Things The PSP Did Better Than Most Other Handheld Consoles
PSP managed to innovate in several ways compared to many other handheld consoles. Here’s where it excelled.
The Sony Playstation Portable, or PSP, was a handheld gaming console released in 2005. While it was not as successful as its main rival, the Nintendo DS, it still managed to carve out a niche for itself and offer a number of features that set it apart from other handheld consoles.
The PSP managed over 80 million sales and was extremely successful, while it didn’t reach the heights of the DS, it still goes down as one of the best, and most innovative devices in gaming history. And with its success came a lot of things it did better than its competitors.
One of the most notable things that the PSP did better than other handheld consoles was its graphics. The PSP was powered by a custom 333 MHz processor and had a high-resolution 4.3-inch screen, which allowed it to display games with much higher quality graphics than other handheld consoles at the time. This made it a popular choice for gamers who wanted a more immersive and visually striking gaming experience on the go.
This also made the PSP home for a lot of high-budget, action-adventure games with set-pieces and strong visuals, in a way the Nintendo DS simply couldn’t do.
An Entire Multimedia System
The PSP was exceptional for playing games of course, but what made this console impressive, and really set it apart from any other handheld console ever was everything else it could do. The PSP, through various partnerships, had a top-quality comic book reader as well. There were multiple different publishers who made their comic books available for purchase.
The PSP also had a basic web browser, on which players could open up to three tabs and carry out most Internet functions at a basic level. Most important, however, was the PSP’s media players. Sony made sure the PSP had a top-notch music player and players could essentially download as much music as they want onto their PSP, make catalogs, and form playlists. Lastly, the PSP could even play videos and even movies with its inbuilt UMD drive, letting users watch movies on the go.
Modern Sony consoles are synonymous with exclusives, but the PSP had a solid collection of exclusive games it could lean heavily on. These were all distinctly different from what Nintendo offers as well. With the likes of God of War: Chains of Olympus, GTA: Liberty City Stories, and MGS: Peace Walker.
Along with this were multiple iterations of the Final Fantasy Series as well as games. Along with a host of strategy RPGS that hold critical acclaim; Tactics Ogre, Valkyria Chronicles, and Final Fantasy Tactics.
One of the key reasons for the PSP’s success was its design. The PSP had a sleek and stylish design that was unlike any other handheld console at the time. It featured a clamshell form factor, with a large 4.3-inch screen on one half and the buttons and control sticks on the other. This design made it easy to hold and use, and also protected the screen from scratches and damage.
The PSP also had a large selection of colors and designs available, which allowed users to personalize their device and make it stand out. Additionally, the PSP was also designed with a UMD (Universal Media Disc) drive which allowed it to play games and movies on UMD discs. These designs were improved and tweaked throughout multiple iterations of the console which made it fresh and new and attracted customers. The design was different from any previous handheld console and yet it was still relatively comfortable and accessible.
An aspect of the PSP that set it apart from its competitors was its built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. As mentioned above, this allowed users to download music, do web browsing, look up guides, walkthroughs, and tips for the games they were playing there and then- on the go.
Coupled with this was the console’s insane battery life, the best in the market for sure. This made the PSP convenient for long gaming sessions, road trips, and flights, without the need to stress about charging all the time.
The PSP was audacious, it represented Sony entering a market every industry expert thought was dead for anything non-Nintendo, and yet the PSP made its mark. How? It just had everything, featuring over 1300 games over its lifespan meant the PSP was arguably the best place to play games, its impressive graphics, and incredible display only added to this.
over, it set the blueprint for all consoles to follow, making gaming machines a truly all-purpose buy and acting as home entertainment systems. The PSP did this through its third-party integration, focusing heavily on system software, and even venturing into truly wireless multiplayer, and this multiplayer was surprisingly reliable, especially for games such as Naruto Ultimate Ninja.
All in all, what set the PSP apart from its competition was how much it focused on delivering to players a complete experience, having everything anyone at the time could ask for, and more.
Sony Playstation Portable. PSP
At the time of it’s original release, the PSP was very expensive and I wasn’t too interested in another handheld device. Nintendo took care of that at a better price point for me. The PSP never really appealed to me until the device really faded with the NGP announcement. With shelves still stocked with used PSP titles, I decided it was time to snag a PSP 3000.
Sony Playstation Portable PSP. Technical Specifications
The Playstation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) is a handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Corporation Development of the console was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on May 11, 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in the PAL region on September 1, 2005.
The Playstation Portable is the first handheld video game console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), as its primary storage medium. Other distinguishing features of the console include its large viewing screen, robust multi-media capabilities, and connectivity with the Playstation 2, Playstation 3, other PSPs, and the Internet.
After the release of a remodeled, slimmer, and lighter version of the Playstation Portable, titled Slim Lite, in early September 2007, sales quadrupled in the United Kingdom the following week and increased by nearly 200% in North America for the month of October. The PSP-3000 had a minor redesign including a new screen and inbuilt microphone, and has since been followed by the PSP Go.
Sony first announced development of the Playstation Portable at a press conference before E3 2003. Although mock-ups of the system were not present at the press conference or E3, Sony did release extensive technical details regarding the new system. Then-CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Ken Kutaragi called the device the “Walkman of the 21st Century” in a reference to the console’s multimedia capabilities. Several gaming websites were impressed by the handheld’s computing capabilities and looked forward to the system’s potential as a gaming platform.
The first concept images of the PSP appeared in November 2000 at the Sony Corporate Strategy Meeting and showed a PSP with flat buttons and no analog stick. Although some expressed concern over the lack of an analog joystick, these fears were allayed when the PSP was officially unveiled at the Sony press conference during E3 2004. In addition to announcing more details about the system and its accessories, Sony also released a list of 99 developer companies that had pledged support for the new handheld. Several PSP game demos, such as Konami’s Metal Gear Acid and SCE Studio Liverpool’s Wipeout Pure were also shown at the conference.
On October 17, 2004, Sony announced that the PSP would launch in Japan on December 12, 2004, at a price of 19,800 (about US181 in 2004) for the base model and 24,800 (about US226 in 2004) for the Value System. The console’s launch was a success with over 200,000 units sold the first day. Different color variations were also sold in bundle packs, which cost more than usual, around 200. Sony announced on February 3, 2005, that the PSP would go on sale in North America on March 24, 2005, in one configuration for a MSRP of US249/CA299. Some expressed concern over the high price, which was almost US20 higher than the system’s price in Japan and more than 100 higher than the recently launched Nintendo DS. Despite the concerns, the PSP’s North American launch was a success, although reports two weeks later indicated that the system was not selling as well as expected despite Sony‘s claim that 500,000 units had been sold in the first two days.
The PSP was originally to have a simultaneous PAL region and North American launch, but on March 15, 2005, Sony announced that the PAL region launch would be delayed because of high demand for the console in Japan and North America. A month later, on April 25, 2005, Sony announced that the PSP would launch in the PAL region on September 1, 2005. Sony defended the high price, which was nearly US100 higher than in North America, by pointing out that North American consumers had to pay local sales taxes and that the VAT (sales tax) was higher in the UK than the US. Despite the high price, the console’s PAL region launch was a resounding success, selling more than 185,000 units in the UK alone, selling out of all stock nationwide in the UK within three hours of launch, more than doubling the previous first-day sales record of 87,000 units set by the Nintendo DS. The system also enjoyed great success in other areas of the PAL region with more than 25,000 units preordered in Australia and nearly one million units sold across Europe in the first week.
- v4.3 inches
- 3.8 inches
- 480 272 pixels (16:9 Aspect Ratio)
- 24-bit Color (16.77 Million colors) vFour Brightness Levels (200, 180, 130, 80 cd/m2)
Internal NAND flash used by System Software is partitioned into 4 sectors:
- flash0, contains system firmware. 23.9 MB (PSP-1000)
- flash1, contains system settings. 3.92 MB (PSP-1000)
- flash2, empty. 944 KB (PSP-1000)
- flash3, empty. 880 KB (PSP-1000)
Internal flash uses the FAT32 file system. Memory Stick media is compatible with both FAT and FAT32, although devices measuring 4 GB or more must use the FAT32 file system.
