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.
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple Store app update allows purchases from Apple Watch
- Apple releases fifth beta of iOS 10.2 to developers
- Apple reveals cause of unexpected iPhone 6s shutdowns
- Report: 99 percent of fake Apple chargers found to be unsafe
- Apple offering battery replacements for iPhone 6s models with ‘unexpected shutdown issues’ (Updated)
- Report: Fitbit to acquire Pebble
- Apple releases statement on iCloud Calendar spam
- Apple sending out drones to improve Maps data, adding interior building maps
- Tim Cook allegedly tells customer AirPods to ship in ‘next few weeks’
- Apple Pay reportedly launching in Spain tomorrow
- iHome iZBT10 Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Speaker
- Twelve South HiRise Duet for Apple Watch and iPhone
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor
- JBL Under Armour Sport Wireless Heart Rate Headphones
- Edifier e235 Luna E Speaker System
- Clamcase ClamCase+ for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Scosche BoomBottle H2O+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker
- Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle with Smart Lid
- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10