'd start seeding or downloading that stuff P2P because it's only a matter of time before the Big N starts tracking that kind of thing like the music industry does.

Re:Emulation (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683623)

Pirates are like totally the foam of the earth! The only solution to computer piracy is that everyone get sentenced to one week as an indentured servant for each day they have had a pirated sony game/app. That way a wave of thousands upon thousands of indentured servants will fuel Sony's game mill and thus provide their dozens of legitimate customers with decent low price games

Poor excuse (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682593)

Piracy is rampant on the DS too, and there's tons of money being made there.

Re:Poor excuse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682689)

Piracy is probably the main reason the PSP hardware sells at all.

Re:Poor excuse (2, Insightful)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682793)

I don't know how much a PSP costs to make but I think the days of hardware manufacturers subsidising their consoles must be on the way out.

When there's a significant amount of piracy it means you are not only subsidising the pirates but have to charge your actual game-buying customers more (or pay developers less) to try and recoup that money.

I think Nintendo have a sensible idea in selling reasonable hardware at a reasonable profit.

Re:Poor excuse (0, Flamebait)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683615)

I think the days of bleeding edge CPUs are over for consoles. The cell was an interesting design, but a failure in the marketplace outside of fanbois. The Xbox and Gamecube/Wii are examples that you can throw a PPC (or 3, in microsoft's case) plus whatever the cutting edge GPU technology is at the time at the problem and have a functional console. The rapidly shrinking cost of processors ill probably keep the cost at $300 for the next decade or so. Besides, subsidizing the first 100,000 units isn't a big deal when you plan on ultimately selling 20 million of them over the lifespan of the design. I think even sony is making money on consoles now. Nintendo was able to take half a step back from bleeding edge tech and make a profit immediately.

Re:Poor excuse (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683833)

illegal copies of games (or electronic media in general) is fought in the wrong way by the copyright owners and distributors:
instead of making life much harsher for those who legally obtain them (loan from a friend or the local library, purchase and return from different stores in rotation, finding abandoned copies on the underground, ...) they should simply lower the price to an acceptable level.
I know that what I'm going to say "targets" a different "market" but when a single console game costs as much as a family dinner out or a family night out at the cinema, please keep don't buying them, so the industry will feel even more hurt by this digital piracy and put more DRM and bullprice into it.
seriously kids, when was the last time that you read a (non-school) book ?

Re:Poor excuse (2, Insightful)

stastuffis (632932) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682851)

Piracy is rampant on the DS too, and there's tons of money being made there.

Agreed. Buy a flash cart, a microSD card and you're off to the piracy races for the DS. Much less complicated than PSP modding even though that is relatively simple.

It boils down to a few things: price, game selection and allure of the hardware.

It automatically failed on price. Remember, when its price dropped the PSP received a decent boost in sales. Unfortunately, due to their sparse selection of quality games, I don't think it held much interest.

The launch of the DS was stronger. The DS Lite reinvigorated and popularized the console. Also, it provided an interesting way to play games. Now games could be made that actually interested mom and pop (read: Brain Age). The PSP stuck with hardcore technological advantage and fell on its face. Not to mention the 'nub' joystick is a pain to get used to or the disparity in battery life.

Sony has no one to blame but themselves, but honestly, they've done relatively well in an arena that Nintendo absolutely slaughters.

Re:Poor excuse (2, Interesting)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683223)

Funny how the PlayStation was the most pirated console of its time, yet it still beat the n64 which I'd assume was a real pain to pirate for. Now the DS is pirate to hell, and the psp is losing, oh how the tables have turned.

Re:Poor excuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683489)

PSP owners tend toward the 18-30 year old male demographic, and many of them are "hardcore" gamers. Piracy is second nature to them.

The DS is overwhelmingly popular with kids and casual gamers, two groups who (generally) wouldn't even know where to start with the piracy.

