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Why the Sony PSP Had To "Go"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the it-was-getting-late-and-the-dog-had-been-inside-all-day dept.

Handhelds 261

We recently discussed the release of the PSP Go, which drew criticism for many design choices that were of dubious value to consumers. Now, Phaethon360 sends in a story about why Sony felt the need to improve upon the old PSP. "As a format, the UMD was holding the entire platform back. Few people (if anyone) bought into the UMD movie hype Sony attempted to thrust back in 2005. Very soon after that, people realized they could rip their DVDs to a memory stick with the same quality. It's ironic how, as the price of Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo dropped and size increased, PSP UMD sales decreased along with it. It doesn't take too many Howard Stringers to figure out what the problem was." Indeed, Sony was complaining of rampant PSP piracy for quite some time. They cited "legal and technical issues" for not supporting the transfer of UMD games onto the PSP Go; undoubtedly they couldn't find a way to keep pirated games from being copied.

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And because of piracy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29654953)

.. all games in the future will be either:

1) on a console where they are locked up tighter than a stereotypical tight-ass' asshole.

2) playable on the internet only

3) costing $0.5-5 as a new release and with production values thereby.

Re:And because of piracy... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655077)

4) Open-source, with non-existent^W^W quite schematic graphic, but with nice gameplay. Of course, most people will run away after hearing about the lack of 3D graphic.

Re:And because of piracy... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655125)

Personally, I think all films should be made as puppet shows but with stunning plots. People who do not like puppet shows with stunning plots are uneducated heathens.

Re:And because of piracy... (1, Funny)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655339)

Personally, I think all films should be made as muppet shows but with stunning plots. People who do not like muppet shows with stunning plots are uneducated heathens.

TFTFY

Re:And because of piracy... (1)

quantumplacet (1195335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655515)

Well, it's not quite a mop, not quite a puppet, but man..... So, to answer you question, I don't know.

Re:And because of piracy... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655505)

Personally, I think all films should be made as puppet shows but with stunning plots.

The South Park guys tried that, although I don't know if you'd call their plot "stunning" ;) It did teach us one thing though: 99% of the human race can be lumped into one of three categories: dicks, assholes and pussies. The remaining 1% is actually made up of cockroaches from outer space.

Re:And because of piracy... (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655549)

Well, no. It's people who would prefer watching bad movies with excellent special effects to good movies made with puppets in someone's garage who are uneducated heathens.

On the other hand, the trouble with the gaming industry is that there are only maybe 8 or 9 different engine types that you need to make every kind of game already devised. Open source has made several good shooter engines, those really don't need any improvement. RTS is coming along, turn-based strategy is trivial, and RPG can use any of the three depending on what you want to do.

In my experience, most of the value in games comes from user-generated content anyway, so I certainly see PC gaming moving away from the industry to FOSS, as the modding community starts to discover they don't need proprietary games (especially when the studios are so often seen actively inhibiting the modding community.)

Re:And because of piracy... (2, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655687)

Ooh, a PSP port of Battle for Wesnoth would be awesome!

Re:And because of piracy... (1, Troll)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655179)

4) Just like before because piracy is not that big of a problem and only gets pointed at to tell shareholders "with the right DRM we'll see MASSIVE GROWTH and be rich!"

Re:And because of piracy... (3, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655247)

> on a console where they are locked up tighter than a stereotypical tight-ass' asshole.

"tighter than ..."? What console's DRM hasn't been broken, except for maybe the PS3 (IBM did the security there, I think)?

Re:And because of piracy... (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655637)

The PS3 hasn't been broken because people had no reason to. You can easily install alternative operating systems on the thing. It's even mentioned in the manual. I think things will change though since they removed that option in the new PS3s. But maybe not as you can always find an old PS3 if you want to do homebrew.

Re:And because of piracy... (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655295)

1) on a console where they are locked up tighter than a stereotypical tight-ass' asshole.

Actually Sony are quite permissive when it comes to user control of downloaded content. You can install content you've purchased on up to five PS3's and every user account, whether on PSN or not, can use any content downloaded by another account on the same PS3. As DRM goes, I've seen a lot worse that what goes on at the Playstation Store, and I've rarely seen something better. Hopefully, Microsoft will see that this method works and will down their current policies in the next generation of consoles.

That said, Sony has a bad policy with regard to the encryption of data stored on the PS3. Let me put it this way; Backup your saves often.

Re:And because of piracy... (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655523)

Actually Sony are quite permissive when it comes to user control of downloaded content. You can install content you've purchased on up to five PS3's and every user account, whether on PSN or not, can use any content downloaded by another account on the same PS3.

