The PSP is kind of a strange system. It has sold a surprising number of units, yet big triple-A games seem to come out at a pace of only one or two a year. Whether it is from piracy or the fact that the younger crowd uses it as a media device more than a gaming system, it is hard to argue that the system hasn't reached its full potential.
The co-founder of arguably the most successful PSP development studio agrees. Ru Weerasuriya, co-founder of Ready at Dawn (makers of Daxter and both God of War PSP games), recently spoke candidly about how he views the PSP as a system that was doomed from the start.
Here is what Weerasuriya had to say about the PSP in an interview with Edge Magazine:
"It was the first portable that Sony released - it's a trial by fire. It's a good platform and you can make amazing things on it. I think that we've tried as much as possible to prove that in the last seven years. But it was doomed from the beginning, that's its biggest problem. It was doomed from the very get-go. There are some things which aren't conductive to calling it a true portable gaming platform and calling it a connective platform, although it has wi-fi. There's so many things that publishers and the manufacturer and Sony dropped the ball on - it's natural, it's the first one."
As a PSP owner who averages playing only one game a year on the system, I have to agree with what he is saying. When the PSP came out we were all blown away with the graphics and functionality of the system. However, along with the PSP's impressive graphics came publishers wanting to make games or ports as if it was a full console. With just one analog stick, the device just was not built for that control-wise. Pretty much since the launch of the system people have been complaining about that lack of a second analog stick. Add to that all of the restrictions to media playback and the rampant piracy, and the system that lost its high first impression quickly.
Hopefully, the rumors of a new PSP2 are true and Sony will take a lot of input from the community on how to make the device better. Give it two analog sticks, the ability to buy games at any store -- not just PSN -- and stop piracy so publishers actually want to make games for it. Weerasuriya agrees saying:
"That hope that you can have is that they learn from that experience when they make the next one, and that they solve the issues with the PSP and the PSPgo - and also that they learn from what the others are doing."
Game Rant recently reported on a leaked dev kit image of a PSP2 and it looks like Sony is at least pointed in the right direction on controls. It remains to be seen how other issues, such as purchasing games, will be handled.
Readers, do you agree with Weerasuriya's thoughts on the PSP being doomed from the start? Do you wish more people inside the industry would show this kind of honesty?