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PSP Hacks and the Mainstream

CmdrTaco posted about 9 years ago | from the i'm-rolling-daily-will-saves-to-not-buy-one dept.

Sony 251

pasm writes "The BBC is running article about how "DIY software and hardware experts have been quick to embrace Sony's PlayStation Portable console." Today I have witnessed some colleagues playing a wireless racing game with imported ones in the office. It seems that this will be the gadget of the year for both gamers and programmers with a neat idea and time on their hands."

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251 comments

Hacks? (1, Funny)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 9 years ago | (#12166997)

PSP Hacks and the Mainstream

People have been hacking Paint Shop Pro for ages! Why is this suddenly a big news item? (j/k)

Re:Hacks? (1)

bryan986 (833912) | about 9 years ago | (#12167059)

But have they ported Paint Shop Pro to Playstation Portable? Porting to a portable...thats the only way to fly.

When will the PaintShopPro posts END!?!?!?! (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167249)

Mods, please, please, please, please, please, please, please stop mod'ing these Paint Shop Pro posts up, you're just encouraging this behaviour. I've learned how to deal with the other /. cliche's, this one however is just too obvious and stoopid to accept, please let it die a swift death.

Its the... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167017)

First Hack

Trouble Brewing? (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#12167018)

The developments are not sanctioned by Sony but the firm has not commented on the homebrew tools.

Yet...

So is this going to be another case where the developer of PSPIRC and other hackers have laid their hands on a PSP-DK (which will likely turn out completely unauthorized, etc.) and Sony will come down like a ton of bricks upon people? IIRC something like this has happened in the past. While I like the idea, you know Sony officially sanctions development for PS games, usually entering exclusive agreements, i.e. Sony provides DK, Developer agrees not to distribute DK, Developer creates game and turns over to Sony, Sony produces the carts and either sells them and splits the revenues or sells them back to the developer to do their own marketing (dunno if it works exactly like that anymore, but I know it was the business model.) So Sony holds ultimate control over what's released for their PS and PSP platforms.

I expect a big shoe to drop. It wouldn't be a good idea to go blathering your name and accomplishments all over the place, particularly to reporters. I expect Sony will make their displeasure known in good time and in no uncertain terms. A shame, but this is part of their plan to protect their investment.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167046)

But I thought Donkey Kong was a Nintendo game, not a Sony one. So confused...

Re:Trouble Brewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167098)

You're not funny. Stop trying.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (2, Insightful)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12167158)

So is this going to be another case where the developer of PSPIRC and other hackers have laid their hands on a PSP-DK (which will likely turn out completely unauthorized, etc.) and Sony will come down like a ton of bricks upon people?

If people know this, then why do they hack it? It is like having a law against speeding. I like to speed. I do it from time to time. But I HATE getting a ticket, having my insurace jump up, and being harrassed by the police. The only difference is Sony writes much bigger tickets and fines. I am assuming Sony can make a persons life a living hell if they wanted to.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (4, Insightful)

bfields (66644) | about 9 years ago | (#12167690)

If people know this, then why do they hack it? It is like having a law against speeding. I like to speed. I do it from time to time. But I HATE getting a ticket, having my insurace jump up, and being harrassed by the police.

The difference is that hacking the (PSP|XBox|whatever) is cooler than speeding. People probably disagree about the numbers, but most would agree that going too fast for conditions *should* be illegal. Whereas the opposite is probably true for hardware hacking. So if you get in trouble for hardware hacking, maybe you become a folk hero and help change some policy. If you get caught for speeding you probably just feel embarassed.

--Bruce Fields

Re:Aibo (4, Informative)

Superfreaker (581067) | about 9 years ago | (#12167202)

I *think* I recall hearing the same argument when the robotic dog thing came out from Sony. People were hacking it and Sony started shutting down sites. Then they realized the benefit of the 3rd party hacks and began releasing SDKs for the later versions of the wacky lil beast.

Re:Aibo (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#12167250)

I *think* I recall hearing the same argument when the robotic dog thing came out from Sony. People were hacking it and Sony started shutting down sites. Then they realized the benefit of the 3rd party hacks and began releasing SDKs for the later versions of the wacky lil beast.

Possibly Sony relented because the Aibo wasn't a platform for generating money through subsequent sales of software. Remember, PS and PSP are what are called Loss-Leaders. They real money is in selling the games, videos and other enhancements.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (5, Informative)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | about 9 years ago | (#12167206)

Two things:

1) The developments so far have all been browser based. No SKD necessary, just a copy of Wipeout Pure (and later, hopefully, Sony will release firmware with the browser built in).