It's pretty sad when the indoctrination has reached even /. and we think that it's "quite permissive" for a company to allow you to use the content you purchased on devices that you own. How nice of them to be that "permissive".

Re:And because of piracy... (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655323)

Nonsense.

Piracy is rampant and easy on the PSP at present, but not everyone does it.

I use hacked firmware on my PSP, sure, because I rip my games to MemStick. I hate having to carry the UMDs around, loading times improve and the battery life is better. I also have a genesis emulator on their and some ROMS of games I used to own as a kid. That may or may not be considered piracy I guess.

But I still pay for games and will continue to do so. I will also crack the Go if I ever get one because you can bet your ass that there won't be a mechanism to resell games you've bought, plus I would feel the moral right to transfer my current UMD based games.

good riddance (-1, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654955)

it's just a toy for tards: it'll never make someone better.

Is piracy the only option? (-1, Offtopic)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654963)

I don't own a PSP, or any similar gaming system.

If the PSP UMD sticks are rewritable and cost more than a few bucks, why wouldn't most people store all their games, movies, etc. on their hard drives, and just keep a few UMD sticks around for whatever they are going to play?

If they are more than $10 each, I certainly wont waste them on a movie I may watch a couple times and then not be interested in. Same for games. I would probably buy a total of maybe 5-10 sticks total, and rewrite them as needed. I'm sure some people are cheaper than me and maybe buy just one or two sticks and deal with the pain of not having the exact game or movie they want on a trip.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (4, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654985)

I think you may be confusing the media for the PSP.

UMD = Little bitty optical disc in a protective case. Not writable. I think they can hold 1.4GiB of data.

Memory Stick = Sony's proprietary Flash-type media. I think these go up to 16GiB now.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655197)

Memory Stick = Sony's proprietary Flash-type media.

How is Memory Stick more proprietary than SD? Both are patented, and both include DRM (that next to nothing actually uses).

I think these go up to 16GiB now.

In practice, 16 GB stick holds 16 GB of data. About 7% of the sectors (which happens to equal the difference between a GB and a GiB) are reserved as spares to replace sectors that are defective at manufacturing or have been erased too much.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655305)

He never mentioned SD so your failed attempt at a rhetorical question while trolling is enough reason for me to mark you.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655733)

He never mentioned SD

He did specifically mention that Memory Stick is proprietary, implying that something else isn't proprietary. Which removable flash memory format were you thinking of that is less proprietary than both?

Re:Is piracy the only option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655415)

SDA has at least opened some specs like the simplified host controller spec, they are available without an NDA. It's true that this happened after open source implementations were done via reverse engineering, but it's still better than what Sony does AFAIK.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655439)

Does SD have open patent licensing, does Memmory stick?

What I mean, is SD like MP3 where there is a set price and anyone can do it, while Sony reserves the right to block you entirely?

And what does DRM have to do with open vs proprietary?

These are actual questions too, I don't really know. I assume that the wider adoption of SD has to do with greater ease of implementing it.

Re:Is piracy the only option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655511)

flash doesn't have sectors, you tool

and memory stick is more proprietary in that ONLY SONY USE IT

Erase blocks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655713)

flash doesn't have sectors

Then what are the "erase blocks" that this document about JFFS2 [redhat.com] mentions?

UMD transfer the what what? (4, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654977)

They cited "legal and technical issues" for not supporting the transfer of UMD games onto the PSP Go; undoubtedly they couldn't find a way to keep pirated games from being copied.

I'm not sure how UMD-to-flash transfer helps people copy pirated games. I mean, the pirated games are disk images on flash memory. An actual physical UMD isn't involved.

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655029)

I'm not sure how UMD-to-flash transfer helps people copy pirated games. I mean, the pirated games are disk images on flash memory. An actual physical UMD isn't involved.

Either nobody at Sony realized piracy involves desktop computers and the internet, or they're just using this as an excuse to increase their profit margins. Care to take a guess?

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655307)

Sony? Probably both.

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (1)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655347)

I don't know what they think, but I am not buying a Go until hell freezes. I will stick to UMDs until they run out. By then, if I have to buy another portable, it will be something else for sure. A nintendo DSI maybe.

I read ars review [arstechnica.com] on the psp go and it is simply unbelievable what they have done. They just want to fuck the customer and profit. I didn't pirated any PSP game and will not pay for other people mistakes

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655619)

What I would consider fair is sony allowing you to trade up your UMD games. Surrender the disc, they let you download the game. But I think everybody here knows Sony's feelings about fair.

