The PlayStation portable is a handheld system that was said to rival Nintendo’s domination of the subsequent market. Unveiled in 2004, the system was the most powerful portable system launched for its time. Featuring high-end graphics, multimedia capabilities, PS3 connectivity, other PSP connectivity and internet connection. The handheld was ultimately succeeded by the PlayStation Vita.
Nicknamed the ‘Walkman of the 21st Century’ for its multimedia capabilities, the PSP allows the user to play games, watch films, listen to music and so much more from the handheld console. This became a huge selling point for the system, as it was marketed as a travel companion.
Upon Japanese launch, 200,000 units sold within the first day; with an extra 500,000 selling in the first two days of North American release. In the UK, 185,000 units sold in the first day, within three hours selling out nationwide. There were similar sales figures reflecting this across the PAL region combining to sell over 1 million units within the first week.
There were multiple redesigns of the PSP, many adding to the hardware and connectivity of the device. One model, the PSP Go, took away the UMD slot for games and made the console online-exclusive in many ways, which is the first console of its kind to do so. With 16GB internal memory, the Go was 43%lighter and 35% smaller than the PSP. The model design was changed to slide up to reveal the controls.
There were many different services provided for the PSP, such as web browser availability, Remote Play for the PS3 as well as VoIP access for applications such as Skype. As well as these, a Digitised Comic’s Reader was created as Sony had partnered with huge companies with the likes of Marvel, Disney, Titan and IDW publishing. This application was unable to download from October 31st 2012 and later that year taken offline for good.
Hacker’s managed to dissemble the code from the system and leak it online making it possible to modify the hardware and software of the system to run different programmes etc.
Reception to the console were overwhelmingly positive, with a high quality system and high sales to back this up. Many critics praised the handheld for the large and bright screen and audio capabilities. The PSP Go taking the main downfall of the reviews.
The PSP was infamous for its controversial marketing and advertising campaigns, with many being banned or taken down. The first to have troubled Sony was when they admitted to hiring graffiti artists to advertise their console around the streets of major US cities including New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Next came a poster campaign that featured on train stations and bus stations in England. The poster read ‘Take a Running Jump Here’ and was taken down as it was seen to encourage suicide.
The last campaign was advertised in the Netherlands upon the upcoming release of the white PSP. In the picture, a white woman held a black woman by the jaw and read ‘PlayStation Portable White is coming’. Many found this to be offensive and racist and this advert, along with others of a similar distain, were taken down and cancelled for their planned worldwide release.