- Built in Stereo Speakers
- Built in Microphone
- Powered by Media Engine Chip’s embedded Virtual Mobile Engine (VME)
- Multichannel Audio
- 3D Sound
- Synthesizer, Effector and Equalizer
- ATRAC3 plus, AAC, WMA and MP3 support.
- WMA support requires activation by accepting an end user licence agreement
- 60 mm Disc Diameter
- 660 nm Laser Diode
- Dual-Layer Storage Capacity of up to 1.8 GB
- Transfer Rate of up to 11 Mbit/s (1.375 MB/s)
- Secure ROM by AES RSA Crypto System
- Unique Disc IDs
- Distribute System Software Updates
- 5 V DC @ 2000mA from AC Adapter
- 5 V DC from USB Charging Mode
- 3.7 V Li-Ion Battery
- Sony CXD2962GG CPU
- Based on MIPS R4000 32-bit Core
- 90 nm Semiconductor CMOS Process
- 1-333 MHz (set at 222 MHz by default) @ 1.2 V
- 16 KB Instruction Cache / 16 KB Data Cache
- 32 MB eDRAM @ 2.6 Gbps
- Embedded FPU
- Embedded Vector FPU @ 2.6 GFLOPS
- Embedded Graphics Core:
- 1-166 MHz (set at 111 MHz by default) @ 1.2 V
- 256-bit Bus at 5.3 Gbps
- 2 MB eDRAM (VRAM)
- 3D Curved Surface and 3D Polygon
- Compressed Textures
- Hardware Clipping, Morphing, Bone(8)
- Hardware Tessellator
- Bzier surface, Bzier curve and B-Spline (NURBS)
- 44, 1616, 6464 Subdivision
- Sony CXD1876 CPU
- Based on MIPS R4000 32-bit Core
- 90 nm Semiconductor CMOS Process
- 1-333 MHz (set at 222 MHz by default) @ 1.2 V
- 16 KB Instruction Cache / 16 KB Data Cache
- 2 MB eDRAM @ 2.6 Gbps
- Embedded Virtual Mobile Engine (VME) Sound Core
- Reconfigurable DSP Engine
- 1-166 MHz (set at 166 MHz by default) @ 1.2 V
- 128-bit Bus
- 24-bit Data Path
- 5 GFlops
Integrated or Support Chips:
- IDStorage Keys, stores screen brightness, volume, region, date, time and BIOS data also known as the Ipl
- Tachyon, version information for CPU, Media Engine, and Graphic Cores
- Baryon, version information for the PSP’s system control chip
- Pommel, the PSP’s GPIO and Watchdog
- Kirk, the PSP’s main encryption processor
- Spock, secondary encryption processor, used to decrypt signed UMD data
The PSP-2000 (marketed in PAL areas as “PSP Slim Lite” and still marketed as PSP in North America, Japan, China, India, Italy, and Portugal) is the first redesign of the Playstation Portable.
At E3 2007, Sony released information about a slimmer and lighter version of the Playstation Portable. The new PSP was announced to be 33% lighter and 19% slimmer than the original PSP system. The model numbers were changed to PSP-2000, following the previous region-based numbering scheme (cf. the PSP-1000 numbering scheme of the “old” PSP model).
It was released on August 30, 2007, in Hong Kong, on September 5, 2007, in Europe, on September 6, 2007, in North America, September 7, 2007, in South Korea and September 12, 2007, in Australia. On January 8, 2008, built-in Skype Wi-Fi Internet phone service was added via firmware updates.
In comparison to the PSP-2000, the PSP-3000 (marketed in PAL areas as “PSP Slim Lite (with enhanced screen built in microphone)” and still marketed as PSP in North America and Japan) has an improved LCD screen with an increased color range, five times the contrast ratio, half the pixel response time to reduce ghosting and blurring effects, a new sub-pixel structure, a microphone, a new disc tray design, new button designs and logos, and anti-reflective technology to improve outdoor playability. It can also output all games by component or composite using the video out cable.
In its first four days on sale, the PSP-3000 sold 141,270 units in Japan, according to Famitsu. In October 2008, the PSP-3000 sold 267,000 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.
The PSP Slim Lite system is 19% thinner and 33% lighter than the original PSP system (reduced from 23 mm to 18.6 mm and from 280 grams [9.87 ounces] to 189 grams [6.66 ounces]). Internal changes to achieve this include the removal of a metal chassis (used to reduce damage in the event of sudden trauma to the system resulting from the user dropping the system on a hard surface). However, users have complained about generally poor hardware assembly like misaligned faceplates and loose/creaky battery covers.
Other changes include improved WLAN modules and Micro-controller, and a thinner and much brighter LCD. To target the original PSP generation’s poor load times for UMD games, the internal memory (RAM and Flash ROM) was doubled from 32 MB to 64 MB, which also improved the web browser’s performance.
To make the PSP slimmer, the capacity of the battery was reduced by 1/3. However, due to more efficient power usage, the run time of the PSP is still the same as the previous model. Older model batteries will still work which extends the amount of playing time. However, the battery cover on the newer model does not fit over the older battery due to its bulkier size. The batteries take about one and a half hours to charge and last roughly 4.5-7 hours depending on factors such as screen brightness settings, WLAN and volume levels.
In mid-December 2007, Sony released the PSP Extended Life Battery Kit, which includes a 2200 mAh battery with a battery cover that fits over the bulkier battery included, initially only available in North America. The kit comes with two new battery covers, one black and one silver. In March 2008 the Extended Battery Kit was released in Japan. However, unlike the North American kit, the batteries are sold individually with one specific cover. There are three separate kits; one kit includes a black cover, one includes a silver cover and one includes a white cover.
External appearance, inputs and outputs
The PSP Slim Lite has a new gloss finish. The serial port was also modified in order to accommodate a new video-out feature (while rendering older PSP remote controls incompatible). In PSP-2000, PSP games will only output to external monitors or TVs in progressive scan mode, so televisions incapable of supporting progressive scan will not display PSP games. Non-game video outputs fine in either progressive or interlaced mode. USB charging was made possible (the PSP Slim will only charge while it is in “USB mode”. It cannot be charged via USB when playing a game). However, there are unofficial USB charge plug-in downloads for charging the PSP with a USB without the need for being in USB mode. The D-Pad was raised in response to complaints of poor performance, while buttons offer improved responsiveness, confirmed in the GameSpot “hands-on” review: “several GameSpot editors have noticed that the d-pad and buttons on the new PSP provide a little more tactile feedback for a better overall feel.”
A new simpler and more compact UMD loading tray design was developed, in which the tray swivels out instead of opening up completely, while the Wi-Fi switch was moved to the top of the PSP. To address many consumer complaints about the Memory Stick door breaking off the old PSP, the Memory Stick door has been relocated and redesigned. The speakers were repositioned on the front of the PSP near the top of its screen. The infra-red port was also removed because it offered no use to the original PSP generation other than in homebrew applications. Its analog stick was also redesigned to be more flexible and is not removable without opening the PSP. The air vent at the top of the original was also removed.
A “1seg” TV tuner (model PSP-S310) peripheral, designed specifically for the PSP Slim Lite model, was released in Japan on September 20, 2007.
TV output and accessory port
Sony added TV output to the PSP Slim through Firmware update 3.60. It can output in a conventional aspect ratio (4:3) or widescreen (16:9), and offers a screensaver if the PSP is inactive for a set amount of time. It is able to output games, videos, and other media. To achieve TV output on the Slim model, Composite, S-Video, Component (YPBPR) and D-Terminal (YPBPR) cables are sold separately by Sony. PSP format games are output as a progressive scan signal, which can be carried only by the Component and D-Terminal cables, and displayed on televisions which support progressive scan. They are also rendered at the 480 272 resolution of the PSP screen, rather than the 720 480 resolution used for output, and are not upscaled meaning they are displayed with black windowboxing when viewed to an external display. This can be overcome on some TVs by using built-in zoom functionality. However, the PSP system software, music player and video playback are displayed in full-screen. As of firmware update 5.00, Playstation (PSone) format software purchased from the Playstation store is output in full-screen mode and optionally in interlaced format for non-progressive displays. Although the user needs component cables and a TV that supports 480p (mainly found in HDTVs) to play PSP format software, a homebrew plugin called “FuSa” allows anyone with a Slim PSP to view their games on any SDTV or HDTV using Composite or Component cables. The plugin is also advantageous to those with TVs that do support 480p because it allows a full screen (1:1 ratio) viewing of games. The maximum resolution through TV output is 720 480 pixels and composite video uses NTSC color encoding (no PAL composite signal is available; European TVs must be NTSC compatible to be used with a PSP via composite). The old PSP-1000 model is not capable of this feature due to a slightly different port. As a result, original PSP accessories (using the connector) will not work with the Slim and the Slim’s accessories will not work with the original PSP. Sony has released a new version of the remote control accessory designed for the Slim as a result. The PSP Slim can still use 3.5 mm headphones, like the old PSP-1000.
