The announcement of a new console is like a wave advancing on the beach. It rushes toward you bubbling and frothing, promising so much while developers, like magical sea-horses, ride the wave bringing with them the promise of dazzling new games for this wondrous new platform. So it has been since the announcement of Sony’s forthcoming PSP portable. Excited developers salivating over specs and offering the promise of great new original games for the format.
Unfortunately, soon after release, I predict that reality will set in. Another portable platform means another bunch of licenses and conversions for the publishers. While a few may sign some original titles for the PSP launch I believe that this will quickly change. Just as it did with the Game Boy Advance, the early promise will evaporate, the froth will dissipate and the wave of excitement recede down the hard stony beach, leaving nothing but empty broken seashells and a bunch of zero effort licensed games.
The reasons I believe this will be the case are as follows:
1. Management costs – to create original PSP games will require management resources exclusive to that game (as it wont be appearing on other platforms). Why would publishers make this additional investment when they can simply include PSP into a multi-format title release for little or no extra cost.
2. This is exactly what happened with GBA. There is no reason to expect anything different from the publishers this time around.
3. The PSP is being referred to as “a portable PS2”. That three word phrase is enough to doom the PSP on its own. Remember the launch of the GBA? “It’s a portable SNES, It has the same power as a SNES, You could do Mario Kart style games just like the SNES.” The fact that the GBA wasn’t actually a portable SNES (from a hardware point of view) didn’t matter. How many SNES games did we see on the GBA? Anyone care to open a sweepstakes on how long it takes the first publisher to sign a developer to port a PS2 game to PSP?
I shall take my shoes and socks off in preparation for a quick paddle in the advancing waves but I wont bother changing into my swimming trunks. I think the tide will have turned and the waves retreated, long before I have had time for a decent swim.