Word count: 777 | Estimated time to read entry: 9 min
I wish I had an don’t have an irksome girlfriend who asks me to set caller tunes on her cell-phone “now, or game-over” with raised eyebrows so I decided to yield to my gaming addiction and bought an Original Sony PlayStation Portable recently. I had considered buying from the grey markets also but the deal looked too shady and the console certainly didn’t look new – it couldn’t be because to mod the PSP, someone had to get hold of an original one and do the needful.
Well, a complete gaming ignoramus might want to know that a ‘modded PSP’ is a hacked version sold slightly above the Original’s market price. A PSP runs games on something called the UMD – Universal Media Disc, and each UMD based game costs anything between Rs 999 to Rs 1599! The advantage of a hacked PSP is that it enables one to download games from the internet and install it on a data card, similar to the one used in digicams, thereby bypassing the need to purchase UMDs recurrently. Considering widespread hacks of the earlier version, Sony has tightened security measures and as a result, the recent most release, PSP 3000 series, hasn’t been hacked… yet. 😀
I was aware of all these issues but couldn’t get myself to trust the grey-market chap. And I wanted it urgently so I decided to go for an original one, quite confident that my brethren in the underground gaming industry would soon blog about the hacks.
When I went for the purchase, I realized that Sony didn’t offer a single game along with the new console. And a PSP without games is like a box of chocolates minus the goodies. Having no alternatives, I bought an original UMD based ‘Need for Speed Undercover’ for Rs 1599. 😦
I came home and decided to read the User manual. I was quite happy to see in the introduction page that the console could connect to other PSP consoles over Wi-fi (for multiplayer gaming) and also to the internet for browsing. It had RSS channels and Skype along with voice chat. I learnt that I can connect the PSP to my TV using an AV cable and transfer videos from my PC and watch it on the PSP!
But when I turned over to the next few pages of the manual, I found out that I couldn’t use my regular AV cable to connect to the PSP. Sony has a proprietary AV cable which is sold separately. Since the UMD could run only games (which means there is nothing ‘universal’ about it), all other media like songs and videos had to be stored on a memory card, again Sony proprietary and sold separately. I found out that an 8GB card costs Rs 4000 – almost half the cost of the console itself. Luckily, I had an old 1GB card that met all Sony propriety. I then decided to try the video output quality of the PSP and found out that I can run only MP4 files and if I wanted to run .mpeg, .avi and .dat formats, I had to buy a Media Manager Pro version which was proprietary and sold separately. All the videos on my PC were deemed PSP incompatible. As you might have noticed, the most repeated phrase in the manual was ‘sold separately’ which would immediately follow the mention of most new features and thereby kill any joy of having it on the console.
In short, I can game on the PSP by burning a hole in my pocket for the UMD, listen to mp3 which I could have listened to anyways using my sub Rs 1000 PMP and load a few pics (.jpeg is thankfully a compatible format!) and gape at them for cheap thrills – and all this only because I was fortunate to have a 1GB data card. For any other activity on the PSP I have to purchase ‘proprietary software/hardware sold separately’. The only “accessories” that come with the purchase is the charger and the battery – not even a pair of earphones.
I am quite relieved that Sony didn’t mandate a pair of goggles, proprietary and sold separately of course, that is required even to see the PSP console. Or perhaps black underwear with the PSP logo emblazoned on it and a USB cable to connect the two, without which the joystick wouldn’t work?? 😛
So c’mon, Bebo, let me set ‘Pyar hua ikrar hua’ as your caller tune because my game is long over. No, I won’t surprise you by doing it real fast. 😛