Sony confirmed a GPS Accessory for the United States at Sony CES 2008. The GPS is to be retailed for the new Slim PSP models. It will feature maps on a UMD, and offer driving directions and city guide.
Releases and Limited Edition models
Limited Edition models began being released in Japan on September 12, 2007; North America on September 5, 2007; Australia on September 12, 2007; UK on October 26, 2007, and Europe on September 5, 2007. The PSP-2000 was made available in Piano Black, Ceramic White, Ice Silver, Mint Green, Felicia Blue, Lavender Purple, Deep Red, Matte Bronze, Metallic Blue and Rose Pink as standard colors (not all colors were available in all countries), and had several special edition colored and finished consoles for games including Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (Ice silver engraved), Star Ocean: First Departure (Felicia Blue engraved), Gundam (Red gloss/matte black), and Monster Hunter Freedom (Gold silkscreened) PSPs in Japan, Star Wars (Darth Vader silkscreened) and God of War: Chains of Olympus (Kratos silkscreened) PSPs in North America, a The Simpsons (bright yellow with white buttons, analog and UMD drawer) PSP in Australia and New Zealand, and Spider-Man (Red gloss/matte black), and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (Ice silver engraved) PSPs in Europe.
The PSP 3000, released on October 14, 2008, in North America, in Europe on October 17, 2008, on October 16, 2008, in Japan and in Australia on October 23, 2008, is currently available in Piano Black, Pearl White, Mystic Silver, Radiant Red, Vibrant Blue, Spirited Green, Blossom Pink, Turquoise Green and Lilac Purple. The Limited Edition “Big Boss Pack” of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker saw the release of a camouflage PSP while the God of War: Ghost of Sparta PSP special bundle pack will include a black and red two-toned PSP.
The homebrew community were initially unable to hack the later PSP-2000s and the PSP-3000 because it had a new CPU (motherboards revealed to be TA-088v3 (for PSP Slim) and TA-090v2 (for PSP-3000)) which does not support the PRE IPL Exploit used in hacking the previous versions. This is due to the motherboard having its own PRE IPL where it checks the firmware thoroughly; if passed, the PRE IPL is cut off entirely to prevent unwanted modifications to the system.
In November 2008, Datel announced a “Lite Blue Tool” battery which allows the PSP-3000 to boot into service mode. This battery is not able to start homebrew as the new PRE-IPL has yet to be cracked. The Lite Blue Tool was deterred from distribution due to legal action by Sony. Some time later, Datel changed the name from Lite Blue Tool to Max Power Digital and changed the description.
MaTiAz, a known hacker in the PSP hacking community, found an exploit which is done with a US copy of Gripshift and a HEN save game exploit. However, this was only temporary. After the release of this initial hack, a sizable increase in sales of the game was experienced. Many eBay sellers inflated their to cash in on the sudden demand. A revised version of the PSP firmware (v5.03) was released shortly after to patch the exploit. Malloxis found a TIFF crash which is proven to work on 5.02 and 5.03 firmwares for PSP-3000; further crafted and engineered by MaTiAz, the TIFF crash became a TIFF exploit capable of loading an h.bin from the root memorystick. Davee, another hacker, further engineered this exploit with a privilege escalation exploit and created a Homebrew Enabler (HEN) which would allow the execution of unsigned code by users. In firmware revision 5.50, the TIFF vulnerability was removed, preventing any further firmwares being affected by the exploit. The HEN for the TIFF exploit, which was called “ChickHEN”, was released on May 5, 2009.
On June 5, 2009, custom firmware version 5.03GEN-A for HEN was released, which is compatible with both PSP-2000 v3 and PSP-3000. It allows users to play game backups (ISO/CSO), PS1 games, and includes access to PSN, VSH, and recovery mode. This marked a major step forward in ending Sony’s PSP-3000 piracy protection. Two days later, on June 7, 2009, a duo of hackers (Xenogears and Becus25) released custom firmware support software based on a modified work of the released 5.03GEN-A for the formerly unhackable handheld called “Custom Firmware Enabler 3.01” in which PSP-3000 users can install custom firmware and load those firmware’s files onto the PSP’s RAM with the direct usage of “ChickHEN”.
On March 29, 2010, a user-mode exploit was revealed in the demo of the game Patapon 2. This was quickly followed by the public release of “Half-Byte Loader”, a piece of software allowing to load homebrew software on all PSP models (including the PSP Go) running firmwares less than 6.30. HBL has also been ported to Everybody’s Golf, allowing HBL to run on 6.30 and 6.31 firmwares.
On December 24, 2010, Total_Noob’s HEN (6.20 TN-A) was made available which allows Homebrew and ISO Loaders to run on any PSP Console with the 6.20 firmware.
On December 30, 2010, Total_Noob updated his HEN to the version B (6.20 TN-B), which featured a way to downgrade ALL the PSPs, including those with TA-088v3 motherboard, 3000 and Go, breaking the long-established “barrier” that prevented these PSP versions from downgrading.
On January 2, 2011, Mathieulh announced the discovery the PSP’s master keys, allowing homebrew to run on the PSP without any firmware modifications.
On March 13, 2011, Virtuous Flame ColdBird updated his HEN to the Version B3 (6.35 PRO-B3), the ability to run ISO and CSO backups, to run Homebrew games and applications, to run PS1 Games, run Plugins and can use to access the PSN.
On release, an issue with interlacing was noticed on the PSP-3000 screen when objects were in motion. Gaming Bits (among others) did an in-depth review of the differences between the two versions, noting the interlacing issues, and about a week later Sony announced that they would not be releasing a software update to address the issue:
On some occasions, scan lines may appear on scenes where brightness changes drastically, due to the hardware features of the new LCD device on PSP-3000. Installed with this new LCD device, PSP-3000 offers more natural and vibrant colors on its screen, but the scan lines have come out to be more visible as a result of improving response time to alleviate the afterimages on PSP-3000. Since this is due to hardware specification, there are no plans for a system software update concerning this issue.
The PSP Go was revealed on May 30, 2009, in the June episode of the Playstation Network online magazine Qore and was later officially announced on June 2, 2009, at E3 2009. The PSP Go features Bluetooth functionality, a smaller 3.8-inch (97 mm) screen and weighs 43% less than the original PSP. Instead of the UMD drive as found on previous models, the PSP Go has 16 GB of internal flash memory and a Memory Stick Micro port that accepts cards up to 16 GB. Currently, the PSP Go has a max memory of 32 GB, but the M2 memory can be increased in firmware updates. Games must be downloaded from the Playstation Store. The sliding mechanism on the screen hides the main face buttons and the analog ‘nub’ when not in use. With the release of the PSP Go, most future PSP games will also receive a Playstation Store release, whereas only a handful of games were available before.
Sony announced in April 2011 that it will stop production of the PSP Go to FOCUS resources on developing the NGP. Shortly after, SCEA clarified that the PSP Go would still be produced for the North American market.