2) Sony has twice released homebrew SDK's in the past. Yaroze! for the PS1 and the Linux development kit for the PS2. I would not be surprised if they did the same for the PSP (limited, of course, as the other two SDKs were).

In other words, the only problem I forsee Sony having with the "hacks" so far is the multigame "hack" (allowing multiple people to play a wireless game with only one copy of the game). The only thing I expect to happen with this is that developers will either embrace it (explicitly allow this to happen) or code their games so you can't do it.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167290)

In other words, the only problem I forsee Sony having with the "hacks" so far is the multigame "hack" (allowing multiple people to play a wireless game with only one copy of the game)
This really isn't much different than having four contollers on a PS2 and only one copy of the game.

Re:Trouble Brewing? (1, Informative)

gnuadam (612852) | about 9 years ago | (#12167283)

Why is this modded up. It's completely wrong. The irc "hack" is not executable code, it's just using a cgi script web page using wipeout pure's web browser.

Re:Trouble Brewing? NOT! (5, Insightful)

gasp (128583) | about 9 years ago | (#12167345)

Sheesh. This article is so light on details, and most of it's implications are just dead wrong. The only truthful part I read was where it admits near the end of the article that most of these "hacks" rely on the web browser in the game Wipeout Pure.

Don't get excited, folks, these "homebrew tools" are NOT code running on the PSP. This isn't a case of somebody stealing Sony SDK tools and writing new software for the PSP or even hacking existing software. This is simply a matter of changing DNS so that you san spoof the scea.com domain and direct an EXISTING browser to a different site and putting server-side tools for the PSP to access. There's nothing particularly amazing about using a web IRC client and portals and the like.

The article makes it sound like they have an IRC client running on the PSP, and an ebook reader. Nope. It's just the existing web browser and photo viewer, no coding changes on the PSP required. Really, there's no news here.

yeah...real fun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167020)

yawn, xbox has more capabilities

Re:yeah...real fun (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#12167045)

yawn, xbox has more capabilities

Yeah, but you'd look pretty stupid (and stooped) lugging one around, with your car battery, inverter, and monitor.

Re:yeah...real fun (3, Funny)

Auckerman (223266) | about 9 years ago | (#12167076)

Yeah, but my back gets sore carrying around my TV everywhere I go.

Re:yeah...real fun (0, Troll)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12167127)

Yeah, but my back gets sore carrying around my TV everywhere I go.

Do you really need more television??

I know this will feel stressful, but try going out for a walk. Leave your cell phone at home, leave your blackberry at home, don't take anything electric. Just use your God given legs and walk. Breath. Wave at the neighbors. Breath. You can do it!

Re:yeah...real fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167167)

I tried to "breath" for a while, until I realized that it isn't a verb, so I decided to breathe instead.

Re:yeah...real fun (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167234)

* ---- Joke

O
-|- --- You
/\

Re:yeah...real fun (1)

yotto (590067) | about 9 years ago | (#12167391)

I read slashdot in unthreaded mode and even /I/ knew what he was talking about. Hint: He doesn't actally carry a TV around with him everywhere he goes.

Re:yeah...real fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167085)

thats true, ive yet to see a psp being turned into a linux box ^_^

Re:yeah...real fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167095)

i.e, I'm a linux fanboi

Re:yeah...real fun (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167165)

yawn, xbox is just a stripped down pc.

Hacks gone Mainstream? (4, Interesting)

wlan0 (871397) | about 9 years ago | (#12167023)

I don't they ever will, since many people are too afraid that they will break them. I know some computer savvy people who are, even after having built several computers.

Re:Hacks gone Mainstream? (3, Funny)

bryan986 (833912) | about 9 years ago | (#12167034)

I added a high density spring to the PSP so my disks would shoot out 10 times as fast, instant weapon.

Re:Hacks gone Mainstream? (1)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12167186)

I don't they ever will, since many people are too afraid that they will break them. I know some computer savvy people who are, even after having built several computers.

Yeah, but a computer is like leggos. It is hard to screw up. Now if you wanted to open your hard drive up... that would be impressive.