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655049)

Presumably, unless each UMD has a unique serial number, and the hypothetical UMD-to-PSP Go converter phones it home, there would be no way for Sony to keep a given UMD disk from being turned into N copies, all blessed by Sony.

And, even if there are unique serial numbers, and they could make that work, any official mechanism that produces blessed copies of legacy applications would presumably be a logical target for attackers.

And/or because Sony's secret bylaws compel them to treat their customers with precisely equal amounts of hatred and contempt at all times.

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (4, Insightful)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655107)

Presumably, unless each UMD has a unique serial number, and the hypothetical UMD-to-PSP Go converter phones it home, there would be no way for Sony to keep a given UMD disk from being turned into N copies, all blessed by Sony.

What about accepting reality that pirates already enjoy the premium service - and providing legit customers with the something similar??

Or Sony felt compelled to feed the pirates with new and more justifications to do what they did before?

And/or because Sony's secret bylaws compel them to treat their customers with precisely equal amounts of hatred and contempt at all times.

That's more like it.

Sony and Nintendo are quite similar that they pretty much always dismiss their own customers. That's why people are so divided: they either love it or hate it. It feels like their R&Ds live and work in some sort of isolated underground lab where novelties like internet and forums are not available. And all of customer feedback is substituted with directives and memos from upper management. Well, at least Nintendo has the luminary Miyamoto (who is already "upper management") and his games have some loyal fans.

Re:UMD transfer the what what? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655155)

That's a way of pirating games, not copying or loading pirated games.

PSP is conceptually an imitation of GBA (1)

taddyhatty (1037918) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655143)

There is no need to promote an imitation by big capital.

Boosting for the big capital's imitation-products may be the path to the non-creative market.

Not much chance of re-selling with a download (4, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654979)

With hard copy disc based games you can sell them on to friends or a shop once you're done. A bit more difficult with a download - people will just want it for free and what shop will buy a memory stick off you that may or may not work and may or may not have viruses etc embedded on it?

Re:Not much chance of re-selling with a download (4, Informative)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655321)

I think you really hit the nail on the head here. There is a pretty big market for reselling used games. With the PSP Go, not only are you restricted from reselling your used games but you are also locked into purchasing them from Sony's download service.

Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] published an excellent review on the PSP Go and why you should just stick with the standard PSP 3000.

Re:Not much chance of re-selling with a download (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655507)

Great point, I've got about 20 UMD games for my PSP. I bought exactly 3 of them new.

Re:Not much chance of re-selling with a download (2, Interesting)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655629)

I think you really hit the nail on the head here. There is a pretty big market for reselling used games. With the PSP Go, not only are you restricted from reselling your used games but you are also locked into purchasing them from Sony's download service.

Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] published an excellent review on the PSP Go and why you should just stick with the standard PSP 3000.

Not to mention you probably won't be getting a pleasant price drop in PSP game prices just because they're only available digitally now.

Re:Not much chance of re-selling with a download (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655437)

Agreed. I think a lot of people are missing that being able to cut out the multi-billion-dollar used game market is a lot more important to Sony than reducing piracy of music- and a lot more ominous for the user. Its the ultimate lock-in, like if Apple were to decide one day to force iTunes users to only be able to listen/sync to music purchased from iTMS. Sony here is giving a giant middle finger to the first-sale doctrine.

Now all the pirates will buy a GO (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29654997)

Excellent, now all the pirates will drop their old pirate friendly PSP and buy a GO. /sarcasm

Re:Now all the pirates will buy a GO (2, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655043)

I've a cracked PSP & can honestly say I've never pirated a single PSP UMD game. I do however have emulators & ROMs on it for every NES, SNES, Gameboy, SMS & Genesis game I've ever owned. As well as all of my PS1 games which run natively after a little tweaking. I also have PSP versions of Tyrian, Quake & a E-Book reader on there.

Someone call Natalie (4, Insightful)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655027)

It's ironic how, as the price of Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo dropped and size increased, PSP UMD sales decreased along with it.

No, it's not.

Re:Someone call Natalie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655065)

Lame post is lame.

Re:Someone call Natalie (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655079)

Don't you think?

Re:Someone call Natalie (0, Offtopic)

severn2j (209810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655163)

It was Alanis Morisette, not Natalie...

Re:Someone call Natalie (0, Offtopic)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655241)

How very ironic.

