Hello Sony? It’s me, Common Sense

Hey there Sony, it’s your old friend common sense. Long time no see right? Well, listen, I know we haven’t talked much since you didn’t invite me to that 2006 E3 conference, and I’d love to reminisce about those times we hung out and you moved to the CD format and revolutionized the industry, or added a DVD player to your system and changed how a game console was viewed as the central home entertainment piece, but the truth is that I came here to talk about something serious.

I heard about your new patent you see. You know, the one that in only a couple of years could theoretically allow you to end the sale of used games by flagging them and preventing the discs from being used on other systems? The one that sent Gamestop’s stock tumbling down 5% at just the idea of it? You know the one right? You do? Oh great man. Great.

It’s just, I thought I should be the one to tell you it’s not a good idea. Take it from me that it just doesn’t make sense. I know you grind your teeth (a practice I also don’t advise) every time you think of the used game market and the money that Gamestop alone takes from it that you essentially don’t see a dime of, just like I know that it makes your blood boil to think of it as anything less than organized piracy. And hey, you don’t need to tell me that if all of those used game profits went back into yours, and the developer’s, pockets, then you could theoretically change the literal fortune of the industry either. Remember, this is your old pal common sense. I get that.

But you can’t honestly believe that you wield a position of unscrupulous power that would allow you to get away with this do you? You do understand that Microsoft and Nintendo (who at least call me for drinks once in a while…just saying) have equal or larger market shares worldwide to boast about , and used the entire last generation for the lone goal of making people forget the name Playstation was once synonymous with video games right? I mean, you know that actually implementing such an idea would only drive gamers to those systems in droves, and as they make the kind of profits you only dreamed about with this act precisely by not implementing it, you could only sit and watch as every loyalist you had jumps ship?

What are you thinking man? Do you believe that you somehow have enough exclusive titles that gamers will still stick with you through this? I got news for you pal, “Uncharted” and “God of War” don’t come out that often. Or maybe you think the massive fan support that the new kid on the block the “Ouya” generated with exactly the opposite kind of philosophy that you are proposing was just a fluke? Or that should Valve release the Steam Box it wouldn’t be the most anticipated console to hit the market in years? Did the Playstation Move, Home, the PSP and Vita, and Wonderbook somehow become amazing successes when I wasn’t paying attention, so you’re not worrying about the repercussions of your actions anymore?

Ok, that was harsh. I apologize.

I Mean, Just Because Someone Else Had It First Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t a Good Idea Right?

But really my point is this. You’ve changed Sony. You used to be cool. You brought people a system in the Playstation that for the first time got the kids who used to beat up other kids for playing video games, playing the same video games. You changed the world overnight by supporting “Final Fantasy VII”, and shaped a new generation of controller design with the Dualshock. You’ve given countless runaway and unwanted developers and properties homes and turned them into favorite sons. Hell, you invented the Playstation 2!

Yet look at you now. Drawing up papers that would screw over the little guy the world over so you can maintain your finger grip grasp on video game mountain, rather than lend a hand to consumers in greater need. You’d rather sink retail stores, and make gamers pay a premium on all titles they buy, and force parents to work harder to afford the games their kids want for their birthdays or Christmas, just so you can theoretically see profits grow without any creative effort on your part. Also, even just selling this technology to developers for their optional use as you’re rumored to do, doesn’t make this any better than peddling drugs rather than using them.

Maybe this whole idea is just a bluff, but let me tell you something most people know. Puffing up your chest to look bigger, doesn’t really make you bigger.

But hey, I don’t want this to be a fight between us Sony. I just want you to know, that I know, that you would never actually do something so monumentally stupid as attempting to ban the sale of used games. I know that, because should you go through with it, there won’t even be the need for a fight, because in every respect in which success in this industry is measured,  you will have lost right out of the gate.

How do I know that? Well, far be it for me to brag, but it is just common sense.

Sony sees iPad as a gateway to the PSP

iPad gaming.Someone needs to sit down with John Koller, Sony’s hardware marketing manager, and give him a quick lesson on cause and effect. He seems to think the iPad, as with the iPod Touch and iPhone, will drive PSP sales for customers looking for “deeper, richer console.” Personally, I think he’s nuts.