Of course plenty of DS owners are 18-30 males as well, and piracy IS rampant on the DS, but-- well, I think you see where I'm going with this.

poor excuse indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682685)

personally, The only reason I even own a PSP is the "piracy" functionality it offers.

people need to get off this whole copyright system in general. Times have changed, they always will change... It is just a matter of coming up with a new "system" that meets "pirates" and copyright holders on a middle ground.

Don't ask me for suggestions, I have no great ideas.... yet

Of course it's piracy's fault (2, Insightful)

Dotren (1449427) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682701)

It can't have anything to do with the quality of the media right?

Granted, I've never been much of a Playstation person, normally I tend to enjoy more of Nintendo's lineups, but I can't recall the last time I read about a PSP game that I had even the slightest interest in.

Putting that aside for a moment, do they actually have data to support this or are they just using piracy as an excuse to explain low sales numbers?

Re:Of course it's piracy's fault (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682721)

What probably happened is they picked a number for how much money they wanted to make and when they didn't make it blamed it on piracy.

Re:Of course it's piracy's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682735)

My kid was asking for a DS, and I was hoping to get something that would do video too, so I looked at the PSP. The _only_ game it had to play was Lego Star Wars.
What's that? This $150 handheld has a shitty port of the last version? Hello Nintendo!

Re:Of course it's piracy's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682789)

The DS can play video too, though not natively (not sure of the new DSi's capabilities).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_DS_storage_devices

Also has an added bonus of being able to pirate NDS games :)

Physical media, too (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683009)

Spinning optical discs + portable player = disaster.

Does anyone know if there's a way, beyond piracy, to play a PSP game off a flash card of some sort?

Re:Physical media, too (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683397)

Why is it a disaster?

I get decent battery life (6 hrs), which is pretty impressive considering the screen, 3d hardware, etc. Better than some laptops, with a battery WAY smaller.

I'll gladly take 6 hr battery life and a decent amount of cheap optical storage for media over ROM based storage and an hour or two more battery life any day.

The PSP has a "UMD cache" feature that you can turn on that will reduce the disc access.

Re:Physical media, too (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683659)

The PSP has a "UMD cache" feature that you can turn on that will reduce the disc access.

Unless, of course, you're running homebrew to run pirated games, in which case the extra installed stuff has already eaten up the RAM that would have been used for caching...

Re:Of course it's piracy's fault (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683077)

What's really funny (I was thinking about this above), is that I get better gameplay from an old Game Boy (Happy 20th Anniversary) than I ever have from a PSP...

That explains everything! (1)

mikfire (68619) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682723)

And here I had been thinking that it was because there are no games, the controls suck and the load times are outrageous.

Re:That explains everything! (1)

gokwyjibo (1465255) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682821)

And don't forget it's horrible battery life. I use mine infrequently and every time I go to play something that battery's dead and needs to be recharged. Unlike my NDS, that thing's battery keeps going like the Energizer Bunny.
I think I'm gonna get rid of my PSP just because there's nothing good for it. There was good slew of games when the thing first launched but nothing as of late.

Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682727)

... as if that won't also get cracked. lmfao.

I call it the "Nerd Cold War". Company X is getting products pirated and hires nerds to come up with countermeasures... Piracy scene nerds then whack away at it for a little longer, maybe even a whole month, and then crack it and everything is back to where it was... Company X adds new stupid idea, Piracy Nerds step up and destroy it.... AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

30 Million Cannabis users and the US thinks they are doing something about it by making it illegal. Man will do what he f****** wants.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27682755)

Yeah and how does this all fit in with the PlayStation 3 STILL uncracked after two years on the market?

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682885)

Whats to crack? The PS3 comes with a generally open hardware platform, allows you to upgrade the HDD without voiding the warranty, and you can install alternate OSs without a modchip.

Sony made it so people don't even care to because pretty much everything people do with modded consoles is made available.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683089)

Not really. You can upgrade the HDD; but the alternate OS install function is mostly a farce. Without access to the GPU, and stuck under a hypervisor, PS3 "otheros" is a cheap way to play with linux on cell, and nothing else.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683323)

Sony made it so people don't even care to because pretty much everything people do with modded consoles is made available.

