Backstage: Sony overprices US PSP, drops ball
Published: Thursday, February 3, 2005
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 TV adds ABC, Bloomberg, Crackle, KORTV
- AT&T CEO: Bye, device subsidies, hello financing
- Apple hires radio exec for iTunes Radio
- Apps: 12 Days of Gifts, The Animal Alphabet Singers, Drawing Together + FIFA
- China Labor Watch seeks investigation of Pegatron deaths
- Dec. 20 deadline for CES Best of Show Submissions
- Report: Forstall advising startups, involved in philanthropy
- Lightning developer leaves Apple, redesigns Square Reader
- China Mobile opens iPhone preorders on Dec. 12
- Apple, others call for govt. surveillance reform
- Kanex Foldable iDevice Stand
- Olloclip Macro 3-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 5/5s
- Belkin APEX360 Advanced Protection Case for iPad mini
- STM Grip 2 for iPad Air
- CM4 Slite Card Case for iPhone 5c
- Newer Technology NuGuard KX for iPad Air + iPad mini
- The Joy Factory aXtion Bold for iPad Air
- OtterBox Defender Series Case for iPad Air + iPad mini with Retina display
- Tabu Lumen TL800 App Enabled LED Color Smart Bulb
- Wren V5BT Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
- Syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac
- iMessages come in from email address instead of phone number
- Whether to include specific apps in iCloud backups
- Passcode entry field not appearing on iPhone
- Custom ringtones assignments don’t sync to iCloud
- Resuming incomplete iCloud backups
- Adding multiple photos to a Shared Photo Stream
- Quality of videos sent via Messages
- Text messages being delivered to wrong iPhone
- Problems logging in to iTunes Store