The Playstation Portable uses the common “slab” or “candybar” form factor, measures approximately 17 x 7.3 x 2.2 cm (6.7 x 2.9 x 0.9 in), and weighs 280 grams (9.88 ounces). The front of the console is dominated by the system’s 11 cm (4.3 in) LCD screen, which is capable of 480 x 272 pixel video playback with 16.77 million colors. Also on the front are the four Playstation face buttons (Triangle, Circle, X, Square), the directional pad, the analog ‘nub’, and several other buttons. In addition, the system includes two shoulder buttons and a USB 2.0 mini-B port on the top of the console and a WLAN switch and power cable input on the bottom. The back of the PSP features a read-only UMD drive for movies and games, and a reader compatible with Sony’s Memory Stick Duo flash cards is located on the left of the system. Other features include an IrDA compatible infrared port (discontinued in PSP-2000 and later series), built in stereo speakers and headphone port, and IEEE 802.11b Wi-Fi for access to the Internet, ad-hoc multiplayer gaming, and data transfer.
The PSP uses two 333 MHz MIPS32 R4000-based CPUs, a GPU with 2 MB onboard VRAM running at 166 MHz, and includes 32 MB main RAM and 4 MB embedded DRAM in total. The hardware was originally forced to run more slowly than it was capable of and most games ran at 222 MHz. However, with firmware update 3.50 on May 31, 2007, Sony removed this limit and allowed new games to run at a full 333 MHz.
The PSP includes an 1800 mAh battery (1200 mAh on the 2000 and 3000 models) that will provide about 4-6 hours of gameplay, 4-5 hours of video playback, or 8-11 hours of audio playback. Official accessories for the console include the AC adapter, car adapter, headset, headphones with remote control, extended-life 2200 mAh battery, battery charger, carrying case, accessories pouch and cleaning cloth, and system pouch and wrist strap.
Sony has included the ability for the operating system, referred to as the System Software, to be updated. The updates can be downloaded directly from the Internet using the [System Update] feature under [Settings] in the XMB. Alternatively, they can be downloaded to a computer from the official Playstation website, placed on a Memory Stick Duo (Memory Stick Micro for PSP Go models) in following directory: PSP GAME UPDATE EBOOT.PBP, and subsequently installed on the system. Updates can also be installed from UMD game discs that require the update to run the game. The Japanese version of the PS3 allows the System Software to be updated by downloading the System Software onto the Hard Drive then to the PSP. Sony has prevented users from downgrading the PSP to an earlier version of the System Software that is currently installed.
While System Software updates can be used with consoles from any region, Sony recommends only downloading updates released for the region corresponding to the system’s place of purchase. System Software updates have added various features including a web browser; Adobe Flash support; additional codecs for images, audio and video; Playstation 3 connectivity and patches against several security exploits, vulnerabilities and execution of homebrew programs. The most current version is v6.38.
The version 2.50 upgrade added Unicode (UTF-8) character encoding and Auto-Select as options in the browser’s encoding menu, and also introduced the saving of input history for online forms.
Version 2.70 of the PSP’s system software introduced basic Flash capabilities to the browser. However, the player runs Flash version 6, four iterations behind the current desktop version 10, making some websites difficult to view.
There are three different rendering modes: “Normal”, “Just-Fit”, and “Smart-Fit”. “Normal” will display the page with no changes, “Just-Fit” will attempt to shrink some elements to make the whole page fit on the screen and preserve layout (although this makes some pages extremely difficult to read), and “Smart-Fit” will display content in the order it appears in the HTML, and with no size adjustments; instead it will drop an element down below the preceding element if it starts to go off the screen.
The browser also has limited tabbed browsing, with a maximum of three tabs. When a website tries to open a link in a new window, the browser opens it in a new tab.
Parents can limit content by enabling Browser Start Up Control which blocks all access to the web browser and creating a 4-digit PIN under [Settings] in [Security]. Additionally, the browser can be configured to run under a proxy server and can be protected by the security PIN to enable the use of web filtering or monitoring software through a network. Recently, TrendMicro for PSP was added as a feature that can be enabled via a subscription to filter or monitor content on the PSP.
The PSP browser is slower compared to modern browsers and often runs out of memory due to limitations put in place by Sony. Alternatively, Homebrew has allowed a custom version of the browser to be released that utilizes all 32/64 MB of the PSP’s RAM, which allows the browser to load pages faster and have more memory for larger pages. Opera Mini can also be used on PSP through PSPKVM, a homebrew application which is a Sun Java Virtual Machine. It was claimed to provide much faster loading times than the default browser and provides better web page capability.
Remote Play allows the PSP to access many features of a Playstation 3 console from a remote location using the PS3’s WLAN capabilities, a home network, or the Internet. Features that can be used with Remote Play include viewing photos and slideshows, listening to music, watching videos stored on the PS3’s HDD or on connected USB devices, and several other features. Additionally, Remote Play allows the PS3 to be turned on and off remotely and allows the PSP to control audio playback from the PS3 to a home theater system without having to use a television. Although most of the PS3’s capabilities are accessible with Remote Play, playback of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, Playstation 2 games, most Playstation 3 games, and copy-protected files stored on the PS3’s hard drive are not supported.
Starting with system software version 3.90, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-N1000 can use the Skype VoIP service. The PSP-2000 requires a headset for this feature while the microphone is built into the PSP-3000 and PSP-N1000. Due to hardware constraints, it is not possible to use the VoIP service on PSP-1000. The service allows Skype calls to be made over Wi-Fi and on the PSP Go over the Bluetooth Modem feature. Users must purchase Skype credit in order to make calls to non Skype devices such as a landline or mobile phone.
Room for Playstation Portable
Announced at TGS 2009, a similar service to Playstation Home, the Playstation 3’s online community-based service, was being developed for the PSP. Named “Room” (officially spelled with capital letters and the infinity symbol in place of the “oo”), it was being beta tested in Japan from October 2009 to April 2010. It was able to be launched directly from the Playstation Network section of the XMB. Just like in Home, PSP owners would have been able to invite other PSP owners into their rooms to “enjoy real time communication.” Development of Room halted on April 15, 2010, due to the feedback of the community.
Digital Comics Reader
Sony has partnered with publishers such as 2000AD, Disney, IDW Publishing, Insomnia, iVerse, Marvel and Titan to release digitized comics on the Playstation Store. This new application requires PSP firmware 6.20 for it adds a new XMB category called “Extra”. The Digital Comics Reader application can be downloaded on the Playstation Comics official website.
The Playstation Store’s “Comic” section launched in the United States and English speaking PAL regions (United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand) on December 16, 2009, though the first issues of Aleister Arcane, Astro Boy: Movie Adaptation, Star Trek: Enterprise Experiment and Transformers: All Hail Megatron were made available as early as November 20 through limited time Playstation Network redeem codes. The service premiered in Japan on December 10, 2009, with licensed publishers Ascii Mediaworks, Enterbrain, Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Square-Enix, Softbank Creative (HQ Comics), Hakusensha, Bandai Visual, Fujimishobo, Futabasha and Bunkasha. In early 2010 the application expanded to German, French, Spanish and Italian languages with Digital Comics available in the respective European countries.
The choice of regional Comic Reader software is dictated by the PSP’s firmware region, and cannot be chosen. The Japanese Comic Reader will not display comics purchased from the European store, and vice versa. So although a Japanese PSP can log into the European Playstation Store and purchase and display videos and games bought there, any comics purchased cannot be displayed.
In addition to playing PSP games, several older Playstation games have been rereleased and can be downloaded and played on the PSP via emulation. Currently, the only three official ways to access this feature are through the Playstation Network service for Playstation 3, PSP, or a PC.
Demos for commercial PSP games can be downloaded and booted directly from a Memory Stick. Demos are also sometimes issued in UMD format and mailed out or given to customers at various retail outlets as promotional content.
During E3 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that the Greatest Hits range of budget titles were to be extended to the PSP system. On July 25, 2006, Sony CEA released the first batch of Greatest Hits titles. The PSP Greatest Hits lineup consist of games that have sold 250,000 copies or more and have been out for nine months. PSP games in this lineup retail for 19.99 each.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced on September 5, 2006, that a number of titles would be available
Sony has said downloadable games will still be limited to 1.8 GB, most likely to guarantee a potential UMD release
On June 15, 2005, hackers disassembled the code of the PSP and distributed it online. Initially the modified PSP allowed users to run custom code and a limited amount of protected software. Sony responded to this by repeatedly upgrading the software. Over time people were able to unlock the firmware and allow users to run more custom content and more protected software. One of the ways hackers were able to run protected software on the PSP was through the creation of ISO loaders which could load copies of UMD games from the memory stick.