Except pirate games... and now play PS2 games.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683553)

It's not worth the effort. With the exception of just a few exclusives, all the games worth playing on the PS3 are also on the 360 or PC.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682795)

Man will do what he f****** wants.

You can say "fucking" here. Fake cursing is pretty silly in a forum that doesn't censor.

Re:Lol.. fight piracy with hardware upgrades... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683467)

Perhaps his employer censors and he'd like to keep his job.

By the way if you don't think slashdot censors try writing a medium length post full of obscenity. The tolerance is pretty high but the filter is there (or at least was last time I checked which admittedly was some time ago). If you're not an angry foul mouthed fool, and you're not quoting one and adding your own obscenities you'll probably never encounter the filter.

Read this on Kotaku earlier... (1)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682745)

... and it actually reminded me of the fact I had a PSP. Sad but true. The remake of Final Fantasy Tactics was about the only reason I got one (that and I didn't have to pay for it). Had a few decent games I actually wanted came out I might have bought more than the 4 or 5 games I had at one point for the system.

Piracy is only one problem the system has, lack of a decent library is the other. Seriously, if a few more decent games had come out on the system I might not have forgotten I had one!

Re:Read this on Kotaku earlier... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683027)

I'm in that boat too. The only other games I played on the PSP that weren't remakes of Final Fantasy games I beat to death years ago in high school were Crisis Core and Jeanne d'Arc. My PSP has been collecting dust for some time now and it's sad because it's not a bad piece of hardware as far as handheld consoles go.

Remake is almost identical to FFT (1)

Technomancer (51963) | more than 4 years ago | (#27684127)

Down to crappy rescaled graphics.
I actually bought it and it plays just the same as my PS1 FFT which works just fine under emulator on PSP. So there I have paid twice for FFT ;-) I find FFTA on GBA Micro much more fun though.

Now what is cool on PSP is Patapon and Loco Roco.

Also the simple fix for stupid UMD and battery life is to run all the games from MS.

Also, Soul Edge (Sould Blade) is an awesome 15 minutes at a time game. (Again, PS1 game).

Scapegoat (0, Troll)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682751)

I really hate it when people use piracy as a scapegoat. If what you make is good you ~will~ make money. Seriously, to take a product that's not great and say 'it's piracys fault!!!11' is just deluding yourself so you're bound to make the same mistakes as last time, only with more DRM if/when you take another stab at the market.

Re:Scapegoat (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682779)

If what you make is good you ~will~ make money.

Not if a large enough percentage of your user base pirates already. There simply won't be enough people that -do- buy.

If anything, the growing attitude of "don't buy it, get this firwmare patch and download it here instead!" will hasten the death of systems like the PSP. It'll take a while, but eventually even good games will fail.

Re:Scapegoat (2, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682859)

Not if a large enough percentage of your user base pirates already.

You're right. If 50 million people suddenly start using piracy solely as a way of not spending money on the PSP, they won't make money.

If anything, the growing attitude of "don't buy it, get this firwmare patch and download it here instead!" will hasten the death of systems like the PSP. It'll take a while, but eventually even good games will fail.

When PC gaming dies and Nintendo no longer sells ROMs on the Wii, I'll be happy to entertain this thought. Right now, niether history nor reality are backing this assumption up.

Re:Scapegoat (1)

Grave (8234) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682883)

Define "large enough percentage".

The PSP is failing not because of piracy, but because there are very, very few games coming out for it. There are hundreds of games made for the DS every year, and maybe a couple dozen for the PSP.

Re:Scapegoat (4, Informative)

cliffski (65094) | more than 4 years ago | (#27684031)

I'm a game dev. The consensus among people I know who make games for hand-helds is that the PSP isn't worth developing for because of piracy.

So whatever the people here think, one thing is true. Piracy is killing the PSP. Nobody makes games for a platform when they know the vast majority of the buyers will pay zero.

