Released in September 2005 on UK shores, the PSP was an innovative piece of technology which took handheld console gaming to a whole new level. Although more recently Sony has replaced the PSP with the Playstation Vita, it’s great to eulogise about the ‘state of the art’ features which made it great and ahead of its time in many ways.
It could Play Movies
Like no other handheld console before it, the PSP had the capability of playing movies. Using the same cartridges as the games, many chart movies were launched on the format (known as UMD’s) with relatively good success. It meant that the PSP became one of the first ever devices to offer users the ability to watch films and TV shows on the go. The big, wide screen helped to make movies appear exactly how they should without losing any of the ‘wow’ factor you get from watching them on the TV at home.
Internet & Bluetooth Connectivity
The PSP was the first handheld console which could connect to the internet. This allowed it to interact with other devices – most importantly the Playstation 3 when this was launched around one year later. When both consoles were connected over Wi-Fi you could share data between the two – a first in terms of integration between living room and portable devices. The PSP also had Bluetooth capabilities, meaning that files could be shared with the device, for example adding music from your phone to the console, or sharing more info with the Playstation 3. You could even use the handheld version as a remote control for the PS3 when connected this way.
Download Extras from the Online Store
A feature that proved hugely popular was the ability to download extra content straight to the device using the Wi-Fi connectivity. Sony’s Playstation Network allowed users to find games, demos, music and other valuable content and download it straight to the device, meaning that for the first time it wasn’t completely necessary to have the physical copy of the game in order to play it. This is something which has led to other manufacturers offering similar online stores to their own gamers.
Although there were consoles prior to the PSP which had the ability to store game info on memory cards (namely the first two Playstation consoles and the Nintendo 64), the PSP was where expandable memory started to get serious. A variety of different memory types were supported, depending on the model of PSP. The additional flash memory allowed users to store games which had been downloaded from the Playstation Network, while also giving the option to have a way of taking extra music and photos with users on their travels.
About the author
Richard Lipton is a gaming enthusiast with a particular interest for handheld consoles. As a Sony fan he recently sold his PSP – despite it being one of his favourite ever purchases – and used the money to invest in the new Playstation Vita which is is playing every single day!