PSP Phone features: What should it have?
23rd Nov 2010 | 11:59
Tech and gaming expert wanted lists
PSP Phone: What it needs
Some of Britain's highest-profile technology and gaming journalists figures have expressed their hope that Sony's PSP Phone can live up to the hype and make a real impression on the gaming world.
With the PSP Phone — probably based on the Android OS — looking more and more like it could actually be making an appearance, TechRadar has asked some of the most respected commentators in the UK technology and gaming worlds for their opinions on what the device should bring.
With the spectre of the last major gaming/phone hybrid – Nokia's much-maligned N-Gage – looming large, most agreed that Sony needed to keep all of the usability and convenience of the Android and Apple mobile platforms, but bring in the high-quality gaming and visuals that have built the PlayStation brand.
Moon on a stick
PSM3 magazine editor Daniel Dawkins provided a neat wanted list:
"Near PS3-quality visuals, a phone, a touchscreen, two decent analogue sticks, intuitive media management, solid internet browser… y'know, an iPhone with decent controls and great core games, or the moon on a stick. Whatever's easier!
The competition in the mobile market is already hotting up – with games on Apple and Android handsets selling like hot-cakes.
The PSP has been around for years, so there's already a huge back catalogue of games built for a small screen, and Nik Taylor – who heads up MSN UK's technology and gaming channels — believes that Sony needs to make sure that existing PlayStation fans are accommodated:
"Sony needs to ensure that not only is its hardware capable and desirable, but that the games are competitively priced and have the kind of instant playability you get with iPhone games such as Angry Birds.
"I hope we'll see a device with proper handheld console controls (including an analogue stick), serious power and some genuinely inventive games that make the most of the mobile platform they'll be running on.
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Hannah Bouckley, reviews editor at T3.com agrees:
"Any gaming device lives or dies by its content, so let's see lots of games, across multiple genres — including 3D — at prices everyone can afford."
Bouckley also believes that the inclusion of the popular XMB user interface and the display are key:
"The screen needs to be bright, with excellent contrast, so ideally AMOLED," she added.
"Then there's the interface. Microsoft got the Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live interface spot-on, so hopefully we'll see the XMB developed."
PSP Phone: Call to success
Andy Robinson, the deputy editor of gaming website CVG, was just one of the experts that felt that one area that can absolutely not be overlooked is the phone functionality itself.
"I think the PlayStation Phone needs to put its focus on the latter; phoning people up," Robinson told TechRadar.
"Nobody wants to buy a PSP with a keypad — core gamers especially.
"Sony should make a proper, feature-complete mobile and then sprinkle in some PlayStation hallmarks, such as the trademark buttons (even if they're on a touchscreen) and PSOne classics to download. Oh, and a digital store this time, please — no UMD mischief."
N-Gage: Ahead of its time?
Robinson's words were backed up by Kieran Alger — the editor of T3.com, who admitted he feared the worst.
"When I hear the words PSP and phone put together I have horror visions of the Nokia N-Gage — the big, beastly pocket pummelling N-Gage," said Alger.
"If this needs to be one thing, it needs to avoid being a brick. The iPhone gaming revolution has been driven by casual gamers, people who didn't really know they liked chucking avian objects at swine.
"For me serious gamers like to do it on bigger screens. The middle ground could be a scary place to be.
"Above all I'd like to see this be a good smartphone device and not just a PSP that makes calls."
PSP Phone: Battery life
One of the very real issues facing any portable gaming rig — be it a laptop or a mobile phone — is just how much of a drain is put on battery life.
Your PSP dying a death on a train is one thing, but when it's also your phone it becomes a much bigger deal.
"How is a converged phone/games console supposed to handle a 3G connection, Wi-Fi, a sexy bright screen and leading mobile graphics, for long periods of time, without suffering from catastrophic battery life problems?" asked TechRadar's own reviews editor James Rivington.
"It will be interesting to see whether the phone's battery will be able to hold up to more demanding games," added MSN's Taylor.
"Having to charge your phone halfway through the day because you've been hammering Gran Turismo on the train would be no fun at all."
PSP Phone: Rumours have stretched back for years
What is clear is that there is a genuine enthusiasm for the extension of the PlayStation brand into mobile phones, but Rivington believes that Sony have to aim high if they want to be a success.
"It's going to need to be one of the most innovative devices in recent memory if it's to succeed," he concluded.
"It's going to have to rival the best Android smartphones on usability and features, while also delivering a seamless, integrated gaming platform unmatched by other smartphones.
"It needs to differentiate itself from the iPhone and other Android devices, while also being fun and easy to use. It needs to feel complete instead of half-arsed."