I know slashdot readers like to stomp and flame and complain about this, but the people you need to whine at are the people hacking PSP games, not game developers who have bills to pay just like everyone else.

Re:Scapegoat (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683167)

The way you head off that attitude is to, at the very least, provide as compelling an experience as the pirates.

For example: Until very recently, I pirated games, not because I didn't want to spend the money, but because I didn't have the time [slashdot.org]. Piracy simply gave me a better experience, even when you completely ignore the price.

And yes, once piracy is entrenched -- once you've made it easy to not feel bad about piracy, and actively driven large numbers of people to piracy (Spore was widely boycotted, yet was one of the most pirated games ever), there's a lot of those people it'll be difficult to get back.

But adding more DRM only vindicates the pirates (or their rationalization). It certainly isn't going to get you any paying customers back -- if it's "successful", many of them will simply switch to games which are more easily pirated. That's not more money for you, that's less free advertising.

This is one place you have to use the carrot, not the stick. Provide things that make people want to buy your product. I've seen it happen -- Steam, for example. We used to just set sv_lan 1 at LAN parties, thus allowing everyone to install Counter-Strike and play it in "offline mode" on the local server. But gradually, we started to shift towards pressuring people to just buy the game -- it's only $20, and that way, everyone has a proper steam ID, we can admin the server much more easily, we can hook it up to the Internet and allow random Internet gamers to join our LAN game...

Then we go home, and (finally!) the Friends List works, so I can just IM someone and invite them into a game. Add to that autoupdates, and as many installs as we want (just re-download the game)... factor in that most of the games are multiplayer, and most of their servers do hook into Steam to authenticate players, and it starts to make a lot of sense for people to just drop the $20 or so to buy a game.

Re:Scapegoat (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683299)

Give me a frickin' manual worth shit!

Give me an on-line account/multiplayer/community!

DON'T make my life harder for having purchased the game. As stated many times on here (by myself previously, too), all DRM does is fuck over your PAYING customers. History has shown that no protection scheme is invulnerable. Spend the money on online/printed content instead, and I'll gladly pay for it.

Re:Scapegoat (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683359)

Forcing game companies to compete with pirates who are effectively free to break all sorts of laws is a bad idea.

Also, lots of times pirates are free to distribute trojans, since their victims aren't likely to incriminate themselves for copyright infringement.

In fact, warez have been a proven vector for malware.

I think that game companies should go hard after pirates, provided of course they have a damn lot better aim than the slipshod steamroller that is the RIAA.

Having said that, I concurrently believe that

1. The legal system should be loser pays to discourage slipshod lawsuits.

        Seriously, this would completely ICE the RIAA's campaign. Once people could start getting refunds for legal expenses they never should have been forced to incur or settle to avoid, then they will start fighting back, and as the money never gets spent permanently, the EFF and others could have a legal defense fund that doesn't exhaust itself.

Re:Scapegoat (1)

Lulfas (1140109) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682815)

They've sold over 50 million units. They've made plenty of money on the system. As much as I dislike it, he's probably right. I only own a PSP for the piracy stuff on it (and the emulation, which is technically piracy of someone else's stuff).

Re:Scapegoat (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682951)

Disclaimer: I own a psp with a library of legal games (about 6 or 7). No bootlegs of *PSP* games on it.

Problem i see with the PSP is the shortage of actual software I want for the platform.

I recently hacked mine for the following purposes:

  • homebrew
  • MAME / emulators
  • running my collection of old (original) PSX games via the converter

If they provide software i'm interested in for mobile gaming, I will (and have) purchased it. But more often than not, I walk out of a shop empty handed or with a game for another platform.

The PSP hardware is great. Good battery, awesome screen, decent audio, etc. As a portable video player, its great. As a console (in my opinion) it is lacking appropriate games. Mobile versions of the same stuff i have on PS2/PC/etc is not really what I'm after.

