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Handhelds: An Open Letter to Sony


Dear Sony,

You've been in my life for far too long, almost ten years to be exact. In fact, one of the happiest moments in my life was when I got a PS2 for my 8th birthday, hooking that beast up, and playing some Tekken 4. If it weren't for you, I probably wouldn't have been the gamer that I am today. It was like the proverbial Pandora's Box was closed, and you opened it with endless possibilities of prolonged enjoyment. Thanks for that, by the way.

From that point on, it was just smooth sailing between us. I was devoted to everything that you did in the gaming community. Hell, I was so committed to you, I even forked over the $599 for a brand new PS3. Now, if that wasn't proof of brand loyalty, I don't know what is. But, with every relationship, whether intimate or plutonic, there is always a dark side to each one, and ours starts with the PSP.

Don't get me wrong Sony, I was really excited for this handheld. I said, "Oh my God, a handheld with mind-shattering graphics, a mp3 player, video player, and a web browser? I must either be in Heaven or the year 2013.". So, $250 later, I popped Midway Arcade Treasures and played Mortal Kombat for hours on end. It was fun, for three months, but I later had an epiphany. I had this sudden realization that popped in my head that would change my perception of your PSP and its potential, and I think that we're at the stage in our relationship where I can feel comfortable saying this.

Sony, *deep breath*...

Now, as friends, I'm not trying to insult you. Rather, I am offering my constructive criticism on the PSP. I know you're scheduled to release the Playstation Vita sometime in 2012, and to paraphrase the great Jules Winnfield, "I'm not here to kill you. I'm here to help you.". So, here's why the PSP failed and what you can do to ensure the Vita's victory.

First off, and most importantly, for all the features that you were boasting for the PSP, like an internet browser, MP3 player and video player, where were the games? Most of the games during launch were either remakes of games that are exponentially better on consoles (Spider-Man 2) or half-assed games added to existing francises (Metal Gear Acid, Twisted Metal: Head On). Sure, there were new IPs making their debut on the PSP, but they just weren't very memorable and no one payed attention to them like Mercury. It would take another three years for the good games to start rolling on in, like God of War: Chains of Olympus, Dissidia Final Fantasy and, most notably, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but that was when I had lost faith in the PSP.

Nintendo, however, knows what they are doing with handhelds. Let me tell you a story Sony. When the original Game Boy launched, it was initially mocked by its contemporaries, as it only had a small dot matrix screen and low-res graphics. People like Atari and Sega who came out with the Lynx and Game Gear, respectively, were among them. They had bragged about having larger and all around better screens with color and crisp visuals. Those handhelds inevitably failed because of a low battery life and poor-quality games, and were banished to the Nether Realm. Ironically, their biggest feature turned out to be their biggest downfall. The original Game Boy succeeded because of an awesome battery life and fun games like Tetris and Pokemon, compensating for the inferior display.

You see where I'm going with this history lesson, Sony? I feel like you fell into the same trap as Nintendo's competitors at the time the original Game Boy came out. All I heard about on the PSP from you was, "OMG! MP3s! VIDYAS! INTERWEBZ! EVERYTHANG!" But when someone merely mentioned the notions of a game on the PSP, you just froze up on stage and pissed your pants. You were pretty much left on the side of the road of the handheld market while Nintendo splashed mud on you as Nintendo rode off in a Ferrari made entirely of money.

This turned out to be the biggest problem in my experience with the PSP. As I would be enamored in games like GTA: Liberty City Stories, I would look on in awe at kids or even guys my age hypnotized by their shiny Nintendo DS, playing Pokemon within groups. At that point, I thought to myself, "Man, I cannot find a single person that has the same games to play with.".

Speaking of Nintendo, another reason the PSP failed was because you [Sony] like to copy Nintendo. Sorry, but this is how I see it. There's no use hiding it because I can see it in both your forays in handheld and console gaming. Whatever Nintendo did, you pretty much had to copy with things like handhelds, motion controls and, now with the Vita, dual touch screens and AR games. To me, you're like that girl from high school that wants to copy what the popular girls are doing so the boys will notice her.

Now, you're ready to launch the PS Vita in early 2012, and I believe you're heading in the right direction for the most part. You've got an impressive line-up of games like a new Uncharted and LittleBigPlanet and dual-analog action, which can help create some more complex gameplay. However, the two biggest gripes I have with your upcoming system: The touch screen on the back and a larger emphasis on social networking websites. Pantomiming playing the Vita with the touch screen on the back seems very uncomfortable and completely unnecessary. The social networking isn't as bad, but I just want to remind you that you're still making a gaming handheld.

Try to keep that in mind, Sony!

Now, I'm not saying that the PSP was a complete failure, but it could have been better if you had a better selection of games to offer before the PSP was burnt out. As for the Vita, I'll keep my optimism for now.

Yours truly,

P.S: AT&T? Really?
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About What890one of us since 12:46 PM on 07.08.2010

Hello. Here is everything you need to know about me.

My name is Tom and I am a dorky teenager going through the things that dorky teenagers usually go through.

Favorite Game: No More Heroes
Favorite Movie: Pulp Fiction. Scratch that, anything by Quentin Tarantino.
Favorite Artist: deadmau5
Favorite Band: Queen
Favorite Book: 1984 by George Orwell
Favorite Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Favorite Console: PC

My Hobbies: Playing instruments, video games and cooking.

What Instruments?: Viola, Bass, Drums, Accordion (although I suck) and Ukulele.

As of now, I'm currently giving my life away to Team Fortress 2.
PSN ID:What890
Steam ID:What890


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