Type Handheld game console
|Product family PlayStation|
Generation Seventh generation
|Developer Sony Computer Entertainment|
Release date JP: December 12, 2004NA: March 24, 2005BR: March 24, 2005INA: March 24, 2005EU: September 1, 2005Asia: September 1, 2005AF: September 1, 2005AU: September 1, 2005
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a handheld game console developed by Sony. Development of the handheld was announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on May 11, 2004, at a Sony press conference before E3 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in the PAL region on September 1, 2005. It primarily competed with the Nintendo DS, as part of the seventh generation of video games.
- Technical specifications
- Region codes
- PSP 2000
- PSP 3000
- PSP Go N1000
- PSP Street E1000
- External appearance inputs and outputs
- TV output and accessory port
- Releases and Limited Edition models
- Hardware issues
- System software
- Web browser
- Remote Play
- VoIP access
- Room for PlayStation Portable
- Digital Comics Reader
- Homebrew development and custom firmware
- Controversial advertising campaigns
The PlayStation Portable became the most powerful portable system when launched, just after the Nintendo DS in 2004. It was the first real competitor to Nintendo's handheld domination, where many challengers, such as SNK's Neo Geo Pocket and Nokia's N-Gage, failed. Its GPU encompassed high-end graphics on a handheld, while its 4.3 inch viewing screen and multi-media capabilities, such as its video player and TV tuner, made the PlayStation Portable a major mobile entertainment device at the time. It also features connectivity with the PlayStation 3, other PSPs and the Internet. It is the only handheld console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), as its primary storage medium.
The original PSP model (PSP-1000) was replaced by a slimmer model with design changes (PSP-2000/"Slim & Lite") in 2007. Another remodeling followed in 2008, PSP-3000, which included a new screen and an inbuilt microphone. A complete redesign, PSP Go, came in 2009, followed by a budget model, PSP-E1000, in 2011. The PSP line was succeeded by the PlayStation Vita, released in December 2011 in Japan, and in February 2012 worldwide. The PlayStation Vita features backward compatibility with many PlayStation Portable games digitally released on the PlayStation Network, via PlayStation Store. Shipments of the PlayStation Portable ended throughout 2014 worldwide, having sold 80 million units in its 10-year lifetime.
Sony first announced development of the PlayStation Portable at a press conference before E3 2004. Although mock-ups of the system were not present at the press conference or E3, Sony did release extensive technical details regarding the new system. Then-CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Jose Villeta called the device the "Walkman of the 21st Century" in a reference to the console's multimedia capabilities. Several gaming websites were impressed by the handheld's computing capabilities and looked forward to the system's potential as a gaming platform.
Nintendo had been dominating the handheld market since launching its Game Boy in 1989, with the only close competitor being Sega's Game Gear (1990-1997), as well as Bandai's WonderSwan (1999-2003) in Japan. Later offerings from both SNK and Nokia also failed to cut into Nintendo's share. The PSP was called the "first legitimate competitor to Nintendo’s dominance in the handheld market" by an IDC analyst in 2004.
The first concept images of the PSP appeared in November 2002 at the Sony Corporate Strategy Meeting and showed a PSP with flat buttons and no analog stick. Although some expressed concern over the lack of an analog joystick, these fears were allayed when the PSP was officially unveiled at the Sony press conference during E3 2004. In addition to announcing more details about the system and its accessories, Sony also released a list of 99 developer companies that had pledged support for the new handheld. Several PSP game demos, such as Konami's Metal Gear Acid and SCE Studio Liverpool's Wipeout Pure were also shown at the conference.
