Sony Playstation Portable was designed to be an easy to carry console and to break into the market as the direct competitor of the Nintendo DS. It’s been a while since the first model of PSP was released and there are a lot of differences between that old PSP and the actual PSP Go.
Sony had a big problem with the media to use. UMD (Universal Media Disk) was very restrictive and furthermore, bulky. If a console is intended to be portable it makes no sense to carry it away in a big bag with a lot of space for UMDs, but the big problem wasn’t really the size of the UMDs, but their poor performance.
In this case, Sony had to learn the lesson from the hackers who broke their code and used custom firmware versions to load games from the Memory Stick. Downgrading your PSP and installing a custom firmware was not only more comfortable so you didn’t need to carry UMDs around, on the top of it the load speed of the Memory Stick is much faster than the UMD, cutting out the loading times and the Memory Stick Card Reader consumes much less power than the UMD reader, making the battery to last longer.
The new PSP Go doesn’t need an UMD anymore and now, besides the above mentioned improvements, there is no limitation of 1,44 GB per game allowing the possibility of bigger games. It is possible to port games from the PSone to the PSP so maybe in a near future we can see an official version of Final Fantasy VII for the PSP.
Now the question is, what’s next? This PSP Go is able to do what the original PSP was able to do with a custom firmware and has other minor advantages so what’s the next thing to be done with PSP? Probably the answer is nothing and this console has reached to an end.
PS3 is now smaller and the latest version of PS2 was very small as well, considering that Sony has the technology necessary to avoid the DVD reader of the PS2 and the fact that the PSP is basically a small PSone, the natural step will be to shrink the PS2 enough to make it portable. PSP is not able to load PS2 games at the moment and this is the next thing to be done by Sony.
When are we going to see it? Probably it is more a marketing decision than a technological one. The new PSP Go woks 100% with games distributed online and it is not guaranteed the success of this method. Although the Online Store is working pretty well for PS3, it has never been tried to make a console which do not use any physical media at all and concentrate all its benefits on the digital media distribution. If this market works as expected, not a lot of time will pass until we see a new model of PSP with a more powerful hardware, able to run PS2 games.
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