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Why the PSP blows goat: Reason #327

Brad Gallaway's picture

In my line of work, it's pretty common to have large chunks of downtime.  Although I usually have a book or two on hand, lately I've been bringing along my handheld du jour and maximizing the amount of game time I can fit in during a day.

Lately, the DS has been dominating my daylight hours between actual DS games and a number of high-quality GBA games that have come down the pike.  Quite honestly, the fliptop has been keeping me more than occupied.

However, I just got a couple of PSP games that are due for reviews so I figured today would be the day that I start making headway.  I knew for a fact that my job today would have a fat chunk of time where I had nothing to do, so it seemed perfect.  Got my backpack, packed up the PSP, and threw in the game I'm supposed to be covering right now Monster Kingdom Jewel Summoner and brought along MGS: Portable Ops just in case that didn't work out.  The battery had just been freshly charged as I slept the night before, and everything was good to go.

Or not.

So I get to work, check-in, and of course I have an hour before any to do anything.  A stupid grin on my face, I bust out the PSP and fire up MKJS. What do I see? A friendly little note from Sony headquarters letting me know that I couldn't play the game until I update the firmware.

Of course, this is the one day when I decide to not bring along the unwieldy PSP cord and little power brick that comes along with it.  For something with the word "portable" in its title, that plug is something that doesn't fit easily into soft carrying cases and seems to always get in the way whenever I bring it somewhere.  Going on a long airline flight is one thing, but I don't usually bring along when I'm going out for one afternoon.

One long sigh later, I swapped the disks and pop in MGS:PO.

Naturally, another game that can't be played until the firmware is updated.

I don't care what the logic is and I don't care what the reasons are, what I do care about is that I bought a portable game system that gets scratched unless I keep it in a special womb-like environment, the plug it needs for its updates is a pain in the ass to bring along when I'm traveling light, and it arbitrarily doesn't work with games that I've paid cash for unless I capitulate and do what "the man" at Sony tells me to do.

It's a damned good thing books don't require firmware updates because I spent the next six hours finishing one book (one of Jim Butcher's Dresden entries) and starting another (the Zombie Survival Guide). This happened to me one time before, and I was totally steamed then.  Now that this is the second time I've counted on Sony to give me my electronic entertainment and they've let me down, I couldn't be more disgusted. I absolutely can't stand for a product to simply refuse to work after I've paid for and use it legally.  

To me, this is just one more area where Sony doesn't "get it".  The end result of the specific decisions related to updating the firmware on the PSP result in one severely unhappy and inconvenienced consumer, and one that is becoming less and less likely to support them in the future.  i don't want an update that lets me download hi-res snapshots onto my PSP or do some other type of useless multimedia crap, i want to PLAY GAMES. IT'S WHY I BOUGHT THE DAMN THING.

The next time I get ready for another work time gaming session on the go, I'm going to remember that the DS never needs to be updated... if I want to bring something that needs firmware maintenance, I'll bring my wife's laptop.

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Your possible salvation?

Check out the DevHook developments. It allows you to temporarily load firmwares on the PSP so you can play games like that, but you don't need all the power-brick, firmware-controlling BS that the PSP normally requires. That, and it allows you to run sweet, precious homebrew - the main reason to own a PSP anyway.


You know, I tend to only play my PSP at home (usually on the throne), but I'd never thought about having to update firmware while on the road. That's a really awful set-up they have (as you've pointed out).

I need to get around to looking into this DevHook thing too--I keep meaning to, but I always put it off. Sounds like the way to go, since honest to god I'd use my PSP a lot more if I could just run old emulators on it.

reason #135 why it's in

reason #135 why it's in vouge to bash Sony.

so you have to update the firmware; cry me a river. because the PSP is a multimedia center is why i bought it, and it's why i actually admire Sony. i love how almost everything i need is on one piece of hardware; my photo viewer, my mp3 player, and if Sony realeses the PSP camera in the near future, i'll be able to take digital photos with it as well.

it's the same thing with my PS3. i bought it a month ago and love it. (btw, in terms of what it can do, the PS3 is actually underpriced. if you would buy a computer that's on par with the PS3, it would coast you at least a grand, if not $1500.)

and if things continue the way they are, Blu-ray will replace DVD's in the coming years. so you should probably start caring about that.

you're free to be critical of Sony all you want. i have had problems with them myself in the past, but i can't help but admire them with what they're trying to accomplish. it seems they're the only company interested in moving forward with technology. if it were up to Nintendo, we would probably still be using cartrages to store game data.

Maybe you should have

Maybe you should have considered its multimedia functionality before buying the damn thing.

Your wife's laptop? Why not

Your wife's laptop? Why not just call it your big gaping vagina box?

I didn't need a cord for my

I didn't need a cord for my PSP to execute the firmware update that came on Portable Ops...

What a USELESS rant.

Why didnt u already just upgrade the damn thing?!
Or, if u wanted to be truly clever you could have installed DA 3.10oe custom firmware which would have allowed you to play BOTH games on a memory stick AND read that, 'Zombie's Survival Guide' via PDF format on the same memory stick. I own that book and am also currently reading it. But, im reading it ON THE PSP!

Do a little research guy.

To Eric... i'm honored, this

To Eric... i'm honored, this is the first time i've actually seen a Sony shill actually post some counter-advertising to someone's opinion. it's pretty pathetic that a multinational corporation is so scared about its numerous trip-ups that they have to pay people to spew thinly-disguised propaganda rather than step up and admit their mistakes, or better yet, get past their arrogance and make a good product.


Dear, "B" what makes you

Dear, "B"

what makes you think that i'm either a Sony 'shill' or that they're paying me? i can tell you that neither is happening. so what? i'm not aloud to post a counter-argument to someone's bitching and moaning about a product i happen to like? wow, talk about one sided.

i might take you seriously

i might take you seriously if you sounded like a real person and not like a paid advertisement touting the PSP, PS3 and Blu-Ray all in the same post. not doing a very good job of being convincing there, guy.

...and since when are laptops "gaping vagina boxes"? yeah, that made a lot of sense.


i was just defending

i was just defending products i like. sorry i'm not jumping on the bandwagon.

and when did i call laptops "gaping vagina boxes"?

oh, and btw, nice job being

oh, and btw, nice job being polite to someone with a different opinion than yours, especally to someone who's been a huge fan of your site for years. bravo.

Brad, You were unclear on


You were unclear on whether the games themselves had a minimum firmware requirement to play -- or that Sony essentially "deactivated" your device until you updated the firmware.

#1 is nothing to complain about. Many games require a certain revision (or later) of a particular driver or support software.

#2 would be totally unacceptable.


Powre Cord Isn't Necessary

Most newer PSP games that require firmware updates don't require the power cord to be attached anymore. However, while I agree that the whole concept of a firmware update in the first place should be entirely optional (Sony should just disable Internet functionality until the firmware has been upgraded if it's just a security thing) the need for the power cord is to protect you from your battery accidentally dying during the install, in which case you would have an inoperable PSP on your hands.

I don't know about any of

I don't know about any of the specifications about PSP's - I don't own one - but there's something that's been bothering me for a while.

In many parts of our country where you can buy a PSP, they offer firmware downgrade service (ideally 1.5). I don't know about you, but I think it's rather silly that people would prefer to downgrade the firmware instead of upgrade. What's the deal with that?

Off Topic: Wow! It's Enduro!

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