On October 17, 2004, Sony announced that the PSP would launch in Japan on December 12, 2004, at a price of ¥19,800 (about US$181 in 2004) for the base model and ¥24,800 (about US$226 in 2004) for the Value System. The console's launch was a success with over 200,000 units sold the first day. Different color variations were also sold in bundle packs, which cost more than usual, around $200. Sony announced on February 3, 2005, that the PSP would go on sale in North America on March 24, 2005, in one configuration for a MSRP of US$249/CA$299. Some expressed concern over the high price, which was almost US$20 higher than the system's price in Japan and more than $100 higher than the recently launched Nintendo DS. Despite the concerns, the PSP's North American launch was a success, although reports two weeks later indicated that the system was not selling as well as expected despite Sony's claim that 500,000 units had been sold in the first two days.
The PSP was originally to have a simultaneous PAL region and North American launch, but on March 15, 2005, Sony announced that the PAL region launch would be delayed because of high demand for the console in Japan and North America. A month later, on April 25, 2005, Sony announced that the PSP would launch in the PAL region on September 1, 2005, for €249/£179. Sony defended the high price, which was nearly US$100 higher than in North America, by pointing out that North American consumers had to pay local sales taxes and that the VAT (sales tax) was higher in the UK than the US. Despite the high price, the console's PAL region launch was a resounding success, selling more than 185,000 units in the UK alone, selling out of all stock nationwide in the UK within three hours of launch, more than doubling the previous first-day sales record of 87,000 units set by the Nintendo DS. The system also enjoyed great success in other areas of the PAL region with more than 25,000 units preordered in Australia and nearly one million units sold across Europe in the first week.
The following Technical Specifications apply to all PSPs unless noted for a specific PSP series:
The PSP is widely known by the series code (PSP-1000, PSP-2000, etc.). There are sub-codes within this numbering system however which designate the region coding. PSP game discs are region-free, however, most movie discs have region encoding, and so will only work on the appropriate master unit.
The PSP is sold in four main configurations that differ in which accessories are included. The basic unit package or Base Pack (called the Core Pack in North America) contains the console, a battery, and an AC adapter. This version was available at launch in Japan and was later released in North America and Europe. The Core Pack currently retails for CA$/US$169.99, ¥19,800, HK$1,280 or $1,360 (depending on the color), S$280, A$279.95, NZ$299.95, €169.99, and £129.99.
The Value Pack includes everything in the Base Pack as well as a 32 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo, headphones with remote control, a carrying pouch, and a wrist strap. Some regions have modified versions of this pack that include different accessories. The Value Pack retails for US$199.99, ¥23,800, HK$1660, A$399.99,INR6990 and NZ$449.95.
Many limited edition versions of the PSP that include various accessories, games, or movies have also been released.
The PSP-2000 (marketed in PAL areas as "PSP Slim & Lite" and still marketed as PSP in North America, Japan, China, India, Italy, and Portugal) is the first redesign of the PlayStation Portable.
At E3 2007, Sony released information about a slimmer and lighter version of the PlayStation Portable. The model numbers were changed to PSP-2000, following the previous region-based numbering scheme (cf. the PSP-1000 numbering scheme of the "old" PSP model).
It was released on August 30, 2007, in Hong Kong, on September 5, 2007, in Europe, on September 6, 2007, in North America, September 7, 2007, in South Korea and September 12, 2007, in Australia. On January 8, 2008, built-in Skype Wi-Fi Internet phone service was added via firmware updates.
The PSP 2000 system is 19% thinner and 33% lighter than the original PSP system (reduced from 23 mm to 18.6 mm and from 280 grams [9.87 ounces] to 189 grams [6.66 ounces]). Internal changes to achieve this include the removal of a metal chassis (used to reduce damage in the event of sudden trauma to the system resulting from the user dropping the system on a hard surface).
Other changes include improved WLAN modules and Micro-controller, and a thinner and much brighter LCD. To cater for the original PSP generation's poor load times of UMD games, the internal memory (RAM and Flash ROM) was doubled from 32 MB to 64 MB with a part of it now acting as a cache, which also improved the web browser's performance.
