Friday, November 14, 2008

The PSP Case Study: When The Technology Overwhelm You

You probably know about the PSP. The PSP is the "Playstation Portable" of Sony, a mobile video game hardware that was suppose to revolutionize the market. Actually, the first time I have seen the PSP in a commercial, I was very impressed. It was in the US, in 2005, and I was impressed by the technology improvement, compared for instance to the Game Boy advance, which owned the leading technology at this time. Moreover, not only you could play high quality video games, you could also use the PSP to listen to music, but (and I believe that was the main strength), you could watch movies on the go.

The technology overwhelmed the project: But in fact, the PSP is not really a success. First of all, it has been right away attacked by hackers, that would allow users to unlock their PSP to get free games on the web. Secondly, a part of the business model was based on the UMV movies you could buy. That was some kind of mini DVDs you could buy to watch thanks to the PSP. But actually the format was not that good, only supported by the PSP, and also it was very expensive to buy a UMV especially because you most of the time was watching it only once, and you didn't have such a quality that a DVD on a large screen could deliver.

The new mobile technology turned the PSP obsolete. Now don't get me wrong, the PSP is a great video game hardware. I own too of them. I play most of the time and I am happy with it. However, some new mobile technologies and apps appeared with the development of the cell phone market, and that deeply affected the interest in the Sony device. First of all, some new interfaces appeared. The Nintendo DS propose a little stick to play with, which improve the gameplay. Secondly, the Iphone has the tactile technology that is creating a great buzz, and a lot of developpers are now working on games for this cell phone.

Also, most of the new cell phones propose even more complete apps. Whereas the PSP offers you to play, watch movies, and also listen to music, most of the smart phones, Blackberry and Iphones proposes you on top of that phone option, already equiped GPS, and Internet navigation.

PSP is trying to catch up with the market, but the options are not build-in, meaning the interface is poor (especially to watch TV and surf on the web) and implies you hang around with adds on at all time.

I believe the PSP was indeed a revolution, but might have come too early on the market, and because of it, is now somehow obsolete.