The PSP received generally favorable reviews soon after launch and most reviewers cited similar strengths and weaknesses. CNET awarded the system an 8.5 out of 10 and praised the console’s powerful hardware and its multimedia capabilities while lamenting the lack of a screen guard or a guard over the reading surface of UMD cartridges. Engadget applauded the console’s design, stating that “it is definitely one well-designed, slick little handheld”. PC World commended Sony’s decision to include built-in Wi-Fi capability, but criticized the lack of a web browser at launch and the glare and smudges that resulted from the console’s shiny exterior. Most reviewers also praised the console’s large and bright viewing screen and its audio and video playback capabilities. In 2008, Time listed the PSP as a “gotta have travel gadget”, citing the console’s movie selection, telecommunications capability, and upcoming GPS functionality. The PSP Go received mixed reviews to date. IGN gave the product a 7.2 stating that with the absence of the UMD slot, the PSP Go is difficult to consider for purchase.
Controversial advertising campaigns
Sony admitted in late 2005 to hiring graffiti artists to spray paint advertisements for the PSP in seven major U.S. cities including New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. The mayor of Philadelphia has filed a cease and desist order and may file a criminal complaint. According to Sony, it is paying businesses and building owners for the right to spraypaint their walls.
In 2006, Sony ran a poster campaign in England. One of the poster designs with the slogan “Take a running jump here” was removed from a Manchester Piccadilly station tram platform due to concerns that it might encourage suicide.
In July 2006, news spread of a billboard advertisement released in the Netherlands which depicted a white woman holding a black woman by the jaw, saying “Playstation Portable White is coming.” Some found this to be racially charged due to the portrayal of a white woman subjugating a black woman. Two other similar advertisements also existed, one had the two women facing each other on equal footing in fighting stances, while the other had the black woman in a dominant position on top of the white woman. The stated purpose of the advertisements was to contrast the white and black versions of its game console available for sale. These ads were never released in the rest of the world, and were pulled from the Netherlands after the controversy was raised. Despite having been released only in the Netherlands, the advertisement gathered international press coverage. Engadget notes that Sony may have hoped to “capitalize on a PR firestorm”.
Sony came under scrutiny online in December 2006 for a guerrilla marketing campaign hoping to go viral, for the console, with advertisers masquerading as young bloggers who desperately wanted a PSP. The site was registered to and created by the St. Louis, Missouri, advertising firm Zipatoni on behalf of Sony before it was taken down.
In an interview during PAX 2010, Mortal Kombat Executive Producer Shaun Himmerick revealed a successor to the PSP, the “PSP2”, stating “. we have a PSP2 in the house and we’re looking at the engine, like what can it support. Always a big thing for us is the performance. We’re running at 60 fps, what can we do and do we have to build all the art assets over. We’re definitely looking at them. PSP2 looks like it’s a pretty powerful machine.”
The new handheld was officially announced on January 27, 2011 at a “Playstation Meeting” in Japan, with the codename Next Generation Portable (NGP).
The 7 Absolute Best Playstation Portable Action Games of All Time
During its ten-year lifespan, the Playstation Portable was undoubtedly home to many different types of games. It sold more than 80 million units between 2004 and 2014, which is a testament to the strength of its game library. There’s a good chance if you ever owned a Playstation Portable (or PSP as it was often known) or own one now, you have at least one “action” game in your collection.
Part of the seventh generation of gaming, the PSP competed against the Nintendo DS for the handheld crown. And, while Sony wasn’t able to match the DS in terms of sales volume, it was able to introduce games that have more than stood up to the test of time.
What is an Action Game?
An action game is just one of many video game genres that are able to be played across nearly every video game console ever made. The definition of an action game is rather broad, but to simplify what an action game should be, think about a game that challenges your hand-eye coordination and tests your reaction time.
Using this definition, action games cross over into a variety of sub-genres including fighting, beat ‘em up, and shooter games. There may be a boss at the end of a level (think platformer) or there might just be one antagonist you’re trying to reach and defeat (think Syphon Filter).
Was the Playstation Portable Known for Action Games?
Like most consoles, the Playstation Portable wasn’t best known for any type of video game genre. However, if you owned the Playstation Portable at any point (or still own and play), it’s very likely that you played at least one action game on the console.
Action games are responsible for some of the platform’s best gaming experiences including titles like Tekken, SOCOM, SoulCalibur, and Daxter. So, while it’s hard to say that the PSP was best known for action games, it’s definitely one of the better genres available on the console.
#7: emSyphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow/em
Gabe Logan is ready to save the world as the main protagonist of emSyphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow/em.
Played from the third-person perspective, this game is all about stealth and stopping a terrorist group from doing the world harm. If the plot feels generic, that’s because it is, but that hardly matters because the gameplay of emLogan’s Shadow/em is just so great.
The graphics pushed the PSP to its limits while the controls are among the best any PSP game has been released with.
What makes these types of stealth games feel very action-friendly is that any quick action is a bad action. Slow action is better and you have to think strategically about how to proceed with every step you take. One wrong move and everyone in the terrorist camp knows you are there, and it’s game over. Online multiplayer adds to the replayability as two teams compete in a variety of different game formats or stick to the roughly nine-hour single-player campaign.
Earning an 85 Metascore and 8.0 out of 10 from users is proof that even the lowest-ranked title on this list is still a fantastic action game.
When you need a good action game to laugh at and find the main character so adorable it’s hard to ignore, emDaxter/em is the Playstation portable game for you.
Developed by Ready at Dawn, emDaxter/em is an ottsel (an otter and weasel hybrid) that was made popular by the Jak and Daxter games that preceded this title. Unfortunately, in this game, emDaxter/em is on his own and to make it, he has to take on a job as a pest exterminator and quickly get to work.
Thankfully, emDaxter/em is pretty crafty and can crouch, squeeze, double jump, and grab ledges all around his environment to achieve his goals.
And should you ever find emDaxter/em in a combat situation — and you will eventually — rest assured that it’s very appropriate for kids. importantly, performing attacks on your enemies is just plain fun with your “bug swatter” and, eventually, after a few missions, your extermination tank with its very own bug spray.
The emDaxter/em storyline is just great and together it’s such a strong combination of being fun to play for all ages while also being action-packed. That’s the reason why emDaxter/em earned an 85 Metascore and would go on to sell more than 2.3 million copies worldwide.
Grab a copy of emDaxter/em for the Playstation Portable on Amazon here.
An absolutely delightful platformer on the PSP, emPatapon/em is one of those rare games that is just truly unique and adds something to a console’s game selection no other title can match.
What really helped emPatapon/em immediately stand out was its art selection which felt completely new for the PSP. The plot essentially consists of you taking on the central role as an invisible deity to the “Patapon” tribe. As their deity, you have total control of the tribe and can point them in a direction and tell them to attack, retreat, or just start beating their drums. Remember to try and be a good deity.
A combination action, platformer, and rhythm game, Patapon is one of those rare titles that has something for everyone. The amount of strategy involved is a testament to its developers looking to deliver something different, and across 30 different missions, that’s exactly what you get.
The strength of emPatapon/em’s 86 Metascore would help it spawn two additional sequels with Patapon 2 and Patapon 3.
emPatapon/em and its adorable rhythm is available on Amazon right now here.
#4: emLittle Big Planet/em
Another action-based platformer for the Playstation Portable that plays on the strengths of its art style and cute nature, emLittle Big Planet/em is a must-own title.
Following the same playstyle that made the game a big success on the Playstation 3, emLittle Big Planet/em consists of 23 different primary levels as well as 14 different levels, giving it around seven hours of playtime. You can even make your own levels in the game and upload them online so people around the world can exponentially expand the game’s potential.
Your goal in emLittle Big Planet/em is to help the main cast of characters capture “prize bubbles” which help them level up with their own costumes. Sackboy, the main protagonist, will take you around all of the different environments and you’ll have to be quick on buttons to successfully make it through the various challenges that await and reach these prize bubbles.
emLittle Big Planet/em is also one of those rare games that successfully ported from a home console to a portable console without losing anything that made it truly great. Add that to the many reasons why it has accrued an 87 Metascore.