In comparison to the PSP-2000, the PSP-3000 (marketed in PAL areas as PSP Slim & Lite, or "PSP Brite" (with enhanced screen + built in microphone) and still marketed as PSP in North America and Japan) has an improved LCD screen featuring an increased color range, five times the contrast ratio, half the pixel response time to reduce ghosting and blurring effects, new sub-pixel structure, and anti-reflective technology to improve outdoor playability. The disc tray, logos, and buttons have all been redesigned and the system now has a microphone. In addition, all games may now be output by component or composite using the video out cable.
PSP Go (N1000)
The PSP Go (stylized PSPgo or PSP go, model PSP-N1000) was released on October 1, 2009 in North American and European territories, and on November 1 in Japan. It was revealed prior to E3 2009 through Sony's Qore VOD service. Although its design is significantly different from other PSPs, it was not intended to replace the PSP 3000, which Sony continued to manufacture, sell, and support. On April 20, 2011, the manufacturer announced that the PSP Go would be discontinued so that it could concentrate on the PlayStation Vita. Sony later said that only the European and Japanese versions were being cut, and that the console would still be available in the North American market until the time of its discontinuation of PSP and its production.
Unlike previous PSP models, the PSP Go does not feature a UMD drive, but instead has 16 GB of internal flash memory to store games, video, pictures, and other media. This can be extended by up to 32 GB with the use of a Memory Stick Micro (M2). Also unlike previous PSP models, the PSP Go's rechargeable battery is not removable or replaceable by the user without removing several screws and breaking tape that voids the warranty. The unit is 43% lighter and 56% smaller than the original PSP-1000, and 16% lighter and 35% smaller than the PSP-3000. It has a 3.8" 480 × 272 LCD screen (compared to the larger 4.3" 480 × 272 pixel LCD on previous PSP models). The screen slides up to reveal the main controls. The overall shape and sliding mechanism are similar to that of Sony's mylo COM-2 internet device.
The PSP Go features 802.11b Wi-Fi like its predecessors, but no longer uses a standard USB A-to-Mini-B cable common with many devices. A new proprietary multi-use connector is used for USB connectivity. A suitable USB cable is included with the unit. The new multi-use connector allows for charging and USB similar to previous units, as well as video and sound output with the same connector (using an optional composite or component AV cable), unlike previous offerings which had TV OUT and USB functionality on separate ports. Sony also offers an optional cradle for charging and USB data transfer on the PSP Go, similar to previous offerings. The PSP Go adds support for Bluetooth connectivity, enabling the use of compatible Bluetooth headsets and tethering with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. This also enables users to connect and play games using a Sixaxis or DualShock 3 PlayStation 3 controller or Bluetooth Headset.
Because the PSP Go does not feature a UMD drive, games are downloaded from the PlayStation Store. While other PSP models have included the ability to run games and demos downloaded from the PlayStation Store, the PSP Go is the first for which this is the only means of distribution. The PSP Go has the demo version of Patapon 2 loaded onto the system and it also comes with an ESRB ratings guide, both preloaded into the internal memory in the games section. The removal of the UMD drive effectively region locks the unit due to the way in which a PSP must be linked to a single PlayStation Network account. Since each account is locked to a single region, this prevents the user from ever playing games from more than one region at a time (since games from accounts other than the currently linked account cannot be started). There are three ways to access the PlayStation Store. The PSP Go can directly download to itself, or users can also download then transfer the games from a PlayStation 3 or the Media Go software on Windows based computers. All current downloadable PSP and PlayStation games available for older PSP models are compatible with the PSP Go. Sony has also confirmed that almost all UMD based PSP games released after October 1, 2009 will be available for download, and a majority of older UMD-only games will also be downloadable at that time.
In February 2010, it was suggested that Sony may re-launch the PSP Go in the future, due to the lack of consumer interest and poor sales. In May 2010, it was revealed that Sony was then going to sell the PSP Go with ten free downloadable games in the UK. Sony began offering the free games in June 2010. The same offer was made available in Australia in July 2010. It was later revealed that Sony would also be offering three free games for the PSP Go in America. In October 2010, Sony announced a price drop for the PSP Go, bringing the price to $199.99.