Flash beats UMD (5, Insightful)

lamadude (1270542) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682773)

The fact that pirated PSP games run faster and use less battery probably didn't help either. (since they run from flash memory rather than the clumsy UMD discs)

Re:Flash beats UMD (2)

bazald (886779) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682989)

Also, you don't have to pay exorbitant shipping fees to get games that they never bothered to release in your country, despite having localized it for your language. (Or do Americans generally have difficulty understanding the Queen's English?)

Re:Flash beats UMD (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683445)

No, but a great deal of American's do have difficulty speaking coherent English of any type.

(well, now that I think of it, so do many of the British)

Re:Flash beats UMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683567)

Queen's English? That fact that you still have a queen speaks volumes about joining the modern age. More to the point, yeah, English is different on this side of the Atlantic. Don't like it? Too bad, should have sent more Redcoats.

Re:Flash beats UMD (1, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683953)

Just an FYI:

Pecos is a Navajo word. Most Americans can't agree on how to pronounce it because the Navajo use vowel sounds that don't exist in English.

My user name is Pecosdave because like Pecos Bill (well, he was a Texas immigrant, but never mind that) I'm from the Pecos Valley, in Texas. My ancestors fought and died so anonymous coward asshats like you don't call us British anymore.

Re:Flash beats UMD (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683447)

I have no idea what you're getting at here. Most games are first released in the North America after Japan, so it would stand to reason that it would be in American English (Read: correct English) first.

Thus, the question should be: "Or do Brits generally have difficulty understanding PROPER English, or do they require the requisite addition of superfluous letters) since more often than not, games are more likely to be released in the US and not in Europe than the inverse occuring.

-Fartnog Buttstinkle

Re:Flash beats UMD (1)

Kaboom13 (235759) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683211)

Don't forget you can carry around a bunch of games with 1 memory stick, plus media and music, emulators, etc. The real value in the psp was it could do a lot more then just games. Sony's retarded restrictions to try to promote their formats, media and agenda make a non-hacked psp look like a worthless pile of crap next to a hacked one, even if you never intend to pirate a game. If they wanted to make the psp a runaway success, they should have allowed homebrew from the start, and sold games online to be downloaded to a (dirt-cheap) standard sd card. Instead they tried to push the abortion that is umd (tiny optical disks in a portable player? really?) and the memory stick format. Nevermind you can buy an sd card with 4x the capacity for the same price, from a reputable company (thus avoiding the dirt-slow counterfeit problem Memory Sticks have) Sony has to push their dead on arrival proprietary format. The iPhone store pretty much proves if you combine bored users with wifi access and a store offering inexpensive games and apps they can have right away, its pretty much a license to print money. It's hard to make an argument for why you should buy instead of pirate when even ignoring the monetary component, the piracy experience is better in every possible way.

Re:Flash beats UMD (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683429)

not in the, "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU IN MY BAG?!" benchmark. Otherwise, pretty true. The only problem is that the cost of stamping a UMD is still marginally cheaper than shipping out spare memory cards and online sales have the problem of, "oh shit, my memory card/hard drive/etc just ate itself, what now?" factor. WiiWare, XBLA and PSN have proven that online sales can work on consoles, there are still other hurdles to jump through.

Still few games (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682937)

The console sells great, but there is still very few good games... Too many people got PSPs gathering dust, it's not the early interest that is lacking, but the current interest. I don't play my game console because i have no games to play onit... even if i can pirate games, it won'T matter because there is no games to pirate...

Nah, it's the games (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 4 years ago | (#27682997)

The PSP was/is *truly* a "portable Playstation". Which is neat, technically, but the games just don't lend themselves to a portable gaming system.

The DS is probably the single greatest portable gaming hardware so far. The touch screen is just the perfect input devices for the kind of goofy, simple, easy-to-play games that most people want on a system that they'll likely only play for 20 minutes at a time. Basically, the DS has lots of games that appeal to the casual player. Much like the Wii.