Re:Hacks gone Mainstream? (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 9 years ago | (#12167380)

Leggos? You mean LEGO? Or, if you insist on being wrong, at least use "LEGOs"

Re:Hacks gone Mainstream? (2, Funny)

fugspit (632645) | about 9 years ago | (#12167574)

I think he meant l'eggos. Which, in case you did not know, are french waffles.

Re:Hacks gone Mainstream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167625)

No, his post makes sense -- I love pouring maple syrup on my leggos AND computer...

ones (-1, Offtopic)

imrec (461877) | about 9 years ago | (#12167025)

I don't see what the big deal with imported ones is.. so long as its a cold one. Whether a one is imported or not, makes no difference.

Re:ones (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167096)

Support American jobs. Buy domestic zeroes and ones.

PSP as Wifi detector? (5, Interesting)

crypto55 (864220) | about 9 years ago | (#12167036)

I know that there are a bunch of handheld devices available that can scan for wifi networks, but they cost ~$40 for a reasonable model that can detect network security settings. Has anyone heard of using a PSP for this task?

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (3, Funny)

kidgenius (704962) | about 9 years ago | (#12167062)

but they cost ~$40 for a reasonable model that can detect network security settings

If having a $249 WIFI detector is reasonable can I have what's in your piggy bank?

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (1)

crypto55 (864220) | about 9 years ago | (#12167125)

That wasn't my idea- if you have already purchased a PSP for it's gaming, music, or video capabilities, it would be nice to be able to exploit another feature. I'm not intending to buy a PSP, and haven't boughten a portable gaming device since the origonal game boy

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167415)

I haven't boughten any portable gaming devices recently either.

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (1)

Jose (15075) | about 9 years ago | (#12167064)

Thats a pretty good idea, I mean why spend $40 when you can spend 300+?!

(j/k)

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167081)

Gameboy Advance's can.

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167090)

PSP as a Wifi detector huh? Talk about using a sledgehammer to pound in a nail.

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167270)

That is one expensive ass wifi detector. Now if it could capture encrypted/unencrypted packets and store them to the memory card THAT would be something.

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167419)

but they cost ~$40
Sounds pretty cheap compared to the price of the PSP

Re:PSP as Wifi detector? (1)

SilentChris (452960) | about 9 years ago | (#12167680)

Actually, it's a very efficient WiFi detector. I did my first scan last night in my suburban home and found 4 nearby networks -- 2 more than I ever found on my various laptops. Granted, the signals were extremely low, but I was impressed that this handheld were able to find them at all (and my laptops couldn't).

That said, once you get a connection there's not much you can do with the current system. Unless you hack. :)

Imagine how many they'd sell... (3, Interesting)

havaloc (50551) | about 9 years ago | (#12167044)

...if the PSP was even more open. They could open up development, allowing downloads to memory stick permitting 3rd party games to be developed (think Palm) . I think this constant tendency of Sony shoving down our throats things like Memory Stick and ATRAC have really hurt them, instead of enhancing their bottom line like they think it would.

Before you say that allowing anyone to develop for the platform would hurt sales, I say to you that people still buy commercial games in droves.

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167094)

I think the reason is that they don't make much money--if any--from the sales of hardware. It may even be a losing proposition. So for them to basically donate these machines to the marketplace and never have anyone spend another dime on Sony Software/Accessories/Other Profitable Items ain't the best business model.

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167109)

They don't care about selling units, they care about selling games. There is no profit in selling the devices themself - the only reason they bother is they know they can make the money back on games sales. If they allowed 3rd party games they would lose their cash cow.

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (3, Interesting)

Stone316 (629009) | about 9 years ago | (#12167114)

Personally, I think Sony hit the nail on the head with the PSP allowing it to do other things like watch movies, etc.

Personally, while I think they are cool, i'm not going to buy one unless they open it up more. If i can record TV shows on my PC and then burn them on a UMD disc to watch later on the PSP (say i'm at the doctor, or waiting for the wife shopping, etc) then i'd definately pick on up. But i'm not going to go out and buy a ton of proprietary memory sticks and constantly have to be reformating it to watch a show.

There is a huge potential for the PSP but I don't think sony will take advantage of it. They have already said that their business practices have hurt them in the past... we can always hope they come around.

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (3, Interesting)

radish (98371) | about 9 years ago | (#12167362)

But i'm not going to go out and buy a ton of proprietary memory sticks

You have to buy exactly one memory stick. Which is not proprietary as the readers, devices and cards are manufactured by more than one company, just like (say) SecureDigital. It's just less popular, and right now, a bit more expensive.