Re:Someone call Natalie (0, Offtopic)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655351)

No it's not

Re:Someone call Natalie (1, Interesting)

omega_dk (1090143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655801)

Sure it is. You would expect someone referencing the song to know who sings/wrote it. In this case, they did not. There is a difference between what one would expect and what actually happened. That IS dramatic/situational irony.

You not knowing that is also situationally ironic, because when complaining about whether or not something is ironic, you should know the various accepted definitions of irony and have a grasp of what situations can fulfill those definitions. In this case, you did not, which led to another difference between what one would expect (your competence) and reality (the complete lack thereof).

Re:Someone call Natalie (4, Insightful)

Nik13 (837926) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655169)

Sony memory card pricing hurts them in many ways. It's one of the many reasons I won't buy a Sony camera (no, it's not that I can't pirate pictures or whatever). My favorite shop's prices:

2GB SD card: $8 but I've seen them as low as $6 before.
4GB SD card: $13
8GB SD card: $19
16GB SD card: $33
32GB SD card: $85

2GB MS Duo card: $27
4GB MS Duo card: $35
8GB MS Duo card: $60
16GB MS Duo card: $150
32GB MS Duo card: $250

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655207)

You are paying too much for your SD cards...

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655251)

You are paying too much for your SD cards...

No, we're paying too much for MS Duo cards.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655359)

Yeah, cuz $30 for an 8gb MS Pro Duo that I paid at Wal-mart the other day is absolutely way too much.

And no, it wasn't a generic brand, it was Sandisk, which I trust more than Sony's brand.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655237)

Compact Flash is similarly much more expensive than SD. I have no idea why Canon stuck to CF for their EOS 400D camera, years after SD "won" the format war (for phones/cameras etc).

Re:Someone call Natalie (2, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655257)

Because compact flash is essentially the IDE interface... That's why it is preferable over pretty much anything. Alas, as you say: it lost, mainly due because of pyhsical size. In the beginning the price difference between SD and CF wasn't all that apparent.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655553)

Compact Flash is similarly much more expensive than SD. I have no idea why Canon stuck to CF for their EOS 400D camera, years after SD "won" the format war (for phones/cameras etc).

Personally I have no idea why SD "won" the format war to begin with. I loved the fact that all I needed was a simple adapter and I could use my CF card on any laptop under any OS without drivers. I guess smaller automatically equals better these days. Who cares if you need to use a pair of tweezers to remove the memory card from your device.....

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655533)

You're getting screwed by your favorite shop. I bought my 8 GiB Memory Stick at Wal-Mart for $32. Here is a hint, look in the camera department & not the games department. Still quite a bit more then an equivalent SD card though.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

ji777 (1107063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655541)

I don't know what your favorite shop is... but I bought my last MS Duo card at Best Buy : 8GB for $20. Maybe it was a pricing error? I've never seen them for the prices you list, though.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655551)

Sony memory card pricing hurts them in many ways. It's one of the many reasons I won't buy a Sony camera (no, it's not that I can't pirate pictures or whatever).

Indeed, I avoid Sony cameras like the plague for this very reason.

However when I got a PSP, I picked myself a MicroSDHC to Memory Stick Pro Duo converter (something like this [amazon.com] although lots of other places do them).

The converter plus an 8GB card already starts to save you money and you don't get stuck with memory in the future that you cannot use elsewhere.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655173)

It is, in fact, the exact opposite of ironic. Even Alanis and the Robot Devil have a better sense of irony than that.

Re:Someone call Natalie (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655205)

In fact, it could be ironic - it all depends on the unmentioned intention.

Although, it would be a strange business strategy for Sony to drop the price of the Duo stick and increase their size in order to increase sales of UMD movies.

Like I always say, you just can't be up to them Japanese.

Re:Someone call Natalie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655189)

Yeah it is, Sony was trying to push UMD but its format was doing poorly because of its own Pro Duo advances.

Irony is not obvious to everyone (1, Offtopic)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655463)

I wish people didn't use the word ironic when they truly mean something akin to poetic justice. Irony is when a phrase has an opposite meaning than it's literal meaning or intended meaning. [reference.com]

What the author here is trying to convey is that it is cynically [reference.com] funny (funny to those who believe in human selfishness) that the two are correlated. Of course that does not equal causation [wikipedia.org] , but now I'm just getting off topic (PS: I love the lemon graph [wikipedia.org] at the top, I toss it in slide shows randomly to see if anyone is awake.)