You have to almost feel bad for Sony. If the PSP had come out at the same time as the Gameboy Advance, it probably would've done a lot better. Maybe even dominated the market. But then Nintendo came and changed the rules with the DS, and the PSP just seems like more of the same. Again, reminds me of the Wii.

Keep in mind that I'm no Nintendo fanboy (in fact, I don't even own a Wii or DS, though I have played both quite a bit). You simply can't deny that Nintendo has really hit the market perfectly these last few years.

Re:Nah, it's the games (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683431)

I have a PSP and a DS. For exactly the same reasons I prefer my PSP.

I don't like futzing with a touch screen. Granted most of the games I play don't require it. The New Super Mario Brothers on uses it for reserved power ups and changing worlds (as far as I'm concerned) so I accept that, the rest of the games I use such as the Final Fantasy games allow me to just use the cross pad as I always have. I actively avoid games that require me to use the stylus.

The PSP on the other hand is a Solid Old Skool design. I love it. No touch screen to think about, a huge beautiful display, and the perfect control layout to play my old SNES games on.

Not to mention Crush is the coolest puzzle game ever.

yeah, those lucky bastards at nintendo (2, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683059)

with their nintendo DS wich is absolutely undefeated in terms of piracy.

Many things are hurting the PSP... (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683143)

First, it's the frigging number of games it has - barely any. Take a look at the shelf space the PSP has, and it's very little compared to its competiror, the DS. Heck, I've seen more shelf space dedicated to PSP hardware and PSP accessories, than PSP games.

Secondly, the lack of releases - you can almost count the number of games the PSP will have coming out in the year ahead on fingers and toes. New release lists on the PSP are remarkably skimpy. Heck, I'm sure there are more games for the PSP released every month for the first few years than a year nowadays. Retail space for the PSP has been shrinking - even the PS2 gets more shelf space!

Third, the pirates offered a better product. Games load quickly off memory stick, and save battery life as well. And heck, you can dump your games yourself easily nowadays (insert UMD into PSP, enable USB on the UMD drive, and a little .iso file is ready for you to copy off - you don't see the contents of the disk, just the ISO file).

The competition, the Nintendo DS, is far easier to pirate for (a memory cart is direct-mapped for 128MB, without bankswitching... thus most games are under 128MB in size, while PSP games can be 1.8GB or so). But it has a lot of games, tons more released practically daily, and many that sell for years. Enough so that practically everyone can find a set of games they'll like.

Sony basically abandoned the PSP once they released the PS3. They could've released firmware updates that let you dump UMD disks to a memory stick (locked to that console with DRM blah blah blah and requiring the original UMD, a la the Xbox360), but no, we get crap feature updates. About the biggest thing in the firmware update was... Skype.

Re:Many things are hurting the PSP... (1)

Trintech (1137007) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683627)

Third, the pirates offered a better product. Games load quickly off memory stick, and save battery life as well. And heck, you can dump your games yourself easily nowadays (insert UMD into PSP, enable USB on the UMD drive, and a little .iso file is ready for you to copy off - you don't see the contents of the disk, just the ISO file).

To be fair, I think Sony does understand this point because they are releasing Patapon 2 only for download from the online store and the PSP2 is rumored not to have a UMD drive. [onelastcontinue.com]

Re:Many things are hurting the PSP... (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 4 years ago | (#27684167)

DS cards are not direct mapped, you read them sequentially, and store the data into main RAM. The GBA was directly mapped and executed off the cartridge.

Piracy Helps, someday they will notice that. (1)

cadeon (977561) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683179)

If anything, the piracy has HELPED PSP sales. The reason there's 50m units is because they can be opened to do what you want.

I bought mine mostly to use it as essentially a 'portable dvd player' for my daughter. Handbrake your Disney DVDs, put them on a big Memory Stick, hit play, lock the keys, and she's happy for the car ride.