MS is much better for ripped content than UMD, for one thing the battery life is better. For another, there are no plans for writable UMDs, and even if there were, the drives would certainly cost more than a MS.

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (2, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | about 9 years ago | (#12167154)

If you open memory sticks to random third parties, you've just nuked Sony's business plan of licensing developers and games. Why bother dealing with Sony when you don't have to? Just sell CDs with the games on them to consumers, and let them deal with getting them on memory sticks.

The current high price of the MS Duo makes this less likely to be an actual business plan, but if it ever goes down (and if the PSP is a success, that will happen), it could be a serious problem for Sony.

A _better_ plan would be Sony to freely distribute an SDK for making non-commercial products. You still get a third-party community, yet it can't be abused for circumventing Sony's licensing scheme.

-Erwos

Re:Imagine how many they'd sell... (4, Insightful)

CDarklock (869868) | about 9 years ago | (#12167246)

Sony's real concern is double-sided.

First, the reputation of a console can be seriously tarnished if it has a market glut of crappy games. They're worried that eight million bad developers will release eight million pieces of garbage, and people will be unable to find the good games without having to struggle through several bad ones.

Second... and probably more importantly... Sony makes a boatload of money off their developers right now, and if they open up development some of those developers will jump ship and go it alone. The little guys who have no infrastructure of their own will stay on, but the big boys will undoubtedly try to cut Sony out of the picture. That threatens to leave Sony with all their high-maintenance problem children, while the cash cows move on to greener pastures.

Publicly, Sony is more likely to concentrate on describing the first reason than the second.

Difference from PC? (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#12167319)

First, the reputation of a console can be seriously tarnished if it has a market glut of crappy games.

Has the glut of Win32 compatible games tarnished the reputation of the console called "PC running Windows XP"?

Sony makes a boatload of money off their developers right now

Even if I could start a development house, Sony still wouldn't sell me a license and a development kit. In general, console makers don't even want to talk to startups.

Remember the warning of the Dreamcast: (2, Insightful)

Upaut (670171) | about 9 years ago | (#12167429)

...if the PSP was even more open. They could open up development, allowing downloads to memory stick permitting 3rd party games to be developed (think Palm) . I think this constant tendency of Sony shoving down our throats things like Memory Stick and ATRAC have really hurt them, instead of enhancing their bottom line like they think it would.

Do you remember that the Dreamcast (Finest gaming platform next to xbox)? It was a most excellent system. It had great games. It spurred originality. Unfortunatly, one could run any pireted game they wanted, without even needing to open up the system. Sales on games plummeted. The system was killed, despite heavy sales of the consol in Europe, Japan, and the USA. Games are what make or break a system. If people can easily make functional ROMZ, then the system will die.

Programming SDK...? (3, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | about 9 years ago | (#12167057)

So is Sony going to release a programming SDK to the general public? And which programming languages are supported?

If Sony wants to make a deep impact against Nintendo, they should open up the PSP as wide as possible to "non-traditional" programmers. Especially considering how much the ding-dang-thing cost.

Programming for the PSP & Diversity in content (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167089)

I really wish they would release a SKD for the PSP, it would make way for more diversity in content for the PSP in terms of games and applications. Attempting to port Flight Simulator to PSP anybody?

Never gonna happen (1)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12167106)

So is Sony going to release a programming SDK to the general public? And which programming languages are supported? If Sony wants to make a deep impact against Nintendo, they should open up the PSP as wide as possible to "non-traditional" programmers. Especially considering how much the ding-dang-thing cost.

I am not 100% sure, but I think the way they make money is by granting licenses to people to program games for their machines. I know Nintendo did that, and only certain companies could make games. It is not something that a group of people could get together and say "we like this device, we want to make games for it".

Re:Never gonna happen (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167134)

It is not something that a group of people could get together and say "we like this device, we want to make games for it".
Regardless, people WILL do it, licensed or not, organized in a group or not. GBA pirates, Dreamcast hacks, NES/GB/Sega Genesis home brewed games are all examples.

Clarification: GBA homebrew != piracy (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#12167182)

GBA pirates, Dreamcast hacks, NES/GB/Sega Genesis home brewed games are all examples.

There also exist GBA homebrew games such as mine [pineight.com]. I hope you didn't intend a subtle slam against the gbadev community.

