The PSP is officially dead. Sort of. Kinda. Just read this shit below.
Sony will cease shipments of the PlayStation Portable to the domestic Japanese market beginning June 2014, the company announced today.
Sony revealed the discontinuation of the PSP in Japan in an announcement for two PlayStation Vita Super Value Packs for the region. Sony is offering users in country PS Vita product discounts for PSP trade-ins. The Universal Media Disc-using handheld console was first announced during E3 2003 and officially unveiled at a Sony press conference a year later. It launched in Japan in late 2004, North America in early 2005 and PAL regions late 2005.
Those of you who aren’t fans of the older portable may be wondering what all the fuss is about, but the fact is the PSP in its various incarnations has sold 20 million units life to date in Japan, from about 76 million worldwide. Its popularity is driven by co-op action games like Monster Hunter in particular.
When it launched, the PSP had unrivalled graphical capabilities (Sony described it as half way between the PSOne and PS2) for portable, and is now home to a staggering library of games. It also debuted a number of multimedia functions at a time when smartdevices weren’t common – that you could read comics (motion comics, no less!) on it and watch movies and listen to music and play games was something of a revelation.
Let’s talk about how rad the PSP is. Did you know its main encryption processor is called Kirk, and its secondary encryption processor is called Spock? Other specialised units include Tachyon, Baryon and Pommel. The first model had just 32 MB of RAM, which is almost nothing, and yet it can run pretty gorgeous games. There were five hardware versions in all, at least two of which – the UMD-less PSPgo and WiFi-less E1000 – seem frankly mental but are still on the market.
Man oh man, Sony's first foray into handheld gaming was brilliant. From over 76 million units sold as of 2012 to countless multi-million selling titles to Sony drawing the ire of many for hiring graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for the PSP in seven major U.S. cities, the PSP was a cultural icon in gaming.
It represented the ying to the Nintendo DS' yang. Whereas its dual-screen competitor attained a large casual audience, the PSP catered to a different crowd with grittier shooters, platformers with rich 3D worlds, and the iterations of some of gaming's most legendary franchises, like Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, Prince of Persia, and more.
Its multimedia capabilities also made it a success. Movies, music, and games on the go wasn't the same thing it was back in 2005 as it is today with smartphones. Its portability made it unique, and that characteristic helped it make cameos in shows like South Park and Breaking Bad.
Of course, not all was fine and dandy with the PSP. Software throughout its first few years was steady, as niche games like WTF! and LocoRoco sat along side nicely Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. I remember 2008 hitting and there was a serious halt. The PSP released two of its most critically lauded games that year, Patapon and God of War Chains of Olympus, and not much else. That was the first year I truly ever felt a drought on a system as a gamer.
A lot of that could be pointed at the terrible rate of piracy that occurred early on in the PSP's life cycle and plagued it all the way. Developers were less inclined to make games for a system where piracy was rampant, where their ideas, already dealing with concessions due to the hardware, had a huge chance of making less cash than was properly due. For PSP owners, that really sucked. I loved Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker and Motorstorm Apocalypse near the end of the PSP's life cycle, but there could have been so much more.
Sony's own attempt at "so much more" is flopping miserably. The PS Vita, for all its bright points and potential, is getting pounded harder than the I in the Pixar logo. For shame, but history's scared many away from it thanks to its predecessor's shortcomings. Still, it's there, and Sony didn't give up after an incredibly successful first time around.
So what's your favorite PSP memories and games guys? I won my PSP back in 2005 in a raffle after spending $2 on tickets, and that system drew me into the PlayStation ecosystem; I later bought a PS3 for the stupid price of $568. Now I own a PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, and Vita as well, along with a PSPgo, and it's all thanks to that one little machine that Sony decided should lay down today.
Four months before it turned 10 years old.