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.
- iLounge Weekly arrives on Monday, sign up now
- Japan Display vying to be Apple’s primary display supplier (Update: new plant confirmed)
- Apple comes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, will replace AT&T
- Apple extends iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program
- Revamped Apple music service not coming until WWDC; new Apple TV later this year?
- Larger iPad production delayed until later this year, USB 3.0 ports to be added?
- Apple, others likely to reach $415M settlement in poaching lawsuit (Update: settlement approved)
- Apple and HBO in talks for ‘HBO Now’ service launch
- Report: Next-gen ‘iPhone 6s’ to feature 2GB RAM, Apple SIM
- Apple looking to settle with electric car battery company
- Gumdrop Cases Drop Tech Case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Uniq Aircraft+ for iPhone 6
- Speck MightyShell + Faceplate for iPhone 6 Plus
- Mobile Home Siri remote
- Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 Lens, Telephoto + CPL Lens for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- ExoLens Professional Photography System for iPhone 6
- Incipio offGRID Shine for iPhone 6
- Seidio Obex for iPhone 6
- RooCase GlacialTough for iPhone 6 Plus, VersaTough for iPhone 6 + 6 Plus
- CM4 Q Card Case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- Can I transfer the existing version of an app to my new iPhone?
- How do I quickly erase all of the contacts on my old iPhone?
- How do I disassociate my phone number from iMessage?
- How do I stop Siri from randomly waking up?
- How do I cancel a print job on iOS?
- How do I make my camera LED flash when my iPhone rings?
- How do I re-sync contacts to my vehicle after switching to a new iPhone?
- How do I move away from a shared Apple ID for iMessage?
- How do I consolidate iTunes purchases into a single account?
- How can I more easily Handoff a web page from my Mac to my iPhone?