Re:Clarification: GBA homebrew != piracy (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167193)

GBA pirates, Dreamcast hacks, NES/GB/Sega Genesis home brewed games are all examples. There also exist GBA homebrew games such as mine. I hope you didn't intend a subtle slam against the gbadev community.
I didn't intend that at all, it just slipped my mind. I am learning ARM Assembler to program GBA games myself.

Re:Clarification: GBA homebrew != piracy (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167256)

"Just slipped m mind" as in that there are home brewed games for the GBA legally made, I mean. Of course the only legal trouble with home brewed games that could POTENTIALLY (if the companies make a fuss about home brewed games, that is) is about whether or not they are licensed.

Re:Programming SDK...? (1)

mypalmike (454265) | about 9 years ago | (#12167146)

The current hacks aren't people writing C and asm code for the thing. It's generally things like PC utility programs to resize jpegs, reformat video to mpeg4, converting text to jpeg for lack of a general text viewer, etc.

Re:Programming SDK...? (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167326)

The current hacks aren't people writing C and asm code for the thing. It's generally things like PC utility programs to resize jpegs, reformat video to mpeg4, converting text to jpeg for lack of a general text viewer, etc.
Granted this IS true to an extent, there ARE people programming in C/C++ and ASM hacks and home-brewed for certain systems, but the technology and skill/howto isn't quite thre with PS/PS2/PSP systems YET, but eventually it wil. Heck, now you can program SEGA Genesis games in C/C++ using a unlicensed C/C++ SDK.

Re:Programming SDK...? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 9 years ago | (#12167181)

Well, theres the upcoming PSP Adventure Maker (in Japan anyway) which Sony is supporting. Rumor is that there'll be freely downloadable kits for the PC to develop the games, which are then played on the client and PSP you buy (using the memory stick).

I doubt the RPGs created with this would suck any more than any other user-created content does.

Re:Programming SDK...? (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167218)

I doubt the RPGs created with this would suck any more than any other user-created content does.
Is this in the context of "Some home-brewed sucks, some home-brewed doesn't?

When hacks catch on: (1)

rob_squared (821479) | about 9 years ago | (#12167072)

it means that they're the right mixture of ease of use and utility. Just like when normal windows end users didn't want to phone microsoft they used a keygen that let them product activate. At least this seems more legal, or "less immoral." Whatever that means...

PSP needs a SD slot (3, Informative)

zardo (829127) | about 9 years ago | (#12167074)

One useful hack would be a sony memory stick to secure digital converter, I have 3 gigs of SD cards laying around I could be loading movies onto. The mpeg4 feature of the PSP is no use to me if I have to go out and buy a bunch of sony memory in order to do it, my 1GB SD card would be perfect (probably faster too).

Putting DVDs onto PSP (1)

vincecate (741268) | about 9 years ago | (#12167568)

You can rip DVDs onto the flash. With a 1 GB flash I can do 4 movies with reasonable quality compression or 8 with low quality. So not only can it entertain my 3.5 year old with games, but my 1.5 year old also with "Bing and Bong" movies.

I use the software at http://makayama.com/ [makayama.com] which sells for $35. As long as you have enough memory it works well enough.

How can Sony lose? (1, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 9 years ago | (#12167075)

First, permit the OpenSource-minded folks of the world to write applications for a closed platform. Don't discourage development; just guard existing copyrights assiduously.

Second, when the demand is high enough, bring lawsuits to make the (previously) free applications the IP of Sony. Voila! Instant FREE R&D.

Works for me!

Re:How can Sony lose? (1)

DesiVideoGamer (863325) | about 9 years ago | (#12167172)

Atari did this. They, along with other companies, caused the great video game crash of 1983 [answers.com]. However, we might see a different outcome this time since Open Source Software has a very different effect on markets than closed source.

This sounds great... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167093)

Now if only the two units I went through before giving up and returning my psp had 100% working screens. I'm sure I would of had great time.

PSP....A quick Question ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167111)

is it ok (kewl,LOL) to refer to the PSP as "pussp"??

PSP == puusp

Thanks!
DDR

Re:PSP....A quick Question ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167143)

You suck.

What Sony should do - but won't (5, Interesting)

Dark Paladin (116525) | about 9 years ago | (#12167157)

When it came down to the choice between getting a DS or a PSP now, the choice became the PSP. Granted, I'll get a DS later for other games that I'm interested in and the rumored Palm Pilot module - but it was the usefulness of the PSP *now* that interested me.