Pick up your copy of emLittle Big Planet/em from Amazon here.
Velocity is one of those titles that helps personify the action genre by requiring quick reflexes to successfully complete its various levels. In the game, you’re the pilot of a “Quarp Jet” with which you need to assist in the rescuing of disabled and stranded ships.
To achieve your mission, you’ll have to fight through a variety of enemies and obstacles, and should you defeat these enemies, there’s one more challenge that awaits. Rescuing a ship in Velocity isn’t as easy as just flying alongside it. Instead, you have to help disable its shields through the various puzzles Velocity throws at you.
The game is set in the year 2122 and a giant star has exploded, leaving many ships without power. You are the only one capable of rescuing, meaning it’s all up to you. The visual style of the game feels like an ideal combination of retro style with some modern touches, and it all works so well. The overall game should take around eight hours to complete, and during that time you’ll find out why Velocity earned an 87 Metascore.
Useful Notes / Playstation Portable
Short story: You wouldn’t be wrong in christening the Playstation Portable (also known as the PSP) as a “successful failure.” It failed in the sense that it did not enable Sony to achieve their goal of stealing the handheld market from Nintendo who, in turn, went on to achieve dominance in the handheld space for the third time in a row. But it was a success, in that it still sold tens of millions of systems (selling nearly 80% as many systems as the Playstation). It was the closest anyone had ever come to presenting legitimate competition for Nintendo’s handhelds, and it featured a number of hit games — particularly in Japan, where a few Killer Apps led to the system getting a second lease of life in the latter half of its release cycle and becoming, at least locally, a real competitor for the Nintendo DS.
Long story: in 2004, Sony was riding high off the success of the Playstation and the ludicrous sales numbers the Playstation 2 bought them note Both of which put Sony on the top of two Console Wars. The PS1 shocked the console world upon its dethronement of Nintendo during the 5th console generation, and the PS2 outspoke the charming-yet-underperforming Nintendo GameCube, murdered the out-of-luck Sega Dreamcast, and held its own against the new kid on the block, the Xbox. Both Playstation systems would go on to sell out all their competitors in each generation combined by more than two to one and decided to get into the handheld market, confident they could replicate that level of success in this new arena. The gaming press were just as confident. It seemed like all the factors were in place for it to happen. Sony’s use of their proprietary, high-capacity note Upwards of 1.8 gigabytes of space if the disc was dual-layered Universal Media Discs (UMDs) versus Nintendo’s reliance on low-capacity cartridges for the DS; a more traditional, two-handed control scheme not dissimilar to that of a pre-DualShock Playstation Controller, versus the DS’s unconventional, often-stylus-and-button-centric inputs; several third-party developers onboard versus Nintendo’s largely skeleton-cast show; multimedia capabilities such as movies, television shows and music stored on UMD coupled with digital downloads through USB Mini connectivity; Playstation Network support following the launch of the Playstation 3, allowing for ad-hoc play to the larger system, access to the Playstation Store, and far greater processing power (which wasn’t the case with the two console systems, but still a touted factor) all contributed to the notion that success was written in the sky. It seemed like the PSP could become the leader in the handheld gaming market, and finally place itself upon a throne once held strong by Nintendo.
- The battery life wasn’t much better than that of other handheld challengers Nintendo had faced previously, lasting 6 hours max. While not as big of a problem as it was for older handhelds due to rechargeable batteries being more convenient than disposable ones, it still paled in comparison to the DS. and this was before factoring in the variable power draw from how often a given application utilized the optical drive. For example, playing a feature-length movie in full, off of a disc. in other words, having the optical drive constantly read data off of a continuously-spinning disc for upwards of two hours. could cut the battery life by upwards of one-third.
- Although discs proved to be superior to cartridges as the storage medium for home consoles, the format’s advantages were less pronounced on a handheld device, while its disadvantages were more so. While UMDs still offered higher capacity for developers to better execute just what they wanted to put on the system, the optical format resulted in comparatively longer loading times, louder system noise, more fragile components, and increased battery usage due to constant disc spinning, seeking, stopping, and spinning once more. Without the production volume of the established DVDs or CDs, the format didn’t have the huge cost differential that made discs preferable to cartridges in the 5th console generation (and beyond). Storage of multiple games was also made less efficient, due to each UMD disc being permanently encased in an outer shell, itself usually shipped in either a flimsy cardboard sleeve when bundled with a system, or in a tall plastic case if sold separately. Additionally, UMDs were less convenient to lug around due to the nature of being discs and also larger than DS carts. While both the system and discs supported Region Coding, only three PSP applications/games would make use of this feature (the Asian release of the Battlezone remake, as well as the Digital Comics eBook reader and Remote TV Viewer applications). As a means of combating potential piracy, all UMD movies were region coded, and couldn’t play on PSPs from a different region.
- Loading times aren’t as much of an issue with home consoles, where a player is usually settled in, intent on playing the game in question for a while. But handheld systems are often played here and there, on the go, in pails of time players are intent on quickly filling. Taking upwards of thirty seconds to load is a major downside under those circumstances. In the later models, Sony incorporated a method which considerably shortened loading times note (the addition of extra RAM, allowing games to selectively load data instead of strictly from the UMD) for compatible games. The system also has a “sleep” function to compensate for this difficulty, which saves the current memory-state for quick flick-on later.
- While the PSP received a couple Grand Theft Auto games early on that sold well, it didn’t have many other Killer Apps for some time and generally wouldn’t hit any impressive software sales figures. Meanwhile, the DS was quickly and constantly pumping out major successes; Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS, New Super Mario Bros., Brain Age, Animal Crossing: Wild World and Pokmon Diamond and Pearl all came out in the first couple years of the DS’s life and flew off store shelves. The DS’s library also had very wide casual appeal, which the PSP was severely lacking in. The PSP did later get sales boosts from system revisions and true killer apps like Monster Hunter Portable/Freedom in Japan, but those were well after the DS took off and after the PSP had lost any lead. note Now, to get really gritty about it, the PSP ultimately did post what would’ve been “success” numbers in Japan in any other circumstance. it ultimately sold nineteen million units in Japan, which actually did accomplish the original mission Sony set out to do, which was produce a system that would out-sell the Game Boy Advance, which it did by about 3 million units. The problem is, the DS ended up capturing the same lightning-in-a-bottle that the Game Boy did. it ended up selling thirty-three million units in Japan (which means it sold to just under a third of the population and, mathematically, must have been present in nearly every single household in Japan). The PSP was never designed to be a device with that kind of appeal, and never really had a shot at being that kind of success. Thus it failed to break Nintendo’s market dominance.
- Poor, often-tasteless advertising, a problem that also plagued the Playstation 3 at various points in its lifespan. Most infamously, it resulted in the “PSP Squirrels” television ads, which instantly garnered controversy due to perceived anti-black stereotyping via the titular characters’ portrayals, and the “alliwantforxmasisaPSP.com” fiasco, a botched attempt at a Viral Marketing/quasi-Augmented Reality campaign that, if anything, hurt the system just when it was starting to get some momentum back.
- Most important of all was the different FOCUS. Sony was convinced there was a “handheld gaming ghetto”. This meant that the smaller-scale games on handhelds were supposedly inferior to home console games. The PSP was an unsuccessful attempt to bring the sense of scale and level of production quality that were the hallmarks of home console gaming to portables, because handhelds simply couldn’t compete with consoles in those categories. This left developers scrambling to find a balance between the huge games of home consoles and the “bite-sized” style of gaming for portables, whereas Nintendo already had plenty of practice driving that golden spike. This mindset would carry over to the PS Vita and heavily contribute to its downfall.
Despite these issues, the PSP still saw financial success during its lifespan. As mentioned, it’s easily the most successful competitor to Nintendo’s handheld dominance and one of the highest-selling second-place systems of any console war. The final sales tally is believed to be somewhere around 80-82 million units, which potentially puts it slightly above the Game Boy Advance’s 81.51 million. Impressive considering that the PSP was Sony’s debut into a market that Nintendo effectively owned.
