I really didn’t think I’d have much to say when the details of the PSP launch were revealed, but now that I see what Sony is planning on doing I’m quite dumbfounded. They’re either extremely confident that the system will sell despite the DS’s sales already exceeding even the most optimistic expectations, or they (like Nintendo) don’t think the two systems are competing with each other.
I’ll never understand that logic. The way I see it, all videogame systems — whether they be consoles, handhelds, or what have you — are competing with each other. I know that my buying habits don’t reflect those of every gamer, but when I bought a PlayStation 2 I had less incentive to go out and purchase a GameCube or Xbox. If I already have one handheld, why would I want another one? Couple that with the fact that Nintendo has always dominated in the realm of handheld systems and you have a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
I’m not saying that the PSP will bomb as bad as the N-Gage did (seriously, did anyone ever think that thing had a chance?), but it certainly has its work cut out for it. Being second out of the gate definitely isn’t a good thing; being second out of the gate and being the more expensive option when you’re up against a handheld juggernaut like Nintendo is just about the worst position you could ask to be in. If Sony meets with great success in this venture, I’ll be extremely surprised.
As for the system only being available as a “Value Pack”… I can’t even find the words to describe how awful of a decision that is. Things like a memory stick, AC adapter, and a battery pack should be included with the system no matter what. Things like carrying cases, headphones, and a remote control should be optional and sold separately. Selling everything together for such a high price (which, for those who don’t know, is $249 [about $65 higher than the price of the system in Japan]) might add more to Sony’s bottom line, but I think it will turn more people away from buying the system than it will persuade them into buying it.
To its merit, the PSP does look to have an impressive list of titles to be available at or around launch time (24 games, including numerous sports titles by EA, Metal Gear Acid, Lumines, and Ridge Racer). The PSP will certainly have a leg up on the DS as far as software goes, and that could be all it takes to convince gamers to pick one up. I never had much interest in the PSP, and this pricing scheme has only caused my interest to wane even more.
Only time will tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the PSP’s launch meets with only marginal success and the system goes the way of the dodo long before the DS does.