The fact that it came with that much openness got me to buy the device. Soon after I was using it to talk to my PS3 at home. Later I was on the PSN with it. And then Disgaea came out for it and I bought that, and a few other games. Now they are all on the aforementioned Memory Stick, because they run better from there.

If piracy is hurting Sony, then they need to charge more for the hardware. If piracy is hurting the developers, they need to learn to make games worth buying, and make them cheaper.

People still buy good music.

Re:Piracy Helps, someday they will notice that. (3, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 4 years ago | (#27684063)

Its funny how pirates always claim all the games they have cracked are not worth buying.

Its easy to assign something as worthless when you took it for free isn't it?

Nobody is making psp games because people with an overblown sense of self-entitlement are pirating them as a matter of routine.
Why would any sane dev just make a game that nobody would buy? do you work for free too?

Restrictions reduce its value to consumers (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683253)

I own one, and I would use it more if I pirated games. As it is, I put movies on it (which I rip) for long trips, and the wife plays Puzzle Quest while breast-feeding the baby.

It's a great little device. I'd use it a lot more if I could use SCUMM or other emulation. (I know I can, but I can't be bothered to get the things set up). The restrictions around the PSP make me use it less.

real problem (1)

scott666 (1008567) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683281)

The problem with the PSP is the huge lack of software available at any given time. If you walk in to best buy there's a section for NDS games as big as the PS2 or Wii sections but the PSP games are all in one little 4 foot area. I own a DS and love it (along with my R4). I'd like a PSP for the media features, but there's so little software worth owning for it I can't justify the cost.

My PSP is hacked. (5, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683399)

I have a 16GB Pro Duo in it. I have a bunch of PS1 and PSP games on that memory stick, I'm using compression but there's plenty of room left.

I own every PSP and PS1 game on there. Seriously, I have the disk or UMD for every game on there. Why did I hack my PSP? Because I don't want to carry the fucking UMD's around! I tried that at first, UMD's don't take abuse nearly as well as Game Boy Cartridges did. My Street Fighter Alpha 3 UMD has the clear window separated from the rest of the UMD casing. (that particular game has its own smaller Pro Duo - it gets confused by large ones) I can snap it back out and use it, I'm considering a drop of super glue but the memory stick is sort of nullifying my desire to do that.

I guess you can call me "an honest pirate" since I'm not actually pirating anything, but I use all the pirate utils.

My take on Sony - I was criticizing them for ignoring their customers. PSP 1000 people hacked it to do things Sony never intended, so they came out with a 2000 that was (initially) harder to hack. People hacked it, so they came out with a 3000 that's incredibly difficult to hack. The customer spoke up and said "I want my PSP to do these things" and Sony, instead of making it happen, said no.

If the PSP 4000 rumors are correct, it shows Sony is beginning to listen. The 4000 supposedly doesn't have a UMD drive and will be pure on board storage.

That's a step in the right direction, but don't kill physical media just yet.

I like physical media. I have 10GB worth of music on my iPhone - I ripped all 10GB off of CD's that are in display racks in my living room. All of my PSP and PS1 games on my PSP have disk either in my office closet or in a CD binder near my entry (Hurricane Ike killed the original cases/manuals)

Please don't go pure online distribution only. I don't trust it. We've already seen a couple of DRM laden distribution companies go belly up. We don't need you "Pulling a Sony" when you're tired of us.

To be fair, I bought pirate hardware for my Game Boy Advanced - cheap Chinese crap was broke when it arrived so I never actually got to use it. My reasons were the same - not to pirate, but to not carry the carts around. A coworker is doing this with his DS, I think I'm going to do this with my DS also.

I feel more comfortable knowing if my whole backpack gets stolen I lose my PSP and my DS, but when it comes down to it, I only have to replace the systems (and the memory cards) not the systems and every damn game I had for them.

Between two major theft incidents (both inside of locked personal area's) and hurricane Ike I've lost lots of media. I know how much it sucks to replace it all. The less at risk I put my media the happier I am. I like the idea of digital distribution since there's no media or hardware to risk, I just don't trust the providers to offer it to me for the rest of my life any time I want it.

