I went on a record a couple of times before E3, stating vigorously that it would be unlikely we'd see a new PSP. We didn't. Probably a good thing - with all the hype surrounding Nintendo's 3DS, it would have taken something special to top that. But it raises a question of its own. I had speculated that Sony might dramatically drop the price of the PSP range this E3, hoping to reinvigorate the brand, draw attention to their surprisingly solid end-of-year line-up, and eventually pave way for that inevitable PSP2. But it didn't happen. The line-up looked solid enough, no doubt, but a Tweet from Shacknews' Garnett Lee during the show basically summed the situation up: "<span><span>That's a solid PSP lineup they showed but I think they face an increasingly uphill battle to get it attention." I just don't understand why.</span></span>
<span><span>Writing about PlayStation is actually a tiring business sometimes. You often feel like you're part of an uphill struggle trying to justify things to people. Getting genuinely cool stuff into people's attention is hard and I just don't know why that is. If you think about the PlayStation 3, and what it took to even change perception about the console, it's ridiculous. Sony had to release two game of the years, a sackful of 80+ scoring exclusives, redesign the system and completely remarket the brand. Now I know Sony made some serious mistakes with the PlayStation 3 and that's fine, but to jump through that many hoops to even get semblance of momentum back is insane. It's almost like everything attached to the PlayStation is held at a higher level of critique. At least that's the way I see things sometimes.</span></span>
<span><span><span>It's the same with the PSP. Again the system is not perfect, and mistakes have been made. There are flaws in the hardware and the software line-up's had a few pitfalls. But the biggest challenge the PSP faces is media perception. Like the PlayStation 3 of old, the Western press just don't care. There are stunning games on the PSP, perhaps not enough to compete with the DS, but stunning all the same. For some reason, these games fail to get the attention they deserve, and the software line-up is perceptually weak as a result. The big hitters on PlayStation Portable this year include Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, God Of War: Ghost Of Sparta, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, Patapon 3 and The 3rd Birthday. Hardly a disastrous line-up is it? You'd think so to hear the press' response; GiantBomb's Ryan Davis for example noted on Twitter this week, "Man, remember the PSP?"
<span><span><span>Sony need to reboot the PSP brand, and if they stand any chance competing with Nintendo to the same levels of success they've managed with the current PSP, they need to do so fast. The 3DS is, by all notes, a pretty amazing device. PSP-level visual fidelity and the added gimmick of a 3D screen will reinvigorate the hardly-stuttering DS market all over again. But Sony needs to be careful it doesn't obliterate their current market-share. As it stands, the PSP is still the most popular device in Japan. If you factor in various Nintendo SKUs, then yes, there is a line that says the DS is on top, but the fact is, the PSP's highly competitive. Ignore the Western audience for now, if Japan is the territory for PSP, then that's where Sony need to look to in regards to the PSP2. The frightening thing for Sony, however, is 3DS' third-party support. There have been three-pillars of multiplatform developers who you could make an argument for having made the PSP a success: Capcom, Square Enix, and Kojima Productions. All three are working on the 3DS now. In fact, having announced Resident Evil for the PSP last year, said game has since disappeared to be replaced by Resident Evil 3DS. If Sony don't respond powerfully, they could lose the entire market share they've worked so hard to gain. Imagine if Monster Hunter went to the 3DS, which is very possible.
<span><span>And therein lies the problem for the PlayStation Portable. To be considered a success, in public opinion, they have to overcome the current DS and upcoming 3DS in Japan. They have to overcome the iPhone and iPod Touch in the West. They have to have gimmicks, games, features, and innovation. They have to be technically more powerful because this is a Sony device, right? They have to do all that, and they have to do it cheaper than everyone else because otherwise they'll get hammered. And yet, they're the only company in the gaming industry held to this many stipulations.</span></span>
<span><span><span>I can't fathom this mentality and it frustrates me as a PlayStation fan. But sadly, it's the reality. It's going to be very interesting to see what Sony come up with in regards to the PSP's successor, if they come up with anything at all. I can't see them backing out of this market, but I can't see what they can do to win it either. Not with perception the way it is. It's like an uphill struggle every single day, and I don't even work for Sony.
Twiggy is an anonymous PushSquare columnist who has been spotted in three major cities across the globe. Its rumoured hes on the run from the British monarchy who accused him of treason.