Pic of the day: At least the Sims 2 will come to PSP any day now (mid December last I heard). That's a CONSOLation for us who have been stupid enough to buy the over-advanced handheld console. (Official screenshot from the Sims2 web site.)
My impression of Sony's PlayStation Portable is the same as when I first got it. This is not good, because it's a couple months ago, and my impression then was this: "It is pretty, it's a marvelous piece of engineering, and there is nothing to use it for." There still isn't.
You can use the built-in web browser if you are in an area with WiFi connection. But if you are, you probably have a computer there already. Or if not, you are probably just traveling through. Besides, without a keyboard it is hard enough to switch between your favorite web pages. To search on google is not practical, and write e-mail is close to impossible. I guess you can check MSN.com at the airport or something, but how often does anyone do that? And how likely are you to surf the web on a screen the size of a woman's hand except the first time to see that it is actually possible?
Something similar holds for movies. It sure is impressive that you can watch movies on a machine that goes in your purse or coat pocket. But you are not likely to actually do it, because movies are so much better on a large screen.
The handheld console could really need a game that uses its advanced technology. So far however there has been no "killer application" like Nintendogs for Nintendo DS, which caused ordinary housewives to buy the game even though they had never played computer games before. They did not buy a game, they bought an electronic dog. Now Nintendo has done it again, by launching games you can play over the Internet from almost any wireless zone, including McDonalds. This was what Sony should have done: The PSP has built-in wireless support as well, and already uses it for web surfing and software updates.
There is a game being translated to English now that actually uses the amazing graphics in the PSP. Key of Heaven (or "Kingdom of Paradise" as an US box shot calls it) is a Japanese martial arts & magic adventure with photo-realistic graphics and special effects similar to City of Heroes for the PC. Its control system is every bit as promising: You can create combinations of attacks and assign them to keys, so you don't have to twist your fingers when you run into fights. (You will have to twist your brain a little more instead, I guess.) I suppose I will take a look at it when it comes to Europe in 2006, if I'm still around and still have such interests.
But it is hardly a niche-creating application. There isn't one for the PSP yet. In other words, unless you have some scientific interest in watching the progress of technology, you would do well to ignore the PSP until further notice.
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.