At the Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend, I had a chance to try the new redesigned PSP.
When I first read about it, I didn’t think it was a big deal but after having a hands-on I was pretty impressed. It’s noticeably thinner, and it may have been just my imagination, but the plastic casing felt like it had a different sort of surface texture. Sony has said that the unit itself is about 30% lighter, but holding it in my hands, it felt a lot closer to 50%.
The UMD Hatch on the back now simply pulls open instead of having the little pop-open switch, and the analog nub has a much larger degree of movement. The representative also made claims of an extended battery life, but who knows?
Although it’s not enough of a redesign to make me buy one since my original unit is still working fine, it feels a lot nicer and comes off as a much slicker piece of kit than the original did—and i thought the original looked pretty sharp. Now, if they’d only get their act together and add that goddamned second nub, all would be right with the world. Or something.
Incidentally, I’ve read other reports of the same thing online but I can verify firsthand that just about every attendee had a DS, and over the course of three days I only saw *one* PSP. Anecdotally, Nintendo is kicking Sony’s ass all over the place in the handheld market, no surprise there.
(I have to say though, it was a little disturbing to see that most people with their DS out any time they had more than two seconds without direct stimulation. If anyone wants to do some research on dwindling attention spans, I think this might be a good place to start...)
Finally, they had a small stage set up for the new DS game, Jam Session. I’m not much of a music head, but this little thing was pretty impressive… this new game made the DS sound exactly like a guitar. One person onstage had the DS, another had a real guitar and when they played a duet, I couldn’t tell the difference. I have no idea if there’s any sort of “game” in there, but it looks like a great example of a non-game application, and something incredibly fun to screw around with. thumbs up.