Resistance Is Futile

If you think I'm PSP bashing so far there's a good reason for that: I am. I'm not a great Nintendo fan, but Nintendo's ability to think differently made the DS (and its near infinite and incremental variations) adopt a unique form factor and playing style unlikely to be encroached upon by smartphones anytime soon. Its arguably younger audience also isn't the smartphone's primary target market - and even if the iPod touch may have some pull it can't offer the same experience.

So what's the alternative? Flawed as it may be, the Panasonic Jungle is one brave stab. A foolish, destined to fail stab, but at least by targeting browser based online gaming and MMORPGs it is doing something different. Where it may be slightly ahead of its time, however, is in abandoning apps altogether and becoming web based. HTML5 stills need a lot of work (the standard isn't even finalised) and our connections aren't yet reliable enough for mobile streaming gaming services like OnLive. That said the future is definitely in becoming platform neutral and having company servers do the heavy lifting. After all when Apple initially launched the iPhone Steve Jobs repeatedly said Apple planned for all applications to be web based, only to relent when demand proved overwhelming.

Before we spend too much time looking into the crystal ball, however, let's jump back to the present. When I started this editorial it wasn't to say a PlayStation Portable was a bad idea or that it doesn't have a future. It does and it will, but it is no longer a particularly exciting idea and its future is likely to be a) far more niche than before and b) linger for significantly less time in the spotlight.

Remember when the PSP rushed onto the scene in 2005, it was a time when we were amazed by the launch of the first Sony Ericsson Walkman phone (above left) and Windows Mobile 5 (above right) was considered cutting edge. With the PSP 2 allegedly 12 months away we already think 1GHz smartphones with multi-touch displays, 32GB of storage and limitless apps are passé.

Even as a member of the 'meh' club, I wish Sony well with the PSP 2 - there's nothing to gain by wishing failure. That said I leave you with this question: what chance a PlayStation Portable 3 in any other format than a phone...?

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