I've been using it to watch movies on planes and trains, which is more convienient than even watching it on my 12" powerbook. But I can see where more can be done.

With 512 MB RAM, there's plenty of space for both my saved games, little videos (2 hours of video is about 300 MB or so), and other apps. Where's a *real* web browser that could be hacked from Mozilla, or a mail reader program so I can check up on the go?

Evidently, you can have "games" that run off the memory stick directly (or so it tells me when I'm in the Game menu section an it looks at either the disk or the memory stick), so why not just make those applications?

I know, I could get a blackberry for some specific tags, but if Sony *really* wants the PSP to take off, they should release some sort of light development kit (either free or say $50). Let developers see what a portible wi-fi system with a good screen can run. Could Skype run on it? Maybe, maybe not - but let developers give it a shot.

With a large developer market that's not constrained with having to worry about having a large development start up (like those for the official PSP games), the PSP could become a choice machine for all sorts of things, which would drive attachment sales and, via a sort of "halo" effect, to PSP games. It would be a win-win for everyone.

But - Sony probably won't do it. Fear evidently keeps the managers in line - fear of this station. In this case, it's this gigantic Death Star circling around called "loss of control". Of all the things Sony fears, it's that Loss of Control. After all, if *they* can't control which applications get made for the system, what if someone makes money on Sony's device without Sony getting a cut. What if someone comes out with an iTunes client that can play protected AAC files and potentially take away money from Sony's ATRAC based store? What if monkeys come flying out of the asses of developers that Sony can't make money on! The horror!

Sony *could* make the PSP the device of choice that way. Right now, I like the basic hacks that have come out for it, but if the DS gets that Palm Pilot add-on (with extensible memory via a MMC chip or something), then it might swing me to the dual screened little player, since there are a lot of Palm apps out there I could potentially run (like my eBook reader) and a video client could probably run on the DS pretty well. It wouldn't look as good as on my DS, but if it's "good enough" for my train to/from work needs, then it will be an easy buy.

Sony has a chance here to break out. But I'm going to bet they won't take it because of their own fear.

Of course, this is just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Re:What Sony should do - but won't (1)

John Seminal (698722) | about 9 years ago | (#12167224)

With 512 MB RAM, there's plenty of space for both my saved games, little videos (2 hours of video is about 300 MB or so

DVD's are over 4 gigabytes for 2 hours, and many people will only buy DVD dual layers that has the 9+ gigabytes of space. What kind of quality will you get at 150 megs an hour. That is like a 1 minute clip at 2 megs. I have seen porn like that, and it is awfully fuzzy. ;)

Re:What Sony should do - but won't (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | about 9 years ago | (#12167298)

I meant "shrinking a 2 hour movie from the DVD to fit on the PSP is about 300 MB".

I'm not talking DVD on TV quality here - just for the little PSP screen. Ffmpegx has an interface just for that, and it works pretty well.

Re:What Sony should do - but won't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167310)


a) Typically, you're looking at ~600 - 800M for a 1.5-2 hour XviD (which is mpeg4).

b) The resolution on a PSP is less than half that of what movies typically get encoded at. So 300M for a 2 hour movie on a PSP is more than reasonable.

What's so bad about 240x136 pixels? (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#12167351)

That is like a 1 minute clip at 2 megs. I have seen porn like that, and it is awfully fuzzy. ;)

But for a sitcom or an anime, is 256 kbps for video+audio at 240x136 pixels (QPSP resolution) really that distracting?

Besides, erotic films are supposed to be fuzzy in order to hide the blemishes of the actors' skin. It's cheaper to blur the whole thing than to splurge on makeup ;-)

Re:What Sony should do - but won't (1)

radish (98371) | about 9 years ago | (#12167395)

I compress down to about 200-250mb/hour and the quality is superb, not quite as good as native UMD, but far better than any other handheld device I've ever used.

Usefulness of the DS now (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 9 years ago | (#12167288)

When it came down to the choice between getting a DS or a PSP now, the choice became the PSP. Granted, I'll get a DS later for other games that I'm interested in and the rumored Palm Pilot module - but it was the usefulness of the PSP *now* that interested me.