PSP Street (E1000)
Announced at Gamescom 2011, the PSP-E1000 is a budget-focused model of the PSP which became available across the PAL region on October 26, 2011 for an RRP of €99.99. Unlike previous PSP models, the E1000 does not feature Wi-Fi capabilities and has a matte "charcoal black" finish similar to the slim PlayStation 3. Also, it only features a mono speaker instead of the previous models' stereo speakers and does not feature a microphone. An 'Ice White' version was later released across PAL territories on July 20, 2012.
To make the PSP slimmer, the capacity of the battery was reduced by 1/3. However, due to more efficient power usage, the run time of the PSP is still the same as the previous model. Older model batteries will work which extends the amount of playing time. However, the battery cover on the newer model does not fit over the older battery due to its bulkier size. The batteries take about one and a half hour to charge and last roughly 4.5–7 hours depending on factors such as screen brightness settings, WLAN and volume levels.
In mid-December 2008, Sony released the PSP Extended Life Battery Kit, which includes a 2200 mAh battery with a battery cover that fits over the bulkier battery included, initially only available in North America. The kit comes with two new battery covers, one black and one silver. In March 2008 the Extended Battery Kit was released in Japan. However, unlike the North American kit, the batteries are sold individually with one specific cover for some of the many different colour variations that were made available in Japan. There are ten separate kits for the colours Piano Black, Ice White, Ceramic White, Pearl White, Ice Silver, Mystic Silver, Radiant Red, Spirited Green, Vibrant Blue, Bright Yellow and Piano Black with Monster Hunter Portable Original design.
External appearance, inputs and outputs
The PSP Slim & Lite has a new gloss finish. The serial port was also modified in order to accommodate a new video-out feature (while rendering older PSP remote controls incompatible). In PSP-2000, PSP games will only output to external monitors or TVs in progressive scan mode, so televisions incapable of supporting progressive scan will not display PSP games. Non-game video outputs fine in either progressive or interlaced mode. USB charging was made possible (the PSP Slim will only charge while it is in "USB mode". It cannot be charged via USB when playing a game). However, there are unofficial USB charge plug-in downloads for charging the PSP with a USB without the need for being in USB mode. The D-Pad was raised in response to complaints of poor performance, while buttons offer improved responsiveness, confirmed in the GameSpot "hands-on" review: "several GameSpot editors have noticed that the d-pad and buttons on the new PSP provide a little more tactile feedback for a better overall feel."
A new simpler and more compact UMD loading tray design was developed, in which the tray swivels out instead of opening up completely, while the Wi-Fi switch was moved to the top of the PSP. To address many consumer complaints about the Memory Stick door breaking off the old PSP, the Memory Stick door has been relocated and redesigned. The speakers were repositioned on the front of the PSP near the top of its screen. The infra-red port was also removed because it offered no use to the original PSP generation other than in homebrew applications. Its analog stick was also redesigned to be more flexible and is not removable without opening the PSP. The air vent at the top of the original was also removed.
A "1seg" TV tuner (model PSP-S310) peripheral, designed specifically for the PSP Slim & Lite model, was released in Japan on September 20, 2007.
TV output and accessory port
Sony added TV output to the PSP Slim through Firmware update 3.60. It can output in a conventional aspect ratio (4:3) or widescreen (16:9), and offers a screensaver if the PSP is inactive for a set amount of time. It is able to output games, videos, and other media. To achieve TV output on the Slim model, Composite, S-Video, Component (YPBPR) and D-Terminal (YPBPR) cables are sold separately by Sony. PSP format games are output as a progressive scan signal, which can be carried only by the Component and D-Terminal cables, and displayed on televisions which support progressive scan. They are also rendered at the 480 × 272 resolution of the PSP screen, rather than the 720 × 480 resolution used for output, and are not upscaled meaning they are displayed with black windowboxing when viewed to an external display. This can be overcome on some TVs by using built-in zoom functionality. However, the PSP system software, music player and video playback are displayed in full-screen. As of firmware update 5.00, PlayStation (PSone) format software purchased from the PlayStation store is output in full-screen mode and optionally in interlaced format for non-progressive displays. The maximum resolution through TV output is 720 × 480 pixels and composite video uses NTSC color encoding (no PAL composite signal is available; European TVs must be NTSC compatible to be used with a PSP via composite). The old PSP-1000 model is not capable of this feature due to a slightly different port. As a result, original PSP accessories (using the connector) will not work with the Slim and the Slim's accessories will not work with the original PSP. Sony has released a new version of the remote control accessory designed for the Slim as a result. The PSP Slim can still use 3.5 mm headphones, like the old PSP-1000. The Serial Port is not available on the PSP-E1000, thus it can't have TV-output and remote controls connected.