Movie failure. (5, Insightful)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655037)

Sony can only blame itself for the failure of UMD movies. When the PSP first came out I was looking forward to having portable movies, but they cost significantly more than DVD's even though they were lower quality and could only be viewed on one device (the PSP 1000 had no video out), it was no wonder they didn't sell.

Movies??? - pfui - GAMES (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655303)

I have never bought a UMD movie, nor am I interested in watching a movie on a small screen. One of the kids bought one at a pawnshop once, and his comment on the viewing experience was "lame."

My entire concern here is that my family has a large number of games on the format (we have five people, and five PSPs -- many games we have 2 or more copies of so we can play machine to machine -- Tekken, race games, etc.), and the new machine won't play them. At all. As in we supported Sony and the game manufacturers, and they, in turn, have said "So what?" clearly and without any doubt WRT the new machine.

Consequently, we won't be buying the new machine.

It isn't even a matter of "voting with our wallets"; I mean, Sony didn't even give us a reason to buy the new machine. None. Zilch. Nada. Why in the *world* would we obsolete our PSP game library?

What we will probably do is pick up a full replacement set of the UMD-playing model so that our investment in games -- which is far more than our investment in the machines -- doesn't suddenly turn into nothing.

The same thing happened with the PS3s; we have PS3's with PS2 emulation hardware in them. Why would we buy PS3's without and obsolete all those PS2 games? We purchased backup machines with PS2 capability to protect the software investment and simply ignore the new, crippled machines.

Sony comes up with some fabulous products from time to time; but I think they make next-gen product decisions with a "lucky 8-ball" or something similar. The new PSP... complete non-starter around here.

Re:Movies??? - pfui - GAMES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655397)

See? You're part of the problem, pirate! Sharing your games around between 5 different PSPs. You should have bought 5 different copies and made sure you never used a single game in more than one PSP. How do you expect Sony to make money if you can just share these games among your family. This should be fixed with the PSP-go, you buy a separate copy for each device, with no way to transfer between them.

Re:Movies??? - pfui - GAMES (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655401)

You sound... uh... odd.

You really bought a backup PS3 just so you could keep playing PS2 games?

How often do you even care about playing a PS2 game?
I know since I got current-gen systems I've barely ever looked back. I think I played StarWars Battlefront once. Besides which, emulation is coming along well in the form of PCSX2. I find it almost unbelievable you would bother to spend all that money on a redundant PS3, or a whole new set of PSPs.

Hell, by the time your current lot start to break noticeably (and by that I mean more than one goes, because do you really need all 5 at the same time?) someone will likely have cracked the Go anyway.

Re:Movies??? - pfui - GAMES (4, Insightful)

calagan800xl (1001055) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655407)

Many people (including you apparently) don't get the fact that the PSPGo is not meant to be a replacement for the PSP-3000. The UMD-friendly PSP will still be available after the PSPGo's launch, so the comparison with the PS3 is not really relevant

Re:Movie failure. (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655343)

Sony has a long track record of shooting themselves in the foot. In the days of mini-disc, it required you to encode the music in the Sony proprietary format onto minidisc. As a result, recording stuff to minidisc took a long time, a 5 minute song took 5 minutes to record. Sony digital cameras force you to use Memory Stick, which is much more expensive than standard SD cards. Oh, and a Sony DVD player will not let you play DVDs from other regions.

Sony cares more about screwing their customers into proprietary lock than actually providing value. That's why Sony is doomed as a company.

Re:Movie failure. (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655447)

Yes, doomed I tell you!

Ignore the millions of units of PSPs, PS3s, cameras, tvs and everything else, they're doomed!

I love this site for this stuff. It's almost as if geeks believe in the legendary "informed consumer" who will act (en-masse in fact) to deny profit to companies that abuse him or her for their own ends. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world. Sony will continue to do just fine, and the people with technical/ethical problems with what they are doing will be swept under in a wave of apathy and "Oooh, shiny".

Seriously, Sony? *Seriously*? GTFO. (2, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655051)

Indeed, Sony was complaining of rampant PSP piracy for quite some time.

With games, they arguably have a fair point.

With movies ripped from DVD... WTF, Sony? Did you really think that people would buy the same movie on both DVD and UMD? Seriously? Fire the moron who thought that would fly.


People bought CDs of music they already had on vinyl or cassette or what-have-you because they had noticeably better quality (don't give me that vinyl-beats-CD crap, which even if it did hold true on a virgin record, doesn't once a diamond needle has ripped down all those those nice soft grooves). Once you talk about the same quality in 20 different physical formats, however, don't expect people to subsidize you for the rest of eternity rebuying your existing library in incrementally better formats.

Re:Seriously, Sony? *Seriously*? GTFO. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655441)

With movies ripped from DVD... WTF, Sony? Did you really think that people would buy the same movie on both DVD and UMD? Seriously? Fire the moron who thought that would fly.

Yeah, that's exactly what Sony, Universal, EMI, Warner, Columbia, Paramount, Walt Disney, NewsCorp, Viacom, Microsoft, Nintendo, and every other single digital media distributor / producer believes.

Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655099)

Both the Wii and DS are far more piracy ridden, and simpler to mod to allow copied games. I can't think why both of these are the #1 sellers by large margins in consoles and portables... It's certainly not the quality of titles. Just maybe people buy them knowing they have access to a huge library knowing they won't have to buy?

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (3, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655209)

I can't think why both of these are the #1 sellers by large margins in consoles and portables... It's certainly not the quality of titles.

Lolwut? The Wii sold almost entirely on stuff like Wii Sports and Wii Fit, neither of which is vulnerable to piracy and both reach out to many people who were not interested in gaming before. IF you're seriously going to argue that the DS has no good games I can only stare in disbelief.

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

calagan800xl (1001055) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655451)

Both the Wii and DS are far more piracy ridden, and simpler to mod to allow copied games.

Considering that you can hack any PSP for free (except the PSPGo for now), with no additional hardware, in a matter of minutes, I strongly disagree with this statement.

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655499)

Piracy has nothing to do with the strength of DRM. A baseline amount of DRM to make piracy non-trivial does show results, but beyond that market share is the only real factor.

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655469)

Of course Nintendo has an entirely different attitude to selling consoles. While Sony and Microsoft treat the console as a loos leader, making their money mainly through game licenses, Nintendo sells their consoles at a profit, thus not being hurt quite as much by piracy (more pirates mean more console sales, after all).

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655475)

OK, I know that anecdotal evidence really isn't acceptable, but based on the PSP owners I've talked to, I'm pretty sure I was the only person in North America who paid for PSP games. It was easily the most pirate friendly hand held console of it's generation.

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655529)

Exactly! For the big companies it's not become about making a profit, but about squeezing every penny of profit out of the customer, and I think they hinder themselves by doing it. However, I'm no economist.

Re:Piracy didn't harm nintendo (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655759)

Lol. Yeah, people aren't buying the entertainment console for the games; they're buying it for the free games that they could easily play on the PC?

Shockingly, not everybody likes the same games, and I have a slight hunch that maybe, just maybe, the people who purchased those systems liked the games available to them.

Or we can, uh, go with your theme: they really wanted to buy an Xbox360 to play Halo 3, but they couldn't afford it so they bought a cheaper Wii and then bought the modding tools so they could play different, inferior games.

Sony has no idea what they've just done. (1)

Capsy (1644737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655111)

As long as there are modders, hackers, pirates and nerds, people WILL find a way to pirate copyrighted material. And, since theyve made it an all digital format now, simply buying the software off the online store for the PSP Go HAS to save it SOMEWHERE into the device. Otherwise, it's unlikely that you'd have access to the game without some sort of WiFi. Now, being that the data is now in your possession, it's just a matter of cracking into the data files and extracting the game or whatever. Well done Sony, well done.

Biggest problem is the battery - not UMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655119)

The biggest problem with the PSP Go is the built-in battery which (unlike PSP 1000, 2000 and 3000) cannot be removed/replaced by the end-user. They will say as a result of the Pandora battery, but that was already taken care of by keeping Datel's Lite Blue Tool battery off the market ( http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/18/psp-3000-finally-inevitably-hacked-by-datels-lite-blue-tool/ ).

For all intents and purposes, the PSP Go should be renamed PSP Disposable, as if you battery has run through its allotment of charge/discharge cycles you might as well buy a new one... but what will that do to all the games you bought?! Right.

UMD and Minidisc (2, Insightful)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655141)

Their major blunder with the PSP/UMD was to redesign an existing concepot (the Minidisc) as the UMD to differentiate between the new shiny better one and the old.

Thing is, the Minidisc had a minor but loyal following, and in 2004 got a major upgrade with the Hi-MD format that allowed data and video to be trasnferred on top of music. And the major advantage of the format compared to the newfangled UMD was that it was rewritable.

If they had released the PSP with Minidisc games, videos and whatnot, I'm sure the console's story would have been completely different. Even with the Memory stick slot on the side. Both rewritable formats, and they'd have been SONY so presumably they wouldn't have lost anything. Of course that would have meant trusting the customers with an relatively open media, and that's something they're allergic to.

Instead they created the UMDs, closed and crippled them, and tried to sell them at the same price as full blown DVDs. No wonder it didn't take off. Meh.

Re:UMD and Minidisc (4, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655227)

Minidiscs are still extremely popular here in Japan. I don't really understand why, but virtually everybody I know has a minidisc system. I sometimes think Sony lives in a Japan-centric bubble. They make decisions based on what they can get away with in Japan (quite a lot) and figure it will work for the rest of the world. It really doesn't. Slowly, though, I see things changing. The high school students I teach here are moving away from Sony as far as I can tell. I wouldn't be surprised if in 10 years Sony collapses based on their inability to see reality.

Re:UMD and Minidisc (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655575)

I found my old Minidisc recorder about two months ago. I'd had it since college, making it a decade old. The disc inside played flawlessly, the sound quality was as good as any mid-spec MP3 player (RAW audio, don't forget), and found a couple of albums for which the CDs were damaged.

My only issue with it is it now is extremely slow to copy music to compared to flash storage; It's audiostream recording.

Re:UMD and Minidisc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655669)

Man minidisc was great at a time when CD's were norm for portable music media, I loved them! Had a full CD/Minidisc home unit for copying tracks from CD straight to MD. Editing tracks on my portable player in my hand, most MP3 players still don't allow that today!

Re:UMD and Minidisc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655337)

Minidiscs wouldn't have worked for them because they were writable. This would make copying games easy, and let people copy DVDs to them, cutting Sony out of the big bucks they expected selling everyone new copies of movies on UMD.

Sony is just adjusting to reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655185)

It is very simple:

As soon as a hacked PSP with a big memorystick containing all the pirated games that you play has a user experience that is many times better than the official route of bringing a pile of those tiny, easily scratched, slow loading UMD's with your PSP, the choice is easy.
UMD was a completely obsolete platform in a time where flashmemory and downloads had already won the battle and hackers like darkalex forced the PSP to that modern level.
The only choice sony has is to make the user experience for the legit-route beat the pirated route, and UMD is not part of that.

Thanks, Sony! (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655211)

Maybe my kids' PSP-3000s and legit UMD games will have added resale value because of this move on Sony's part.

Do you even think before writing this tripe? (1, Interesting)

oGMo (379) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655261)

They cited "legal and technical issues" for not supporting the transfer of UMD games onto the PSP Go; undoubtedly they couldn't find a way to keep pirated games from being copied.

This makes no sense. Think about it. Seriously, two-second consideration here. First, this is a platform based solely on downloadable games. If they have problems with piracy, especially rampant piracy cutting into game sales, it makes no sense to develop this platform. So either they have means to prevent it, or it doesn't matter because it applies to everything else on the platform. Second, since it either exists or doesn't matter, it can't be that particularly difficult to have someone insert a UMD into their old PSP, verify a signature, then provide a downloadable version with whatever anti-piracy measures are in place.

Really this almost certainly comes down to licensing and legal issues, who's allowed to distribute and how. Tracking down and getting agreements from every single publisher for all titles would definitely be a bit of a legal and technical issue.

Sony could've gone the other way (2)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655287)

So the PSP was such a good product that people where jailbreaking it and using it for all sorts of things (like playing movies), not just gaming. They were getting their games from independent sources and even playing PS1 games on it. They were playing movies directly from the memory stick without paying for Sony's overpriced movies.

Sony was selling the PSP at a loss and trying to make it up from overpriced games and overpriced movies. Since people were not buying as many games and movies from Sony as expected this wasn't working.

The old Sony (from 15 years ago) would've done the following:
- Open up the console themselves so that people wouldn't need to jailbreak it
- Pitch it as an open, portable multimedia + gaming device. Sell it for more money because people were buying it for the extra features.

The new Sony did the following:
- Tried to patch the holes that allowed for the jailbreaking. These could only be patch with a new version of the console and new holes were discovered within a week of the old ones being patched. Consoles already out before the patch still had the old holes.
- Came up with a completely new PSP with stronger DRM, such as having the firmware version tied to the games so that new games would force firmware upgrades thus closing existing holes in consoles with older firmware. The new PSP is NOT backwards compatible with the old one, adds no value for consumers (it actually reduces value) and costs more money.

