As expected, there was a flurry of activity in video game stores today as the PlayStation Portable was released in the US. Rumor has it that in the Washington, DC area, the new toy is sold out, though I don't know if that's true. I fully admit that I expected it to sell out, and actually looked forward to it selling out...that way, I wouldn't feel too bad that I don't have one!! :)
The PSP, a handheld gaming device, comes packaged with a copy of Spiderman 2 on UMD (universal media disc, I think), a 32 MB memory stick, and the device itself. Its main "competitor" in the handheld gaming market is the Nintendo DS. It's not a fair fight to say that the two devices are in the same realm, though. The PSP is a multi-media and gaming device, while the DS is a gaming and chat device (and may be turned into a PDA if rumors are true). Both play games and both in theory have the capability to play games over wireless internet (802.11b WiFi). But really that's where the similarities end between the two devices, and that is all I'll say of the two side-by-side. I will probably eventually have both devices, especially if the game lineup for the DS improves.
So, back to the PSP. While the device itself looks quite sweet, I'm not a fan of the UMD and Memory Stick usage. The PSP will at one point be able to link to computers, though the cable to link it to the computer won't be available in the US until the 1st of May. With integrated WiFi and the ability to connect the PSP to a computer, combined with the ability of the PSP to play mp3's and mp4 videos, leads to a desire to store audio and video files on removable storage cards. Commonly used formats are the SD card and CF card, but because this is SONY we're dealing with, it MUST be their proprietary Memory Stick. Nevermind that Sony has already abandoned its PDA line, the Clie, in the United States, so really the only use for Memory Sticks these days are in Sony digital cameras (and there are a wealth of other cameras out there that are better than Sony cameras). Now there is another use for the Memory Stick: using it in the PSP, but what a pain in the butt that is. Personally, I already have a plethora of CF cards and SD cards for my camera and Palm Pilot. I have no need or desire for other memory formats, especially if the only use I'll have for it is my PSP (when I get one, because I think it's probably safe to assume I will).
Alas. Currently I believe the base price for the PSP is about 250 U$, though it seems you can only get it in bundle packs (bundled with games and such) for 450 U$. How disgusting. If any of my regular readers here has picked up the PSP, please let me know what you think! And, even better, if you have played both the PSP and the DS, let me know what you think of them side-by-side (as gaming devices, nothing else).