A lot of people underestimate the usefulness of the GBA and Nintendo DS now. Like the PSP, the GBA or Nintendo DS supports its own proprietary memory card format. A GBA memory card such as the Flash2Advance or the EFA-Linker greatly expands the capabilities of a GBA or Nintendo DS system:

  • Like the PSP, the GBA can play music, through the GBA GSM Player [pineight.com].
  • Unlike the PSP, which can't run games for any previous Sony platform, the GBA can run most NES games, many Game Boy monochrome games, and even some PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) games, in emulation [passagen.se].
  • Unlike the PSP, the GBA does not use digital signatures for programs stored on memory cards. Developers have created several homebrew games and made available to the public. I am one of those developers [pineight.com].

The only thing you're lacking is video, but there's another peripheral for that [movieadvance.com].

Re:Usefulness of the DS now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167523)

You can also get ebooks for GBA. e.g. Cory Doctorow's [craphound.com]

All of these applications are a bit hamstrung by running in GBA mode though - DS native versions would have a better screen and processor. I hope DS hacking takes off like it did on GBA.

My thoughts (5, Informative)

SilentChris (452960) | about 9 years ago | (#12167211)

I got my PSP 2 days ago, and got a chance to spend some time late last night going over it. I still don't have any games, so my thoughts are tempered by what I can get out of the hardware. On the whole I'm pretty impressed.

The good stuff:

* Engineering-wise, it's got every piece of hardware you can think of. 802.11, IR, analog stick, USB, memory card -- there really is a "kitchen sink" approach and I like exploring the device to find new stuff. I'm really tempted to take the thing apart. :)
* The screen is phenomenial. I really think this'll be the screen that all portables will aspire to. If Apple ever makes a video iPod, this is the screen to use. I watched Spider Man 2 last night and it looked fantastic.
* I've been "pleasantly surprised" by some extras. For example, Sony packages a wired remote and headphones in the box (something Apple charges an arm and a leg for). The battery life has been better than I expected: after about 120 minutes last night of watching the movie it was only down 20%. The interface is excellent. The USB port is great because Windows sees the device as just another USB drive. System files are stored on the memory card, so they should be easy to hack. The device makes a great Wi-Fi finder (it found 4 networks in my home, and gave a percentage of their strength.

Stuff I don't care for:

* The front of the chassis is well designed and looks beautiful -- the back looks like it was done by a totally different designer. In particular, it feels flimsy. The discs are inserted in a tray mechanism that pops out, similar to a video recorder. I'm going to be careful with mine, but I can easily imagine a kid dropping and breaking it the first day.
* I'm not sold on the media (UMD - Universal Media Discs). They're essentially really tiny DVDs stored in a cartridge, similar to when CDs first came out. Space wise they're fine, as it really looks like you're watching a DVD, but the cartridge looks fragile. In particular, they look like optical disk versions of classic floppies -- without the protective flap that gets pulled away. In other words, it's fairly easy to scratch the disc.
* Certain aspects of the system are gimped. You have 802.11 but no web browser: the system only checks for new firmware (no official one anyway; someone's already hacked together a simple browser -- look through various articles). Video needs to be in a very specific format to play off a memory card: MPEG4, 29.97 fps, exact resolution (the system is much more forgiving playing MP3s and photos). The analog stick could also use a little work.

I'll have a better idea tonight when I get the games (finally), but so far I likes what I sees.

Re:My thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167412)

Your gripes are pretty similar to mine.

I have had one of these since release date and really like the layout of the GUI and the over all look and feel of the device.

I would agree that the back leaves a bit to be desired. The UMD tray feels cheap and I can forsee it being a failure point.

One this I would recommend is getting a screen protector. They are about $5 and will save the beautiful display from nicks and scratches.

My biggest gripe is that this thing should have been bundled with a web browser at release. It really is a waste that it doesn't have one.

Single UMD multiplayer (2, Interesting)

PxM (855264) | about 9 years ago | (#12167217)

Other "hacks" include ... playing multiplayer games with only one copy of the game.
That hack involves creating the WiFi game (I've done this with Tony Hawk) on one PSP, moving the UMD into another PSP, having that other person join that WiFi game, switching the UMD back to the original PSP as the original player starts the session (it asks you if you want to quit when you take out the UMD) and then the second player starts the session. It's not as good of a trick as the DS's single game/ multiplayer setup, but it gets the job done if you want to spend the time.

--
Want a free Nintendo DS, GC, PS2, Xbox. [freegamingsystems.com] (you only need 4 referrals)
Wired article as proof [wired.com]

Good for the PSP, but it's not the only one. (2, Insightful)

kerrle (810808) | about 9 years ago | (#12167239)

It's great any time a device pulls a following like this and shows some unintended utility, but the PSP is hardly alone.

