Backstage: Sony overprices US PSP, drops ball | iLounge Backstage


Backstage: Sony overprices US PSP, drops ball

Yes, we praised Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) after its Japanese release late last year, noting that it was a great value at its base Japanese $199 price. Sure, $199 was around twice the price of Nintendo’s original Game Boy when it was introduced, and already at a taboo price point for anything portable. It was more than twice the price of existing Game Boy SP hardware, but only $50 more than Nintendo’s not-quite-right DS system, which sold fairly well.

Now Sony, in one of those moves that can only be understood in the context of the company’s cockiness, has managed to do what we basically considered impossible: it’s offering the PSP in North America at a higher price. Well, at least, that’s reality: you can’t buy a PSP for $199 in the USA, period, and will have to cough up $249 and take it with $50 worth of crap. That’s $100 more than a Nintendo DS, and $170 or so more than a Game Boy SP. No portable console has ever succeded after launching at a $249 or higher price tag. It’s mass-market suicide.

And did I just say “crap?” Yes, I did. In an effort to gouge initial buyers, Sony is packaging all PSPs with a “Value Pack” collection of stuff that no one should be buying: an almost uselessly small Memory Stick Duo Pro, a cheap-feeling remote control and headphone set, and a non-interactive demo disc. We purchased our Japanese PSP with the “Value Pack” and found only one of its included items - a soft carrying case, worth $5 - in any way valuable. Sony’s also leaving out the most forgettable item from the Japanese value pack, a white hand strap, if anyone cares.

To compensate for the fact that it knows the Value Pack items are lame, Sony is promising that the first million PSP units will include a copy of the movie Spider Man 2 on UMD. Though it’s better than nothing, this isn’t something people wanted or needed.

Our strong advice is to skip the PSP at least until Sony drops this stuff from the box, and better yet until it’s guaranteed that all of the quality control issues on the hardware have been fixed. Our unit’s screen has already developed the dreaded dead pixels that other people have been griping about since launch. We’ve been using a 1 Gigabyte MSDuo Pro card with it, too, and not really wanting to waste the time encoding/watching movies on its screen, listening to music on it through rudimentary playlists, or using its simplistic photo browser. Even using iPSP (an indie, smart piece of PSP media organization software for the Mac), we’d take the iPod experience six days a week and twice on Sunday over a PSP at that $249 price.

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Quote: we’d take the iPod experience six days a week and twice on Sunday over a PSP at that $249 price.

Sorry, but that comment was purely stupid. I wouldnt. And you know why? Because the iPod is no where near as good at games as the PSP is. I havent played one yet, but you dont need to. iPod plays music. PSP plays games. ” DIFFERENT devices. Why is no one getting this?All these iPod to PSP comparisons are garbage.

Posted by Spooky2k in barry, wales on February 4, 2005 at 11:35 AM (CST)


Why? Because Sony keeps saying this thing is better than the iPod, that it’ll take over the iPod, etc.

Posted by the_mole1314 on February 4, 2005 at 3:49 PM (CST)


$249 gets you zero games, Spooky. Zero. Give any non-deaf person $249 and the choice between buying a PSP “value pack” or an iPod mini, nothing else, and I guarantee they’re not going to buy the PSP.

Why? Because for $249, you get the PSP with bunch of stuff you’re not going to use. You can’t play a game on it for that price because it doesn’t come with one, and not a single game you own right now is compatible with the PSP, so you’ll have to buy software separately. Go out and spend another $40 or $50 for -one game- and you’ll be all set for a few days, maybe a week. But then it’s time for another.

For $99, you can get an iPod shuffle, and then use the left over $150 to buy either 150 songs or… wait for it… another iPod. Or a Nintendo DS. Or two Game Boy Advances. Or just buy an iPod mini instead. Since you already have CDs, you can actually USE the iPods for their intended purpose, unlike the $249 PSP where you can’t even play a game unless you cough up more cash.

“Stupid” is in the eye of the beholder. Enjoy your $249 PSP. Hope you’ve saved up for some games.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on February 4, 2005 at 8:27 PM (CST)