Sony confirmed a GPS Accessory for the United States at Sony CES 2008. The GPS is to be retailed for the new Slim PSP models. It features maps on a UMD, and offer driving directions and city guide.
In the years following the discontinuation of PSP, the Chinese electronics company Lenkeng released a PSP to HDMI converter called the LKV-8000. The device is compatible with the PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP GO, but the AV cable packaged with it requires an adapter to plug into the PSP GO's port. Instead of component RCA plugs, the PSP's YPbPr AV signal is carried through a D-sub 9 cable that screws into the converter box, which then converts the signal from analog to digital and upscales it to 720p through HDMI. Lenkeng also released a variant of the LKV-8000 with a button allowing the user to toggle between 720p and 1080p. To overcome the problems of PSP games being displayed in a small window surrounded by a black boarder, the LKV-8000 featured a Zoom button on the connector itself. This allowed players to fill screen natively, without any need to use the television's zoom function. A few other Chinese companies have also released clones of this upscaler under different names, like the Pyle PSPHD42. The LKV-8000 and its variants have become popular among players and reviewers as the only means of playing and recording PSP gameplay in full screen.
Releases and Limited Edition models
Limited Edition models began being released in Japan on September 12, 2007; North America on September 5, 2007; Australia on September 12, 2007; UK on October 26, 2007, and Europe on September 5, 2007. The PSP-2000 was made available in Piano Black, Ceramic White, Ice Silver, Mint Green, Felicia Blue, Lavender Purple, Deep Red, Matte Bronze, Metallic Blue and Rose Pink as standard colors (not all colors were available in all countries), and had several special edition colored and finished consoles for games including Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (ice silver engraved), Star Ocean: First Departure (felicia blue engraved), Gundam (red gloss/matte black), and Monster Hunter Freedom (gold silkscreened) PSPs in Japan, Star Wars (Darth Vader silkscreened) and God of War: Chains of Olympus (Kratos silkscreened) PSPs in North America, a The Simpsons (bright yellow with white buttons, analog and UMD drawer) PSP in Australia and New Zealand, and Spider-Man (red gloss/matte black) and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core (ice silver engraved) PSPs in Europe.
The PSP 3000, released on October 14, 2008, in North America, in Europe on October 17, 2008, on October 16, 2008, in Japan and in Australia on October 23, 2008, was made available in Piano Black, Pearl White, Mystic Silver, Radiant Red, Vibrant Blue, Spirited Green, Blossom Pink, Turquoise Green and Lilac Purple. The Limited Edition "Big Boss Pack" of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker saw the release of a camouflage PSP while the God of War: Ghost of Sparta PSP special bundle pack included a black and red two-toned PSP. March 3, 2011 saw the release of Dissidia 012 Duodecim Cosmos & Chaos PSP-3000 Limited Edition which has an Amano artwork as the PSP's face plate.
On release, an issue with interlacing was noticed on the PSP-3000 screen when objects were in motion. Gaming Bits (among others) did an in-depth review of the differences between the two versions, noting the interlacing issues, and about a week later Sony announced that they would not be releasing a software update to address the issue:
On some occasions, scan lines may appear on scenes where brightness changes drastically, due to the hardware features of the new LCD device on PSP-3000. Installed with this new LCD device, PSP-3000 offers more natural and vibrant colors on its screen, but the scan lines have come out to be more visible as a result of improving response time to alleviate the afterimages on PSP-3000. Since this is due to hardware specification, there are no plans for a system software update concerning this issue.