The DS also has a growing development community, and most likely, it'll be the more fruitful, at least in the short term. For one, we can already run our own code on the DS - and who knows when that'll be possible on the PSP?

I hope cool things do turn up on the PSP, but if you're interested in DS hacking, check out these:

This is just hype. (2, Insightful)

gnuadam (612852) | about 9 years ago | (#12167260)

All the "hacks" released to date ( that I'm aware of ... please please tell me if there are others ) depend on the presence of the webbrowser in wipeout pure. Once you hijack the dns, it's yours. Everything else has depended on this. The browser, the IRC, etc. There is no 3rd party dev kit; no one has run a homebrew executable on the psp that I'm aware of.

Even stuff the stuff to sync the iApps to the psp have just made images to be viewed in the builtin picture viewer.

I *wish* very strongly to write for the platform that way you would a pda. It screams for it. Alas, not possible now.

One final thought ... the "hacked" web browser can do javascript, according to the rumors. Maybe something there?

Wow, a whole new "Sony" section - icon and all (1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | about 9 years ago | (#12167273)

I guess thats a sign of things to come: endless PSP slashvertisements.

Is there anything in this article that hasn't been posted 3 or 4 times here already?

Why bother with PSP when GP32 is open already! (3, Interesting)

ptcheezer (677747) | about 9 years ago | (#12167353)

The Gamepark 32 [slashdot.org] is already a fantastic little portable gaming device and you don't have to worry about unauthorized uses of SDKs and whatnot -it's all open!

Why open PSP devkits are a bad idea (3, Insightful)

Zigg (64962) | about 9 years ago | (#12167363)

Opening the PSP too much could shoot Sony in the foot.

It's well-accepted that at the price they're selling the PSP at, Sony's losing on every unit. Games and UMD movies are the route to profitability.

Now I'm not denying the attractive power of the extra features, provided they don't comprise an overpowering value proposition. Viewing media on a Memory Stick isn't worth $250 to anyone with half a brain, so Sony's pretty safe in assuming that a raft of people aren't going to bleeding them to death buying PSPs and never buying a game or a UMD movie.

Now, throw in open dev kits. Suddenly, the included 32MB stick can hold a web browser as well as games and software obtained freely off the Internet (or cheaply) that Sony doesn't see a dime off from. In fact, it may even serve to draw attention away from the games Sony does make money on in those people who would have bought them otherwise.

So. Explain to me how this idea is a good thing for Sony?

Re:Why open PSP devkits are a bad idea (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | about 9 years ago | (#12167485)

Suddenly, the included 32MB stick can hold a web browser as well as games and software obtained freely off the Internet (or cheaply) that Sony doesn't see a dime off from.
IF sony didn't make the software (IE: Not pirated, legal) and IF (IF, this may not be true) the games/software are anywhere like the diversity/availability of hme brewed GB/GBA/Genesis games, what is the problem? This circulates the "I made something, so pay me every time somebody makes something to add to it" attitude that fails. Do you pay M$ every time you make a PC game or somebody makes a Windows XP compatable game?
In fact, it may even serve to draw attention away from the games Sony does make money on in those people who would have bought them otherwise.
That is a big may, wouldn't you say? I mean, yeah if they are good enough in comparison then Sony will have to worry, but if not, I din't see the need for concern. And I would also go to say it isn't wise to assume a certain person would buy {Game X} if an alternative game, or even pirated versions of the game were freely available, I mean, I download certain games, and buy copies of them after, some people just download games, some people just buy games, it really is a crapshoot, you never know exaqctly what will happen.

Outsourced employees? (3, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 9 years ago | (#12167404)

"Today I have witnessed some colleagues playing a wireless racing game with imported ones in the office."
Sometimes you import your colleagues?

BE VERY VERY CAREFUL - Remember Bleem! (3, Insightful)

buccaneer9 (848820) | about 9 years ago | (#12167610)

Three or four years ago, Bleem! developed an emulator which allowed PlayStation games to be played on PC's. The founders of Bleem! figured this was going to be a win-win for Sony - they don't have to sell their hardware at a loss, but receive licensing revenue from the game. Sony did not see it that way, and sued Bleem! out of existence.

Further, note that Bleem! actually won all of the court cases I am aware of. However, the cost of defending themselves in court put them out of business.

this FP for GGNA... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12167628)

provide sodas, [gay-sex-aacess.3om]? as fittingly
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