Re:My PSP is hacked. (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683695)

You're not alone, I modchipped my Wii and I bought Mario Galaxy and as well as other games.

Truth be told once you have "open access" to a console you can't really go back to having it locked down.

Game Starvation! (3, Interesting)

Amigori (177092) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683415)

As a gamer, I've had my eye on a PSP for a while now, mainly for the piracy/hack factor. Its a nice little system that would be great for emulation and PSP games. But what is killing this system, other than the DS, is the Game Starvation. All one needs to do is compare the review lists at IGN (or your favorite game site). Games come out weekly for the DS, in bulk. Games come out in spurts for the PSP, a few here and there, sometimes months apart.

  • DS = Lots of games, great and shovelware, ports, remakes, and originals
  • PSP = Few games, mostly PSOne ports or remakes, not much original content outside of LocoRoco and Patapon. It doesn't help that the devs half-ass most of the ports/remakes.

Plus when you go to the store, the PSP section always looks like a clearance section. Few games, broken/off displays, lots of empty spaces signifying "better days," and the same few crap games they had last time you stopped in.

Games sell systems. And "50 million" PSP gamers should be large enough to sell new, quality content to. Lack of games and a great system to do emulation on equals high piracy numbers. And lack of software sales is DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE to available content. Just put together a Virtual Console like Nintendo with legal emulation and see how your software sales do.

Sony, want to turn your PSP software sales around? Then 1) sell the damn thing to developers! Your claimed user base should be more than enough to attract some good shops with interesting ideas and IP. 2) Hire new merchandise reps. Your store displays suck. 3) Keep publishing older games and keep them in stock. To sell more games they have to be available. 4) Stop trying to make every game a port or offshoot of a PS2/PS3 game.

Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683729)

"we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales" I am really surprised they send so many PSP games by sea that piracy is actually a problem for them.

Wait.. (2)

plan10 (1539185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683795)

Wasn't piracy the claimed reason for studios ditching the PC? Now they are whinging about consoles too? This is just getting old.

HomeBrew! (4, Insightful)

strange_tractor (414986) | more than 4 years ago | (#27683819)

I bought my PSP in order to have something to do on my daily commute, I thought I'd play games on it, I played through God Of War, and a few others, and started to realise that nothing came close to GoW in terms of fun, so it languished as a portable mp3 and aac player for a while

I ended up sticking hacked firwmare on it just to see what all the fuss was about, and now I can use it to play just about any music and low enough spec video, as an ebook reader and a GPS unit, hasen't seen a game for probably 6 months.

If Sony had this sort of stuff built in, it'd probably sell a bit better.

PSP user (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27683967)

Remember that custom firmwares actually allow playing legal copies of new games. Back when I bought my PSP (mostly for development and emulators etc.) I decided that I'd buy only a few initial releases (of which Mercury was clearly the best) and no more, as back then it was already obvious that new games started "requiring" newer firmwares (although in most cases this is nothing more than comparing version string in game againist one that PSP reports back). Back then 1.5 was, thanks to its vulnerabilities, the de facto standard for homebrew. If you upgraded, you lost all that, along with ability to downgrade.

Since then came the custom firmwares, and thanks to those, I can still walk to a shop, buy a new game, and play it on my PSP without sacrificing the whole REASON I bought the console in the first place, and since then my original games collection has increased of 3 1.5 compatible games to thirty-something. Guess I'm still a bad guy.

There were also a few comments about digital distribution. Sony is doing also that wrong. On the release day, I could have bought a digital copy of Resistance Retribution from playstation store for 40 euros (probably cheaper from the US store), which lacks plastic case, printed covers and manual, physical discs, transportation cost, and all other costs exclusive to physical copies. It also lacks resale-value (except when sold with the console). Instead of that I bought the UMD "Special Edition" version for 24 euros.ÂCould someone please give a sensible explanation for that price difference?

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