Sony hasn’t given us any real indication that a second PSP is on the way anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean the net hasn’t stopped trying to unearth any details via rumours, scrupulous checking of tech trademark registrations or the CVs of every tech developer on LinkedIn every two minutes. But what would we actually want from a PSP2? Here’s a list compiled from my own thoughts and general grumbles from fellow gamers.
*All the images for this article are from fan made/ unofficial concept PSP designs and don’t reflect anything officially linked with Sony. But Sony, if you’re reading this, I’d eat my own face to get a handheld that looks as good as the one above.
Second analogue stick
Seriously, if there’s only one stick again, you can just forget it. Using the face buttons to control aiming in first-person shooters has been a clumsy nightmare from the early days of Coded Arms right up to Call of Duty. Platformers suffer too, with camera rotations and resets being left to the shoulder buttons. Yes, God of War: Chains of Olympus survived without it, but that series has mastered the fixed-angle camera setup. If Sony want to prove they listen to feedback (and would like to make a shitload of money) this should be a no-brainer. I don’t want to hear any crap about the DS/3DS managing fine without a pair either.
Better analogue stick(s)
They need to be slightly bigger and stick out a bit more from the console. It would also be more comfortable if they were concave, which would stop thumbs sliding off them constantly during racing games. If it’s like sliding a 5p coin around a glass table again we won’t be happy.
Mobile phone / Better web functions
The iPhone is undoubtedly muscling in on the handheld gaming market, so perhaps it’s time to take the fight to their doorstep? The size of Sony’s new device will be a key factor here as nobody wants a taco sized object next to their face. Remember the epic fail that was the N-Gage?
If phone capabilities are out then we’d at least expect Wi-Fi internet again, with lots of apps and downloads, but not in the same loony pricing scheme as full PSP titles on PSN. The old PSP had a good stab at online with its browser; make it a little bit more user-friendly and speed it up for sites like Facebook and YouTube and it’d be a success. Oh and Flash support might be nice too.
Regular AAA Games
The current PSP just hasn’t had enough quality system-seller titles to really threaten Nintendo’s dominance. Sure we’ve had God of War, Final fantasy VII: Crisis Core and Burnout showing the power of the little machine and even titles like Locoroco that won unanimous praise. But when we look at how many quality titles the PS2 had or we’ve already got on the PS3 and 360, the PSP’s output seems a little slow and stagnant.
At least Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is finally out soon. It’s real; Jon’s reviewed it and everything.
Digital AND hard copies of copies
If the pricing scheme for PSP games on the PSN Store and the epic floppage of the digital-only PSP Go are anything to go by, the next machine will need to keep using disks. It could be UMDs again, or maybe little DS-style cartridges. Hell, we’d settle for a memory card with the game locked onto it. Retail is good, lots of us enjoy having a boxed product with a manual (up yours by the way Ubisoft), especially when it’s cheaper than its digital counterpart. Not to mention the savings we all make on picking up the odd pre-owned game.
TV output as standard
If you’re playing a game at home, it’s always nice to have the option of playing a handheld title on the big-screen in your living room and just using the PSP as a controller. It’s not for everyone as the graphics would take a hit, but the option would be nice.
Better video support
A decent MP3 player is an obvious inclusion for the PSP2, but the biggest improvement for media support needs to be aimed at the videos. The current PSP is very picky as to what videos it will play, generally only playing MP4. Just add the WMV (Windows Media) and we’ll all be happy. We want to see the back of crappy video converter programmes.
Nothing requiring mental swings of the console, just a bit of tilting perhaps? Personally I never bother with the Six-Axis steering options on the PS3, but if they were done with a bit more attention to detail on the next PSP, I might be tempted to give it a go. Or maybe just have it for Marble Madness and Mercury.
Touch-screen tech (preferably Pringles-proof)
Another thing I’d be fine with being left out as the idea of smearing a nice screen with greasy finger marks narks me off something rotten. But seeing as touch-screen phones are the norm now (not in my damn pocket like), Sony might want to include the tech which is becoming the standard. Well, unless you’re Microsoft and think playing charades with it will do that is.
Different colours at launch
Even if it’s just the choice between a black, grey or white console at launch. We just want a little more choice during the early days.
A graphical kick up the arse
The PSP has some great cut-scenes but some of the colour textures are really bland particularly for 3D action titles. It seems to struggle to render straight lines in 3D environments too, with them all looking jagged. FFVII: Crisis Core is a good example of these strengths and weaknesses the machine has. The only titles I’ve seen with smooth lines in-game have been the 2D titles like Locoroco and Patapon. PSP2 has to be trying to compete with PS3 graphics and needs to blow the PS2 out of the water really.
Get it right first time
It’s a shame for every early adopter of a new console. They get shafted six months later when a better version comes out. The original PSP was deceptively heavy and becomes quite uncomfortable to play after an hour or so. It’s impossible to keep the screen smudge free too with the buttons being right next to it.
Later models cut down on the weight and improved the brightness of the screen and then the model after that increased the brightness and had a negative impact on interlacing or some such backwards step. Finally we get a light, sophisticated machine with well-placed buttons and a sliding design in the shape of the PSP Go. Shame it was digital only (laughably priced games) and we couldn’t find any more games to play on it.
So readers, what features would you like to see the PSP2 get? Should Sony get back on the bandwagon and slap 3D and dual-screens in there too?