Firmware updates since its launch would increase the system’s capabilities, ranging from being able to play more file formats, to being able to organize media in folders, to PS3 remote play compatibility. In addition to this, later released UMD titles allowed portions of the game to be installed to the memory stick, reducing loading times and extending battery life.
However, in some countries, namely developing markets such as Morocco, the Philippines and India, the PSP was and still is the most successful handheld gaming device, where the absence of Pro Evolution Soccer and a 3D Grand Theft Auto title didn’t allow for the DS, and subsequently the Nintendo 3DS, to thrive. Additionally, the relative ease of using Custom Firmware (see below) allowed small shops to make a business of installing downloaded games into the PSP for a small price (about £0.50 or 0.70 each per game). One Filipino tech vlogger even recalled how the PSP was actually sought after more by picks in the country than the DS, which they apparently perceive more as a “toy” than a glorified, all-in-one media player.
over, as has been mentioned above, around the time that the system’s success was slowing down in other developed nations, in Japan, the system experienced a full-bloom renaissance, initially spearheaded by one specific game: Monster Hunter Portable/Freedom in 2005. The enhanced port of Monster Hunter G for the PS2 added local multiplayer, which proved to be the real missing element that Monster Hunter needed to become a legitimate social phenomenon, and future sales of the PSP would be heavily driven by Monster Hunter and its sequels. Once the system began establishing a real userbase, other developers took note and developed for it as well, because MHP had inadvertently proven something else: PSP development was rather similar to PS2 development in cost and labor scope. Many mid-size dev studios, or publishers with mid-size development houses attached, had been very hesitant to develop for the then-upcoming PS3 because of the ballooning costs for HD development in the mid and late Noughts. The PSP, with MHP as a proof-of-concept, proved to be an ideal platform for developers who knew and could handle a PS2-like workload and wanted to make a game more complicated than what the DS could handle but didn’t want to commit to HD development costs. As a result, Japanese software development for the PSP exploded in the wake of Monster Hunter Portable, and its software list from the latter half of its life cycle — 2007 or so onward — is a who’s-who of some of the greatest games of the entire Seventh Console Generation.
During its heyday, the PSP was also notable for a massive hacking and homebrew community. Custom firmware was easily installed as early as Japan’s launch model and opened a multitude of new ways to use the system’s advanced hardware, from running various emulators (up to the Game Boy Advance and PS1), browsing YouTube videos, reading eBooks, and even using a console as an IR Remote. A modified PSP was one of the most versatile and powerful portable devices of its time, long before modern smartphones entered the market. However, the scope and prominence of the hacking scene likely influenced Sony’s decision to use proprietary memory cards for its successor, the Vita.
Like many handhelds and Sony consoles, the PSP underwent several revisions over the years. The major one was the PSP Slim (or PSP-2000) in 2007, which slimmed the body, reduced the weight, simplified the UMD drive, introduced USB charging, and included a brighter LCD screen and a video out port that allowed it to play on TVs. In 2008 the minor Slim Lite revision (or PSP-3000) came along with a better LCD screen, a microphone and the ability to output component video note The main giveaway between the 2000 and 3000 is that the latter has pill-shaped buttons under the screen and a thinner ring on the UMD drive. It also has the word Sony on the left side, as the PS logo was moved to the Home Button. Finally, in 2011 Sony announced the PSP Street, a budget PSP that has a simple plastic finish, lacks a microphone and has mono speakers and a very simplified bottom button row. Interestingly, the Street’s UMD drive opens up the entire back shell of the device, rather than just where the UMD goes. It also has no Wi-Fi, meaning it cannot connect to the internet. This meant no Playstation Network, no Playstation Store, Digital Comics, Downloadable Music, TV Shows, Films, Games, and no means to play any of the aforementioned unless you had a UMD.
That exception aside, the PSP is capable of downloading retail titles available for it through Sony’s online storefront, as well as smaller games, video and Downloadable Content for existing games. Furthermore, a special incarnation of the PSP, 2009’s PSP Go, was specifically built around digital distribution, having no support for the UMD medium. Despite fears from older PSP owners, Sony insisted that the Go was never meant to replace the PSP. Response was lackluster at best, with reports that some stores wouldn’t even stock it. note One of the major US video-game-only retailers, GameStop/EB Games, makes a good portion of their money from reselling used games, and was naturally unimpressed with the system for this reason. Although they grudgingly sold the console in the end, they did not promote it. Up until the release of the Xbox One All-Digital Edition ten years later, the Go was the only console revision by the big three to be digital only, home or handheld. Many gamers and brick-and-mortar retailers hope it stays that way, for various reasons. note Interestingly, the PSP Go would use the Vita’s proprietary connection cable and use a rather limiting memory stick format, issues the Vita would later be criticized for.
Since the PSP was released in 2004, and Sony historically released new consoles every six years, by 2010 there was a storm of rumor and speculation over what would come next. The announcement didn’t hit until January 27, 2011. Sony’s new device, named the Playstation Vita, was released later that year. The Vita officially allows any PSP games sold on the PSN store to be played, along with PS1 and Mini games. Notably, the Henkaku system hack and Adrenaline custom firmware program allows the entire PSP operating system to be directly emulated on the Vita, enabling total PSP backwards compatibility on the Vita with all PSP hacks and other goodness conferred by this original environment available.
On July 2, 2021, the Playstation Store for the PSP was officially shut down. While the server sunset was originally intended for the PSP, PS3 and PS Vita collectively, fan backlash caused Sony to keep the latter two’s storefronts up, with only the PSP store getting taken down due to lack of demand for it. This allegedly rendered around 120 PSP-exclusive digital titles no longer obtainable in any legal capacity, although the storefront’s purchases list is still accessible for those who bought any of these titles.
- The PSP is divided into 2 distinct SOC’s (System On A Chip) that contain a multitude of processors. The “Tachyon” SOC drives the core components of the system and the “Lepton” SOC for the Universal Media Disc drive. Parts of the Tachyon SOC would be reused in the Play Station Vita for backwards compatibility.
- The “Tachyon” SOC contains a custom MIPS R4000 32bit based CPU dubbed “Allegrex” with a variable clock speed of 33MHz to 333MHz. By default the system runs this at 222MHz although custom firmware and some later games can force it to 333MHz at the cost of a shorter battery life.
- Allegrex is based on the MIPS I ISA with branch instructions backported from MIPS II. Sony added a series of custom instructions dubbed the “Allegrex Extended Instruction Set” which adds features for arithmetic functions such as multiplication, bit-shifting, subtraction, min/maxing and interruption control. It also comes equipped with a 7 stage CPU pipeline for instructions, a 32KB L1 cache divided into 2 16KB blocks; One for instructions and one for data with a write back buffer cache and lastly a Memory Protection Unit or MPU which can map the physical hardware into the CPUs memory space and act as a form of security to only allow software to access specific memory regions.
- Allegrex also comes equipped with 2 co-processors, in particular a 32bit Floating Point Unit dubbed CP1 which handles arithmetic operations using 32bit based decimal values. CP1 also has its own 8 stage CPU pipeline to allow rudimentary parallelism. The other co-processor is a Vector Floating Point Unit dubbed CP2 with its own custom ISA and a 128bit data bus with variable CPU pipeline. This is very similar to the macromode found in the Playstation 2 and its own Vector Processing Unit.
- Developers do not have explicit access to the Media Engine block directly. Sony obfuscated this through a series of complex API calls and software libraries shipped with the SDK.
- The original PSP-1000 shipped with 32MB of Double Data Rate SDRAM. Starting with the PSP-2000 revision this was doubled to 64MB to allow games to have reduced loading times by using aggressive caching from the UMD. Some homebrew software may require 64MB and thus will not work on the original PSP-1000.
- 8MB of this RAM is reserved at all times for the kernel and operating system.
- Development kits came with 64MB by default. However, Sony restricted developers to only use 32MB for software in order to maintain compatibility with the original PSP-1000.
- The PSP GO comes with 16GB of NAND flash memory to act as internal storage for games and save data.
- The System Group Allegrex CPU can access this memory, although doing so is rather slow.