By March 31, 2007, the PlayStation Portable had shipped 25.39 million units worldwide with 6.92 million in Asia, 9.58 million in North America, and 8.89 million Europe. In Europe, the PSP sold 4 million units in 2006 and 3.1 million in 2007 according to estimates by Electronic Arts. In 2007, the PSP sold 3.82 million units in the US according to the NPD Group and 3,022,659 in Japan according to Enterbrain. In 2008, the PSP sold 3,543,171 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain.
In the United States, the PSP has sold 10.47 million units as of January 1, 2008, according to the NPD Group. In Japan, during the week of March 24–30, 2008, the PSP nearly outsold all the other game consoles combined with 129,986 units sold, some of which were bundled with Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, which was the best-selling game in that week, according to Media Create. As of December 28, 2008, the PSP has sold 11,078,484 units in Japan, according to Enterbrain. In Europe, the PSP has sold 12 million units as of May 6, 2008, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. In the United Kingdom, the PSP has sold 3.2 million units as of January 3, 2009, according to GfK Chart-Track.
From 2006 through the third quarter of 2010, PSPs have sold a total of 53 million units.
The PlayStation Portable uses the common "slab" or "candybar" form factor, measures approximately 17 × 7.3 × 2.2 cm (6.7 × 2.9 × 0.9 in), and weighs 280 g (9.88 oz). The front of the console is dominated by the system's 11 cm (4.3 in) LCD screen, which is capable of 480 × 272 pixel video playback with 16.77 million colors. Also on the front are the four PlayStation face buttons (, , , ), the directional pad, the analog 'nub', and several other buttons. In addition, the system includes two shoulder buttons and a USB 2.0 mini-B port on the top of the console and a WLAN switch and power cable input on the bottom. The back of the PSP features a read-only UMD drive for movies and games, and a reader compatible with Sony's Memory Stick Duo flash cards is located on the left of the system. Other features include an IrDA compatible infrared port and a two pin docking connector (discontinued in PSP-2000 and later series), built in stereo speakers and headphone port, and IEEE 802.11b Wi-Fi for access to the Internet, ad-hoc multiplayer gaming, and data transfer.
The PSP uses one 333 MHz MIPS32 R4000-based CPU, a GPU with 2 MB onboard VRAM running at 166 MHz, and includes 32 MB main RAM and 4 MB embedded DRAM in total. The hardware was originally forced to run more slowly than it was capable of and most games ran at 222 MHz. However, with firmware update 3.50 on May 31, 2007, Sony removed this limit and allowed new games to run at a full 333 MHz.
The PSP includes an 1800 mAh battery (1200 mAh on the 2000 and 3000 models) that will provide about 4–6 hours of gameplay, 4–5 hours of video playback, or 8–11 hours of audio playback. Official accessories for the console include an AC adapter, car adapter, headset, headphones with remote control, extended-life 2200 mAh battery, battery charger, carrying case, accessories pouch and cleaning cloth, and system pouch and wrist strap. The PSP is equipped with a two-pin docking connector immediately below the AC adaptor jack for easy drop-in charging using a docking station that was to be sold separately for the PSP-1000 series. However no such charging dock was ever released by Sony. The two-pin docking station charging contacts were removed from the PSP-2000 and later versions.
Sony has included the ability for the operating system, referred to as the System Software, to be updated. The updates can be downloaded directly from the Internet using the [System Update] feature under [Settings] in the XMB. Alternatively, they can be downloaded to a computer from the official PlayStation website, placed on a Memory Stick Duo (Memory Stick Micro for PSP Go models) in following directory: PSP → GAME → UPDATE → EBOOT.PBP, and subsequently installed on the system. Updates can also be installed from UMD game discs that require the update to run the game. The Japanese version of the PS3 allows the System Software to be updated by downloading the System Software onto the Hard Drive then to the PSP. Sony has prevented users from downgrading the PSP to an earlier version of the System Software that is currently installed.