You seem to think that i think $249 isnt over-priced. I do think its over-priced. But if i had $300 to spend on a portable gaming device, i wouldnt buy the iPod, that would be foolish. However, if i wanted a portable music player…the iPod would win hands down.
You compare it to the iPod, and you’re only looking at one aspect of its functionality…the PSP, no matter how much Sony rant on about it over-taking iPod, is completely different. Its nothing liek the iPod. It wiull not beat the iPod in the mp3 player market…purely because *shock, horror* it is NOT purely an mp3 player. Its a thing of convergence. Its a media centre, and a damn good one at that. Nintendo DS thinks its better than it is…revoutionary….pfft, its as revolutionary as the shuffle (i like the shuffle btw, jsut, its not revolutionary, its an excuse to have a marketing ‘tag’). PLus, remember, all the things that are going to be coming out for the PSP, keyboards, internet browsers, mobile phone (cell phone) add-ons.
FACT IS: iPod is a master at one-trade- being an mp3 player. the PSP is, or at least seems to be, very good at alot of different things.
Thats what sets the prices apar, and why you simply cannot compare the iPod and PSP.
Anyway, im from the UK. So the more backlash in the USA over the price, the better we here get it on release. And jsut to let you know, i’ve been saving for a long time, and i’ve always expected it to be around £200.  Anything less is a bonus in my eyes.

just to re-iterate. I do think its over-priced, but im willing to pay that for it because of its functionality. Hell, people pay $500 for an iPod and then moan that something which does a billion more things is $249? strange.

I sya, stop comparing the PSP to the iPod (an mp3 player)....start looking at it for what it really is. A damn good portable media center.

I do apologise for using the term ‘stupid’. Its an opinion, and no-ones opinion is stupid, whether i agree or not. Therefor, as i said, you have my apologies.  Jeremy, your a damn good reviewer, and article writer, so you have my respect more than anything. So i change the term ‘stupid’ to: ‘i dont see any logic in comparing the iPod to the PSP. they’re completely different things.’.

Dan x

Posted by Spooky2k in barry, wales on February 5, 2005 at 8:09 AM (CST)


The PSP is over priced.The value pack is the worst pack anyone has ever given.It doesnt even have a free game.You have spend another 20 dollars for buying a game.Well you could compare it with the ipod because they both can play the same thing.But tell me how many times do you listen to music when you are busy playing games. Plus about the dvd compatibilty it can only play dvds that are written on the the UMD disc.No one has a movie on that type of a disc. So get ready to spend some moneey on buying some dvds. If you are going to watch a movie when you could play a game. I have also heard that the lcd screen has started to have burned cells.(you dont want a messed up screen after spending 249 dollars on).So i think you should wait till all the material testing and other stuff have been made.


Posted by your rater on February 27, 2005 at 11:14 AM (CST)


Crap! $249! I’m stickin’ with my iPod until it comes down in price…

Posted by pakkman781 in TN on March 9, 2005 at 7:23 PM (CST)


You people need to wake up and get out of your Apple dreamworld. Comparing the PSP to the iPOD is like comparing a Leatherman tool to a Henkles chefs knife. Sure, the Henkels knife cuts better. But that’s all it does.
The PSP was designed primarily to play GAMES. This is why people will buy it.
The statement about no portable over $250 surviving is ridiculous. All thoses crappy portables that came up against Nintendo couldn’t dream of selling 3 million units in three months. Don’t worry if the PSP will be a sucess, it already is. And don’t worry about your precious iPOD losing it’s “coolest gadget” identity, because it already has.

Posted by bubbaHotRod on March 14, 2005 at 12:01 PM (CST)


Dude, everyone calm down… I agree the iPod and PSP can’t really be compared since one is a music player and one is a gaming system with music and video as an after-thought. I love my ipod and I’m sure I’ll love my PSP, which I will be picking up in 4 days. The price thing: For what the PSP does I think it’s a reasonable price for what the thing does. Just try and find a PDA with all the features that this gaming device has. I do wish it would of come with a game but hell, the PS2 didn’t come with a game, the game cube didn’t come with a game, my gameboy sp didn’t come with a game… so anyways, it’s not really anything to get all mad about.

Posted by jasontho in Phoenix on March 20, 2005 at 4:12 PM (CST)


well said jason, everyone needs to stop comparing the iPod and PSP. they were designed for a different primary use. I for one am glad that for my $250 i will also be getting a music, picture, and video player..yet i love my 3g, mini, and shuffle ipods and ill be hardpressed if i take that psp for a jog or to the gym. yet ill make sure to pack my psp when taking a long road trip or shopping with my g/f.  And for those flaming the the PSP for being a ‘crap’ music player, even the 450$ ipod photo still comes with that half-ass parachuting game. and doesnt play video. at least sony took the time to come up with decent media player capabilities. so stop the bickering, your precious ipod is still the best music player money can buy, and leave us gamers to our psp’s, the best handheld gaming machine around.

Posted by hoffman in miami on March 23, 2005 at 7:19 AM (CST)


you see the ipod is a music player and the PSP is gaming. If you want music then go with the ipod but if you want games PSP. its impossible to have musci and the PSP the memory cards are so expensive. 70$ for 512 mb. BS

Posted by nish on July 7, 2005 at 12:07 PM (CDT)

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