- Later games allowed users to install parts of or the entire game to the Memory Stick to heavily reduce loading times due its faster read/write speed.
- The PSP Go forgoes this format for a new variant dubbed the Memory Stick M2, which has the same limitations but in a Micro SD card sized package. However, unlike the previous formats the M2 format only received a 16GB card as the highest capacity. This format was a commercial failure for Sony and was discontinued barely a few months after the PSP GO was released. Sony later repurposed this format again for the Play Station Vita and its own memory card format.
- The PSP-1000, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-E1000 use a 4.3-inch 16:9 widescreen TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 480 x 272 capable of 24bit color depth of up to 16,777,216 colors. The PSP-3000 replaced the TFT screen with a redesigned variant that increases the field of view and extra levels of brightness. However, some users found the redesigned screen had more visible scanlines which was a deterrent to some.
- The PSP GO comes with a slightly smaller 3.8 inch screen but runs at the same resolution as other models.
- Thanks to the included Vector Unit on the Surface Engine the PSP can do both software and partial hardware rendering to address a design flaw and common complaint of the Playstation 2 and its own Graphics Synthesizer sub-system.
- The Surface Engine uses a series of display lists sent from the main Allegrex CPU and the two can work in tandem using deferred rendering in either a double buffer or store control format via DMA to prevent stalling of either processor.
- A sizeable number of these features were inherited from the PS2 and its own graphics pipeline. Unlike the PS2 these functions are now hardware functions rather than software only rendering functions. The similarities also allows developers to port software from one system to the other with greater ease.
Battery Life Accessories
- The PSP-1000 models have a 3.6V 1800mAh battery, which can be upgraded officially to a 3.6V 2200mAh battery. Typical battery life is 4-6 hours depending if a game or UMD Video is playing. Later models used a 3.6V 1200 mAh battery; however, due to using more energy-efficient components, the PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-E1000 series models had roughly the same battery life as the original 1000 series, and older battery packs will work with the newer models. The PSP Go uses a 3.7V 930 mAH battery pack not officially intended to be user-replaceable; however, the battery is not soldered to the logic board.
- Users wishing to purchase a PSP should check if the battery is present and in good health. Over time the batteries internal cells bloat with lack of use and age causing physical damage to the housing and potentially short or damage the system in extreme cases. There are third party replacement batteries although your mileage may vary on their lifespan and build quality.
- The PSP GO replaced this with its own proprietary connector.
- The PSP-E1000 removed Wi-Fi preventing it from playing online or any local multiplayer games.
- The PSP-GO has this function as well, but requires different cables and its own dock due to its proprietary connector.
- A third party company released the LKV-8000 which allows the PSP to output to HDMI using a converter. It also includes a zoom function as the PSP’s small resolution would barely fit a high definition screen.
- 7th Dragon 2020
- 7th Dragon 2020-II
- Ace Combat: Joint Assault
- Ape Escape P (also known as Ape Escape: On the Loose)
- Ape Academy (also known as Ape Escape Academy)
- Ape Academy 2
- Ape Quest
- Armored Core: Formula Front
- Armored Core 3 Portable
- Silent Line: Amored Core Portable
- Armored Core: Last Raven Portable
- Crimson Gem Saga
- ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails
- BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Portable
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 2
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 3
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 4
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 5
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 6
- Bleach: Heat the Soul 7
- Burnout Legends
- Burnout Dominator
- Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
- Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (as an Embedded Precursor)
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (as an Updated Re-releaseEmbedded Precursor; the original PS1 version is also available standalone on PSN)
- ClaDun X2
- Class of Heroes 2
- Coded Arms Contagion
- Great Battle Fullblast
- Battle Dodgeball 3
- Corpse Party: Book of Shadows
- Crash Tag Team Racing
- Crash of the Titans
- Crash: Mind Over Mutant
- Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc note Japanese version only. This game and its sequel (below) were released in North America after its Updated Re-release to the Vita, so the version given to those territories is based off that version.
- Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
- Death Jr.: Roots of Evil
- Riviera: The Promised Land
- Yggdra Union
- Blaze Union
- Gloria Union
- Digimon World Re:Digitize
- Digimon Adventure
- Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
- Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days
- Disgaea Infinite
- Prinny 2: Dawn of the Operation Panties, Dood!
- Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai
- Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai. Another Road
- Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War
- Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2
- Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
- The Earth Defense Force 2 Portable (an Updated Re-release from the Playstation 2 game)
- Every Extend Extra
- The Eye of Judgment: Legends
- Fate Series:
- Fate/EXTRA CCC
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
- Dissidia Final Fantasy
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
- God of War: Chains of Olympus
- God of War: Ghost of Sparta
- God Eater
- God Eater 2
- Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
- Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
- Guilty Gear Judgment
- Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
- Gundam Vs Series:
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Alliance vs ZAFT Portable
- Gundam vs Gundam
- Gundam vs Gundam NEXT PLUS
- SD Gundam G Generation Portable
- SD Gundam G Generation World
- SD Gundam G Generation Overworld
- Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon
- Harvest Moon: Boy and Girl
- Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley
- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA
- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd
- Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA extend
- Hayarigami 2
- Hayarigami 3
- Hysteria Project 2
- I.Q. Mania
- Ice Age
- The Impossible Game
- Impossible Mission
- Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
- Invizimals: Shadow Zone
- Invizimals: The Lost Tribes
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier
- All Kamen Rider Generations 2
- Kamen Rider Climax Heroes OOO, Fourze, and Wizard
- The Legend of Heroes: Gagharv Trilogy
- The Legend of Heroes. Trails
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure
- LocoRoco 2
- The Lord of the Rings: Tactics
- The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest
- Lumines 2
- Macross Frontier Trilogy
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s Portable: The Battle of Aces
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s Portable: The Gears of Destiny
- Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
- Mega Man (Classic):
- Mega Man Powered Up
- Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X
- Rockman DASH 1 2
- Metal Gear Ac!d
- Metal Gear Ac!d 2
- Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops Plus
- Monster Hunter Freedom
- Monster Hunter Freedom 2
- Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
- Need for Speed: Underground Rivals
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted 5-1-0
- Need for Speed: Carbon Own the City
- Need for Speed: ProStreet
- Need for Speed: Undercover
- Need for Speed: Shift
- Pac-Man Championship Edition
- Pac-Man World 3
- Pac-Man World Rally
- Patapon 2
- Patapon 3
- pop’n music portable 2
- Prince of Persia: Revelations
- Prince of Persia: Rival Swords
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice
- Puyo Puyo Fever
- Puyo Puyo Fever 2
- Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary
- Puyo Puyo 7
- Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary
- Ragnarok Tactics
- Rainbow Islands Evolution
- Rainbow Islands Revolution
- Ratchet Clank: Size Matters
- Secret Agent Clank
- Ridge Racer 2
- Sakura Wars (1996)
- Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die
- Shining Hearts
- Shining Blade
- Shining Ark
- Devil Summoner
- Persona 2. Innocent Sin Eternal Punishment (Japan exclusive)
- Persona 3 Portable
- Shrek Smash N’Crash Racing
- Shrek the Third
- SOCOM US Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo
- SOCOM US Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 2
- SOCOM US Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 3
- SOCOM US Navy Seals Tactical Strike
- Sonic Rivals 2
- Space Invaders: Evolution
- Space Invaders Extreme
- Blazing Souls Accelate
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 3
- Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Amazing Allies Edition
- Star Ocean: First Departure
- Star Ocean: Second Evolution
- Star Wars: Battlefront II (2005)
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron
- Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
- Super Robot Wars A Portable
- Super Robot Wars MX Portable
- Super Robot Wars Z2: Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen
- Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Masou Kishin 2: Revelation of Evil God
- Super Robot Wars OE
- Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
- Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow
- Taiko no Tatsujin Portable
- Taiko no Tatsujin Portable 2
- Taiko no Tatsujin Portable DX
- Tales of Eternia
- Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology
- Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2
- Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3
- Tekken: Dark Resurrection
- Tekken 6
- Tenchu: Shadow Assassins
- Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with you
- Tokimeki Memorial 4
- Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side Premium ~3rd Story~
- Tomb Raider: Legend
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary