Monday, January 24, 2011

Editorial: What Will PSP 2 Need to Succeed?

You may have heard the recent rumors that Sony is getting ready to unveil their take on next generation portable gaming soon and it looks like they actually might at an event on January 27. It is hard to say whether PSP 2 even has a chance at succeeding. The first PSP did not have the success Sony was expecting and it is far behind its competitors, the Nintendo DS and iPod Touch. Even Nintendo 3DS will do fairly well. Everyone but Sony has been a massive hit with the kids and tweens demographics. The PSP was somewhat successful but it has been a massive flop in its later year due to poor support from third parties and no high quality games. In 2010, games franchises like God of War, Metal Gear Sold, and Kingdom Hearts arrive but the audience is not there. The PSP Go was a huge failure because very few people understood digital distribution and connecting the PSP to Wi-Fi in order to get games. At least Apple lets you sync the iPod's games to iTunes which is a very easy process. Not only that but you were restricted to the PlayStation Network store when a lot of great games might have only been available on UMD which even as the PSP exists, it has turned into an obsolete format. What will Sony have to do in order to make PSP 2 successful? It's a huge gamble for them because there is barely any room for them in the portable gaming market with such strong competitors. I have made a couple of lists of what I expect the PSP 2 to have and what it needs to do in order to be successful. Some things do overlap.

Things I expect the PSP 2 to have:

1. Second analog stick: this was easily the biggest problem with the original PSP and with a second stick, there is a huge opportunity for portable FPS games to play well. This alone may help bring amazing games to PSP 2.

2. HD Display: The original PSP had a huge 4" widescreen display which looks beautiful. I expect the PSP 2's screen to maybe the around the same size but much high resolution, at least 720p HD. There are also rumors of it having a glasses free 3D display which Sony has already put on their 3D Bloggie and camcorder which go as big as 3.5". While it still could be possible, I really doubt it since Sony probably started making PSP 2 a while back and its probably too late to go back to the drawing board to add this.

3. Full PSN Experience: While PSP may just have the PlayStation Store, I expect PSP 2 to also have your PSN friends list and have trophy support for all games. This would be an easy and excellent addition to PSP 2 that would increase its use.

4. Impressive Technology: The graphics processor and the chips inside this thing will no doubt be super powerful, probably enough to compete with Xbox 360 or PS3 considering you are looking at the game on a smaller screen.

I expect PSP 2 to release in Spring 2012 if announced on Thursday and it would probably be between $300 and $400.

What will PSP 2 need in order to be successful?:

1. The first four items on the previous list

2. Multimedia Functions: Watching movies in HD and listening to music could be popular features if they are easy to use. Watching a movie on a PSP 2 is probably a much better experience than on a 3DS screen (in 2D) or iPod Touch screen.

3. Apps: Apps have made the iPod Touch successful and Sony can definitely think of a few great things and make great partnerships to put things like Facebook or Twitter on the PSP 2 as a native app.

4. Finding a core demographic: Kids and gamers love the 3DS because Nintendo makes great software and its in 3D and everyone loves Apple's iPod Touch because its easy to use, its an amazing multimedia device, and the games are cheap. PSP 2 needs to find a core demographic in order to succeed. There need to be a niche that's not getting their fill. Maybe PSP 2 can appeal to a more adult audience but adults don't wanna be seen at work or on the train with video game systems in their pockets (at least that's the thought in America). Portable game systems are still widely considered kids' stuff not meant for adults but this is not true. PSP 2 needs to find a specific market interested in it in order to succeed.

5. Cheap games: iPod Touch is so successful because you can get quality titles for only $.99. This is insane! Sony needs to cut into that market. They started with PSP minis but these games are so overpriced. Minis need to go down in price from $7 to $15 per game to only between $.99 and $4.99. Those are the only prices Minis should be allowed to be. This alone would really help PSP 2.

6. High quality software lineup: This is easily the simplest, most important point of all. If there are amazing games people want, people will buy them along with the system. Sony needs huge third party support as well as getting its first party studios to make amazing games on PSP 2. Literally it could succeed on quality titles alone. So long as the games are there and they are good, people will buy the system.
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