Another great game for PSP has been released - Star Oceans: Second Evolution - and the trailer is below.
But we have to ask - will the recession kill game developers? We know that Sony - like so many big companies - is cutting, cutting, cutting!
But for those of us who own a PSP we are more concerned with how the game developers and produces will fare in these tough times. Square Enix - who just released Star Oceans: Second Evolution (trailer below) have this to say:
In the increasingly consolidated video game industry, Square Enix has been implementing strategic initiatives to expand its product lineup and strengthen its presence as a global game publisher. ….
The global video game market is expected to maintain sustainable growth thanks to geographical expansion and diversification of customer base,” said Yoichi Wada, president and representative director of Square Enix.
So, if you are a fan of the Square Enix PSP games (Final Fantasy series, Kingdom Hearts, Valkyrie Profile and, of course, the Star Oceans series, etc) you will be pleased - as it looks like Square Enix is set to survive the recession! But we doubt that all game developers are going to make it through - especially some of the smaller developers! ]
In 2008, for example, some 66 separate companies developed games that were published for PSP. Thats a lot of companies competing for our game bucks! Time will tell whether some of these get acquired by the bigger developers - or just disappear as the recession progresses!
In the meantime, 90 games are supposed to be released in 2009 (IGN)! But only 20 are scheduled for release before the end of May and the rest do not have definite dates with 60% in the TBA category. Don’t be surprised if there are more than the usual “delays” in the release times for these games.
Anyhoo…you can check out Square Enix’s latest game released for PSP: StarOcean Second Evolution in our trailer:
The team at Bitfood have become fascinated by the whole underground culture of PSP “homebrews”. We plan on doing interviews with some of the more prominent homebrew characters, exploring the products that these creative underworld game-geeks develop and attempting to bridge the “concept” gap that exists between them and “average” PSP gamers.
Take this following snippet of a recent conversation by famous underground homebrewer Dark-Alex:
“and I gave him a kernel exploit of C+D, which was found by joek … as it is being used to decrypt 3k modules”
See what we mean? And yet this is probably better than most chats we see on homebrew forums!
In other words, we will be aiming to turn their mysterious doings into something we average guys and gals can understand! This will also hopefully mean that the average PSP user will feel confident in using homebrew PSP games.
Rorschach, for example, is a free homebrew game. Rorschach is a detective-adventure RPG for PSP. (The chief doctor at an asylum has been brutally murdered. Player must make friends, manipulate and confront people to find their dark secrets to be able to find out who the murderer is and why the he did it - Screen shot below)
In fact, there is a whole range of issues that need to be understood before the average PSP user can even think of taking advantage of the free games that homebrewers design. Some of these questions we will answer over the coming weeks:
*How do we get out PSP “homebrew enabled”
*Is that the same thing as getting our PSP Modded?
*What are the risks associated with getting our PSP “homebrew enabled” and can we do this ourselves, buy software to do it, or buy a PSP already enabled?
Now, there are sites that specialize in PSP homebrew issues. Go check them out and you will discover very quickly that they speak another language! We aim to make all this make sense to the non-technical PSP game-playing public.
The fact that the PSP is the best mobile platform for all media has been proven yet again by the release, yesterday, of Ultimate Team Play. No - don’t go hunting for reviews or trailers. This is actually a private label management training game developed for the hotel chain Hilton Gardens.
Interestingly, at the recent Macworld Expo, Apple held a variety of educational seminars to show off what they reckon are iPhone’s and iPod’s usefulness in the classroom. And as our last post revealed - there is now wifi on school buses in the UK .
The graphics used in Ultimate Team Play(above and below), are like those in the oo7 games, we reckon . And its not a big stretch to see how the RPG games we already enjoy could be modified to be used as a training tool.
Can all this possibly mean that the education sector has recognized the benefits of fun in learning? And could that mean that we will soon see PSP’s toted into classrooms at schools and universities? Well, we can but hope!
Perhaps we will see Sony set up a “continual learning” institute to rival its Sony Pictures company. Because, as John Cleese (Q in the latest 007 movie) discovered back in the 80s, there is big bucks to be made in the management training market (Meetings Bloody Meetings - one of his more famous training videos - for example, sells for around $1000 a video, even today!) and his company is still producing training videos.
John Cleese in meetings bloody meetings (left) and as Q in Die Another Day video game character.
(The old way and the new?)
Perhaps Sony are beginning to see there is great potential in the PSP as a novel way to help them move into this profitable market?
A UK news item posted today in UK caught our attention. It seems that aUK school bus company has recently installed WiFi for its travelers:
Young’uns equipped with iPhones, PSPs and netbooks with 3G dongles will get download speeds in excess of 2Mb/s, the company claimed.