Yet another situation where Sony shows how they went from a company that "was proud to do the best quality products and could sell them at a premium" to a Sony that "trades the quality-value that their brand name acquired in the past for pushing to consumers inferior products designed to have Sony get paid extra when users actually use their products".

This is why I stopped buying Sony altogether years ago (I distrust their products and expect them to, by design, force me to pay Sony extra money when use them) and never looked back.

Re:Sony could've gone the other way (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655455)

The old sony has been dead for almost 20 years, I think the downfall came long before the memory stick and even the media buyout they did, the media division just enforced the shift which already was underway before.
Remember the mini disk it came before sony bough the film division, it was dead on arrival due to sonys high pricing and the inability to have digital outs as well as their proprietary atrac codec.
It could have replaced the aging floppy disks, but it did not. The 3.5 inch floppy disk was pretty much the last open standard they were able to get out of the door, since then it was vendor and user lockin.
I think every company goes through this transition once they are successful enough, I think the deathnail for sony was the walkman after that they dropped the user friendlyness. And it shows, show me how much brand recognition Sony has nowadays, they only are known for overpriced junk which locks you in. Except for the playstation everyone tries to avoid Sony as much as possible outside of Japan. The status Sony once had now has been moved to Apple.

Re:Sony could've gone the other way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655477)

By your reasoning, you never touch Apple or Microsoft products either. Or are you a hypocrite?

Re:Sony could've gone the other way - pure utopia (1)

calagan800xl (1001055) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655521)

The old Sony (from 15 years ago) would've done the following:
- Open up the console themselves so that people wouldn't need to jailbreak it
- Pitch it as an open, portable multimedia + gaming device. Sell it for more money because people were buying it for the extra features.

Although I've been around since betamax, I've never heard of the "old Sony" or any other major competitor that would be suicidal enough to open up their console as you suggest. The friendly koreans from GamePark attempted it, but they won't be around for much longer.

Optical drive didn't make sense (2)

Comboman (895500) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655353)

Putting an optical drive on a portable device didn't make sense, and Sony did the right thing to get rid of it (though a little too late). Load times for games are slow, discs can easily be scratched and (most importantly for a portable device) it kills the battery.

Re:Optical drive didn't make sense (2, Informative)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655731)

UMDs could easily be scratched because some genius at SONY R&D decided it would be a good idea to remove the protective sliding cover for whatever reason. Minidiscs have the same form-factor (with slightly cosmetic differences) and a protection over the opening for when the disc is not in use. Just like floppies. They are extremely robust and can last for years without any issue. My first MDs from 12 years ago still work like new.

Now loading time and battery issues, that's another story. :)

Summary: UMD not proprietary enough (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655389)

So Sony released the PSP along with their UMD, repeating the same mistake Sony's made since BetaMax. UMDs only work on PSPs, therefore Sony will have the monopoly on the platform. Now it turns out that nobody likes UMDs, and they can be defeated by hacking the firmware and using another proprietary Sony format, MemoryStick, onto which people can load videos that they own.

So Sony decides to enclose completely the PSP. Hell, I'd be surprised if you even own the hardware.

The only "victory" Sony had using this technique is Blu-Ray, and that's been flying off the shelves, hasn't it?

To Quote Dr. Cox... (1)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655513)

"Here you've put me in a tough situation: I can't honestly decide whether to say, 'Duh,' uh, 'Doy,' or a very sarcastic, 'Oh, really?'" Regardless of who cooks up the new device/format, is this the first time since the "digital revolution" someone has tried to dupe consumers into thinking they were paying for the physical and/or digital media format itself, rather than what I guess you would call Intellectual Property usage rights? No. And it's definitely not the first time a significant enough number of people savvied up and refused to play their rigged game. The piracy thing, IMHO, has been, and will continue to be a back-burner issue that they're more than eager to substitute for the fair use question. At least Sony didn't try to make a mountain range out of that molehill, but just moved on.

Re:To Quote Dr. Cox... (1)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655545)

...they're more than eager...

should be

...most companies/media groups are more than eager...

Technical Issues (2, Insightful)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29655719)

They cited "legal and technical issues" for not supporting the transfer of UMD games onto the PSP Go; undoubtedly they couldn't find a way to keep pirated games from being copied.

...Yeah right. When the UMD was first released Sony expected people to re-buy their movies on UMD discs. And now people are surprised the hear that Sony expects them to re-buy games?

I'd say the only technical issue they ran into was not being able to find a way to charge for the service of transferring your UMD disc to your Go's flash.

What's UMD and PSP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29655789)

Really folks please lets only use abbreviations after telling us what it is.

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