While System Software updates can be used with consoles from any region, Sony recommends only downloading updates released for the region corresponding to the system's place of purchase. System Software updates have added various features including a web browser; Adobe Flash support; additional codecs for images, audio and video; PlayStation 3 connectivity and patches against several security exploits, vulnerabilities and execution of homebrew programs. The most recent version is 6.61, released on January 15, 2015.
The browser also has limited tabbed browsing, with a maximum of three tabs. When a website tries to open a link in a new window, the browser opens it in a new tab. The PSP browser is slower compared to modern browsers and often runs out of memory due to limitations put in place by Sony.
Remote Play allows the PSP to access many features of a PlayStation 3 console from a remote location using the PS3's WLAN capabilities, a home network, or the Internet. Features that can be used with Remote Play include viewing photos and slideshows, listening to music, watching videos stored on the PS3's HDD or on connected USB devices, and several other features. Additionally, Remote Play allows the PS3 to be turned on and off remotely and allows the PSP to control audio playback from the PS3 to a home theater system without having to use a television. Although most of the PS3's capabilities are accessible with Remote Play, playback of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, PlayStation 2 games, most PlayStation 3 games, and copy-protected files stored on the PS3's hard drive are not supported.
Starting with system software version 3.90, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-N1000 can use the Skype VoIP service. The PSP-2000 requires a headset for this feature while the microphone is built into the PSP-3000 and PSP-N1000. Due to hardware constraints, it is not possible to use the VoIP service on PSP-1000. The service allows Skype calls to be made over Wi-Fi and on the PSP Go over the Bluetooth Modem feature. Users must purchase Skype credit in order to make calls to non Skype devices such as a landline or mobile phone.
Room for PlayStation Portable
Announced at TGS 2009, a similar service to PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, was being developed for the PSP. Named "Room" (officially spelled as R∞M with capital letters and the infinity symbol in place of the "oo"), it was being beta tested in Japan from October 2009 to April 2010. It was able to be launched directly from the PlayStation Network section of the XMB. Just like in Home, PSP owners would have been able to invite other PSP owners into their rooms to "enjoy real time communication." Development of Room halted on April 15, 2010, due to the feedback of the community.
Digital Comics Reader
Sony has partnered with publishers such as Rebellion Developments, Disney, IDW Publishing, Insomnia, iVerse, Marvel and Titan to release digitized comics on the PlayStation Store. This new application requires PSP firmware 6.20 for it adds a new XMB category called "Extra". The Digital Comics Reader application can be downloaded on the PlayStation Comics official website.
The PlayStation Store's "Comic" section launched in the United States and English speaking PAL regions (United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand) on December 16, 2009, though the first issues of Aleister Arcane, Astro Boy: Movie Adaptation, Star Trek: Enterprise Experiment and Transformers: All Hail Megatron were made available as early as November 20 through limited time PlayStation Network redeem codes. The service premiered in Japan on December 10, 2009, with licensed publishers Ascii Mediaworks, Enterbrain, Kadokawa, Kodansha, Shueisha, Shogakukan, Square-Enix, Softbank Creative (HQ Comics), Hakusensha, Bandai Visual, Fujimishobo, Futabasha and Bunkasha. In early 2010 the application expanded to German, French, Spanish and Italian languages with Digital Comics available in the respective European countries.
The choice of regional Comic Reader software is dictated by the PSP's firmware region, and cannot be chosen. The Japanese Comic Reader will not display comics purchased from the European store, and vice versa. So although a Japanese PSP can log into the European PlayStation Store and purchase and display videos and games bought there, any comics purchased cannot be displayed.
As of October 31, 2012 the Digital Comics App is no longer available for download.
