The PSP2/PSP-4000 rumors are not going away. It seems like almost daily there is another source spilling more information about the now mythical device. Apparently a sliding screen and the removal of a UMD drive is the ticket to great publicity. This leaves some unanswered questions. What about the current PSP sales? Will this be enough to bring 3rd party developers and publishers back to the console? Finally, what does this mean for all of us that already own a PSP?
First things first, what is going to happen to the current PSP sales? Sony has denied a PSP 2 being in existence adamantly in the past. However, the current rumors about this supposed PSP-4000 have not met such a fate. Developers are commenting on it and that leaky source close to Sony has yet to silence itself. It would appear that gamers in the know would avoid purchasing a new PSP like the plague because of this information. No one wants to buy a new console just a few months before the prettier version comes out. But what about the individuals that do not know any better? I am sure a good many parents will buy their daughter the new Lilac PSP. It comes with a Hannah Montana game. My goddaughter has already asked me for it. This thing is going to sell. What about the upcoming Assassin’s Creed bundle. Won’t there be the poor individuals that will be suckered into making a purchase only to have buyer’s remorse when the newly unveiled sexiness of the PSP2/PSP-4000 is unveiled? It is likely so. However, this is the same pain that someone feels when they purchase a console months before a price cut. It is something that really can’t be avoided.
Developers are concerned about making a profit. This is not new information. It is one of the tenants of capitalism. Developers shunned the PSP due to piracy. We are also hearing that used game sales are not a developer’s dream either. That is not the least bit surprising. Shifting to a digital distribution model for the next iteration of the PSP would prevent developers from having to worry about this issue. Of course there will always be a hacker attempting to get their free frills at a developer’s expense, but it will only be harder to do with the new delivery system. Any developer will be happy to see the true returns on the sale of their product. Giving gamers easy access to the games and a method that prevents a developer from missing out on profits is a good way to attract support. John Koller has already said that other 3rd parties want to make their own announcements regarding the PSP going forward. You have to wonder if these announcements are going to be made with the next PSP in mind.
Now for the final question, what is going to happen to the people that already own PSPs? If this new PSP brings along a second analog stick or more shoulder buttons, there are going to be some angry people. Not to mention the anger that will be created by the addition of built-in memory. Of course there will be those that rush out in the thousands and possibly millions to grab the thing instantly. I personally am one of the millions. The greatest problem would be for those of us that have an extensive library of games. If the new PSP has no UMD disc drive, how will we play our old titles? Sony could release some UMD ripping add-on that rips the game to a memory stick and can only be used on a certain registered number of PSPs at a time. Sony could also provide a voucher program. A voucher program could get extremely messy though. Sony has some time to work this situation out though. The PSP-2000 did receive features that the PSP-1000 did not. So it is not impossible for the next PSP to get something that the prior PSPs did not. However, the promise of more games and better support could be enough to heal any wounds that would be created by a shift. I could easily own 2 PSPs.
The PSP is apparently on the rise again. Even if it is due to a great number of rumors, we are all excited about the possibilities. We cannot forget about the titles that have been announced for the console and those that will be released soon. LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm, Resistance: Retribution (coming in 2 weeks no less), and many others. Hopefully this entire future PSP issue will be sorted out sooner than later. But we all must remember that Sony is not going to sacrifice sales of the current PSP even if there is another amazing model coming in the near future. It is nice to see the PSP from a new, brighter perspective these days.