The numbers look good – the PSP and PSP Go have tripled in combined sales since the launch of the iPhone. But that doesn’t make the two related. My guess is the price of the PSP has gone down so much and the units have been hacked so many times that it’s become accessible enough to encourage a lot of gamers to buy.

I talk a lot on Gadget Teaser about the death of dedicated devices and the future of the all-in-wonder. I think handheld gaming is following the trend toward multi-purpose machines. Apple has simply put together a better system for supporting that kind of platform. If Sony doesn’t make some changes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see PSP sales plateau in the next 2 years.

Source: WSJ

Firmware 3.15 will make PSP Minis playable on PS3

PSP Minis on a PSPgo.There’s another firmware update coming to the PS3, build 3.15, that will allow the system to finally play those PSP Minis. Yes, at long last you can make just one purchase of those overpriced little one-hitters and play them on your console.

It looks like the update works with titles you’ve already purchased as well. Just head to your download list and you can pick up the game on your console. The update also makes it a little easier to transfer data from one PS3 to another, a nice little bonus for those of you who picked up the PS3 Slim. The new data transfer is a simple LAN connection that dumps everything over to your new rig.

For full details on the patch, hit up the Playstation Blog.

Gameloft’s Making Bank With Franchise Knock-offs

Gameloft logo.As the popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch as a gaming platform continues to grow, developers are throwing serious amounts of time and money into creating games for the App Store. That doesn’t mean those games are anything new, though. A lot of them have roots in more established parts of the gaming industry. Hell, some of the best titles are coming from big studios like EA. Others, though, are capitalizing on the platform by selling simple knockoffs.

If you’ve played Gangster you know what I’m talking about. Or Modern Combat: Sandstorm. The two titles from Gameloft are completely transparent spinoffs of games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, they’re actually making some money. Gameloft had a chance to show off their latest creation at Apple’s media event today: NOVA. The game puts you in the suit of a space marine, where you’ll be blasting your enemies with futuristic looking battle…er…assault rifles. Yes, assault rifles.

Obviously Gameloft’s latest spinoff is a Halo clone, but it actually looks pretty decent, and there’s a multiplayer feature. NOVA will have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth multiplayer support so you can frag your friends virtually anywhere. Imagine jumping on the subway and hopping into a game CTF. There are worse ways to pass the time, right?

PSP Go Domain Owner Gets Spiteful

Pspgo.co.uk isn't what you'd think.I’d say the number of people who try to guess at domain names are few and far between these days. Google’s become a household name, and with that comes the expectation that when you’re looking for something, you’ll probably look there first. That didn’t stop the owner of pspgo.co.uk from getting a little spiteful with his domain address.

Doesn’t look much like a PSP Go page, now does it? That’s actually a clone of Nintendo’s DSi site. While the owner hasn’t officially come out and said it, it seems likely that someone is a little pissed he hasn’t been offered a fat wad of cash for the site.

You will of course notice that there is no site for pspgo.com and I’d call it a watertight bet that Sony just doesn’t care about having direct traffic from pspgo.co.uk. If someone is really dying to get their hands on a PSP Go (they’re barking up the wrong tree here), I’m sure, and it seems so is Sony, that the individual in question will resort to other means.

Sony Considered Second Analog Stick for the PSP Go

The PSP Go hands-on.Stories like this make me want to smack someone at Sony. Hard. Preferably on or around the mouth. In the most recent issue of Game Informer, Sony executive Shuhei Yoshida said the company had “a very serious discussion” about adding a second analog stick to the PSP Go but decided against it for fear of splintering the market.

Judging by the latest NPD numbers, that was a totally brilliant strategy. Nintendo’s DS sold more than 4 times as many units as the PSP, which came in at a meager 163,500. I’m not sure why you would be so concerned about splintering the market when you’re actually losing it. And for what? To stick to the 10-year plan for all consoles? That’s what Yoshida says.

“We are talking about the mid-life cycle of this platform,” he told Game Informer. I’ve got news for Yoshida – you might not make it to the end. Ignoring your customer base is a sure way to produce abysmal sales numbers. If the PSP keeps tracking as is, the next five years will be one ugly ride.

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