As of December 31, 2012 the Digital Comics Server has been taken offline and earlier bought comics can no longer be re-downloaded.
In addition to playing PSP games, several older PlayStation games have been rereleased and can be downloaded and played on the PSP via emulation. Currently, the only official ways to access this feature are through the PlayStation Network service for PlayStation 3, PSP, PlayStation Vita (or PlayStation TV), or a PC.
Demos for commercial PSP games can be downloaded and booted directly from a Memory Stick. Demos are also sometimes issued in UMD format and mailed out or given to customers at various retail outlets as promotional content.
A section of the PlayStation Store is available to all PS3 and PSP owners. A variety of developers contribute to the creation of "Minis". These games are smaller, cheaper and are available as download only. These games are available in the "minis" section of the PlayStation Store.
During E3 2006, Sony Computer Entertainment America announced that the Greatest Hits range of budget titles were to be extended to the PSP system. On July 25, 2006, Sony CEA released the first batch of Greatest Hits titles. The PSP Greatest Hits lineup consist of games that have sold 250,000 copies or more and have been out for nine months. PSP games in this lineup retail for $19.99 each.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced on September 5, 2006, that a number of titles would be available under the Platinum range for €24.99 each in Europe and £19.99 in the UK.
Sony has said downloadable games will still be limited to 1.8 GB, most likely to guarantee a potential UMD release.
Homebrew development and custom firmware
On June 15, 2005, hackers disassembled the code of the PSP and distributed it online. Initially the modified PSP allowed users to run custom code and a limited amount of protected software. Sony responded to this by repeatedly upgrading the software. Over time people were able to unlock the firmware and allow users to run more custom content and more protected software. One of the ways hackers were able to run protected software on the PSP was through the creation of ISO loaders which could load copies of UMD games from the memory stick. Custom firmware is also commonly seen in the PSP systems; the most famous ones include the M33 Custom Firmware, Minimum Edition (ME/LME) CFW and the PRO CFW.
Emulation of the PSP has made much progress. PPSSPP, which is currently the fastest and most compatible PSP emulator, is available on many platforms, including mobile platforms such as Android and iOS.
The PSP received generally positive reviews soon after launch and most reviewers cited similar strengths and weaknesses. CNET awarded the system an 8.5 out of 10 and praised the console's powerful hardware and its multimedia capabilities while lamenting the lack of a screen guard or a guard over the reading surface of UMD cartridges. Engadget applauded the console's design, stating that "it is definitely one well-designed, slick little handheld". PC World commended Sony's decision to include built-in Wi-Fi capability, but criticized the lack of a web browser at launch and the glare and smudges that resulted from the console's shiny exterior. Most reviewers also praised the console's large and bright viewing screen and its audio and video playback capabilities. In 2008, Time listed the PSP as a "gotta have travel gadget", citing the console's movie selection, telecommunications capability, and upcoming GPS functionality.
Reviews of the PSP Go have been mixed. It was mainly criticized for its initial pricing, with Ars Technica calling it "way too expensive" and The Guardian stating that cost is the "biggest issue" facing the machine. Engadget points out that the Go costs only $50 less than the PlayStation 3, which comes equipped with a Blu-ray player. Wired points out that the older PSP 3000 model is cheaper, while supporting UMDs and IGN states that the price increase makes it a "hard sell". The lack of support for UMDs and the inability to transfer games bought on UMD onto the Go and the placement of the analog stick next to the d-pad has also been criticized. Reviewers also commented on how the change from a mini-USB port to a proprietary port means that hardware and cables bought for previous incarnations of the PSP are not compatible. The Go's screen has been positively received with Ars Technica calling the image "brilliant, sharp and clear", T3 state that "pictures and videos look great". The controls have received mixed reviews with The Times describing them as "instantly familiar" whereas CNET and Stuff call the position of the analog stick "awkward". The ability to use a PS3 controller was praised by the New Zealand Herald but Ars Technica criticized the need to connect the controller and Go to a PS3 for initial setup.