March 24th marked the Sony Playstation Portable launch in North America. As usual, there were the hardcore gamers that pulled all-nighters in anticipation for the little gaming beauty. They slept outside stores and camped until midnight on the 24th.
It was your average system launch with nothing really standing out to consider it different from any other debut. But why?
The PSP is not your average gadget by any stretch of the imagination. This toy is a BIG DEAL. Not only does it utilize it’s own proprietary disc medium the UMD (Universal Media Disc), but it can play videos, music, display digital photographs, and most importantly play video games that rival the graphics and gameplay of it’s older brother, the Playstation 2. Even more, it has a Memory Stick Pro Duo slot allowing you to save games and to play media. And if all this wasn’t enough, it can connect to the internet via Wireless B WiFi. Anticipated firmware upgrades (accessible through its WiFi) are said to include a web browser and other net apps. So why can you still get one at any electronic retail chain (besides game-only stores)? I’ll tell you why.
There are a couple of reasons the PSP launch was just another day. First off, the marketing campaign for the PSP was sub-par at best. Print ads were the first to pop up but were unable to stir any kind of interest. The TV ads only began to sporadically appear only 2 days before the launch preventing any excitement to be digested. If it wasn’t for the large amount of press it received throughout the past week, even more consumers would have been in the dark.
On the other hand let’s be honest; March 24th is not exactly what you call videogame season. If anything it’s almost as bizarre as a console launch in the middle of the summer. However, I suppose because the unit is portable it may have more of a stomping ground than a TV stricken console.
Pricewise, the PSP falls in just under $250. However, you are probably going to want to buy a game or two (which range $40-$50). Did the price effect the PSP’s immediate popularity? Possibly. It is a lot to pay for a handheld but once you actually hold the device, it’s hard to admit that $250 isn’t a steal.
That’s another thing; holding the PSP. Sony should have had PSP demos in every single store where it was to be sold. I’ve never seen a product that immediately blows you away once you’ve held it like the PSP does. It’s like you’ve imported a machine from the future.
It may be too early to call the PSP launch a disappointment. There is no way that such a remarkable device will go unnoticed. Sony has to step up to the plate and let it be known that they really did make a remarkable product.Powered by Sidelines