“Well”, we thought. “Lucky blighters”!
But a quick surf around the net revealed that this revolution in thinking has in fact being going on for some time. AND that some quick witted transit companies around Europe installed WiFi into their buses and trains years ago! And these WiFi services are on transport that is not just for schoolies, but for business travelers and tourists as well.
Passenger Internet access on public transit is the fastest growing venue type for Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, with 238% growth in the number of online sessions between H2 2006 and H2 2007. Europe was the fastest growing market with 142% growth during the same period (source: iPass, March 2008). Read More
In Europe, where PSP consoles are popular with adults and teens as well as younger people, and where the Go! network has been so widely established, these WiFi services stand to benefit a lot of PSP owners.
WiFi is hitting transit in Asia as well. Passengers on Japan’s super-fast bullet trains will be able to surf the Web while traveling at 270 kilometers per hour thanks to a new service that will start in March, 2009.
But, it would seem that US PSP owners are not so lucky!
Consider the surprise expressed by Woody Leonhard (windowssecrets) when he finds WiFi on a bus trip to Seattle recently! Does this show that WiFi on transport is not so common in the US? - or just not so commonly known?
Our team went searching to find the answer, however, and tracked down some of the bus and train services that offer WiFi to travelers in the US:
And yes, we found that Sound Transit of Seattle (horrid pun) has WiFi on its buses and Trains as do other bus companies in the area !
Greyhound also seemed like a good place to start. But, WIFI barely rates a mention on their US website. Our team sleuths, however, were not put off - and tracked down one Greyhound bus route that does offer WiFi. Greyhound has started a new “luxury” service called BoltBus which runs between Boston’s South Station and New York’s Penn Station - that offers more legroom, and AC adapters as well as WiFi.
There was not much to excite PSP players at the current CES held in Las Vagas last week. There was definitely some cool stuff on show at the Sony booth, don’t get us wrong! But little joy for PSP owners. Nothing new announced for the PSP console (no hoped for announcement that the !GO network is being extended to North America, for example!)
However, one tiny breadcrumb for us PSP’ers was the announcement, yesterday, by SCEA Bend’s John Garvin that Resistance Retribution goes portable on March 17th! They also released the trailer. The following video shows Garvin being interviewed about some of the special features of the game followed by that brand new trailer (below):
SCEA have developed this game so that it can be used in conjunction with the PS3. This gives the game a whole new dimension as the player can get extra features for the game and a weapon from the PS3 version of the game (Resistance2).
Garvin calls this feature “resistance connect for PSP” and it allows allows players who have the PS3 and Resistance 2 loaded -to “infect” their PSP. This allows access to two whole new modes - 1) it can change how James Grayson looks eg he gets bright orange eyes, can breath underwater and no longer needs health! And 2)the PSP can access the “magna” - a really cool weapon from R2 which fires of shots in rapid succession
SCEA also debuted a completely different way to control the game. with a feature he called : PSP plus. Again this capitalizes on the power of the PS3 by allowing the PSP to connect via the USB cable to play with its dual shock controller. As Garvin puts it:
if have the slim and the PSP 3000 then you can put the video out to a bigger screen and then you can use the dual shock controller to play the game that way…
This game is a great start for PSP 2009 - we can hardly wait!
According to Piracy watchdog blog, Torrent freak, PSP game downloading is on the rise - despite Sony’s claims to the contrary.
Of course Sony would claim that piracy is trending downward because they are a hardware manufacturer - not a software company invested in stopping piracy. That is not to suggest that what they claim is false, but simply to point out that they probably have a vested interest in reporting downward piracy trends and reassuring software producers that they have a safe hardware platform to develop games for.
The last three months in 2008 saw a huge increase in pirated downloading activity - which is probably a reflection of the growing popularity of pirate downloading sites. In fact, as Torrentfreak makes clear:
Since September, the number of peers tracked by The Pirate Bay has nearly doubled from 14 million in early September, to 25 million now. Other BitTorrent sites such asMininova, Torrentz and BTjunkie report an increase in downloads, searches and webtraffic, ranging from 25 to 50 percent over the same time frame.
The two PSP Games which were downloaded the most (illegally) in 2008 were Final Fantasy VII
and GTA Vice City Stories - with about half a million illegal downloads each - which is an enormous amount when you consider that the average PSP game sells about 130,000 copies in total. And when you consider that Final Fantasy VII is priced at $29.99 and GTA Vice City Stories has a price tag of $19.99 - thats over 25 MILL bucks that the game developers have lost!!
If you are at all curious about the other 8 most illegally downloaded games in 2008, then you can see the results here.
Whatever the reason for the increase - what many gamers don’t realize is that if they don’t pay for games, the software companies who make them will not make them any more - because they will be out of business!!