Transitions: The Launch Games/End Games Blog

Posted on Feb 13th 2012 at 06:07:32 AM by (dsheinem)
Posted under PSP, end games

So I have not published a post to this blog that was actually on topic since the joint entry by noiseredux and I back in June about the GBA launch , and hopefully I can get back to some more blogging about launch games and end games this year...

One entry I am planning on writing is on the U.S. launch of the PlayStation Vita, which I am excited about and have preordered along with a few games.  One phenomenon that hasnt really been explored in the blog, however, is what happens with a systems library when it is about to be replaced.  That is the focus of this entry.

The Sony PSP has had an odd life.  It has certainly been the most successful handheld of all time that was not made by Nintendo, and it was about as big of a success in its native Japan as it was a flop here in the United States.  In the U.S., many pointed to the relative ease of piracy as the undoing of the system, as newly released games could be easily downloaded and played by anyone with minimal know-how and a web connection.  It also earned a bad reputation for controls, since the large majority of Western genre games that were promoted in the U.S. traditionally relied on the use of two analog sticks on consoles (one for movement and one for the camera), and thus developers had to create workarounds of varying success on the PSP hardware.

What ended up happening, then, was that the PSP largely failed to reach the core demographic of gamers in the U.S.  Instead, it became a haven for niche, older-style games and Japanese ports.  It became the platform with definitive versions of games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Final Fantasy IV.  It became the platform with a lot of content-packed special editions by RPG powerhouses like Atlus and NIS, and it became a great place to pick up retro compilations. It catered to an audience that traditionally purchased its games (collectors), and gamers that were just at home with a D-pad as with a pair of analog sticks.  So while the PSP had some amazing graphical showcase titles such as the God of War games and Resistance: Retribution, it is the more niche titles like Half Minute Hero and Prinny that make the platform an interesting one for collectors and will give the PSP staying power as a portable worth keeping around and accumulating titles on for years to come.

Which brings me to my central point: right now is the time to build your PSP library. I have spent some time over the holidays collecting titles that I missed out on or had sitting in my want list for several years, and the rock-bottom prices have been quite startling.  Recently released games like Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together, Knights in the Nightmare, and Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday can frequently be found for under $10 new at GameStop and Amazon.  Complete used copies of games from the first few years of the PSP's life are regularly found from $3-$7 a piece right now (both online and offline), and even the priciest domestic games rarely see price points over $20-$30.  In the past few weeks I picked up about 25 PSP games, including three Special Editions of some well-received RPGs, and have spent barely $200 in total.  People are dumping their libraries in preparation for the Vita and stores are clearing out UMDs to make more room for better selling titles; as a result this is the prime time for collectors to be picking over the spoils, as PSP games generally didnt sell very well, were produced in limited numbers, and had a small following.  If I had to guess, I'd say that most PSP games will be, in general, more expensive in another year or two than they are right now.  Strike while the iron is hot!


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dsheinem said on 1/2/12 3:03 PM
incidentally, the PSP's "Exit" is only $3 at Gamestop: 

Duke.Togo said on 1/2/12 4:46 PM
I'd heard that Gamestop has dropped a lot of PSP prices recently. I'm going to go out and hit a few to pick up some RPG's. I just wish PSP had more turn based and less strategy. If anyone finds a place with decently priced copies of Salamander and Parodius Portable shoot me a message.

noiseredux said on 1/2/12 5:05 PM
Great blog post dsh! (And not just because you plugged an article I wrote). I feel the same way about collecting for PSP. Strike while the iron's hot you guys -- the PSP is only going to continue building momentum as a cult-system and I predict prices to rise for CIB games in the future.

dsheinem said on 1/2/12 5:29 PM
@noiseredux:I actually plugged two of your posts It is a bit unsettling how many PSP games at Gamestop and on eBay are UMD only.

noiseredux said on 1/2/12 6:07 PM
Actually what kills me is how many of that are box, but NO MANUAL. ARGH I hate that.

Crabmaster2000 said on 1/3/12 4:30 AM
I've been patiently waiting for a time such as this to even pick up a PSP. Looks like its time!

slackur said on 1/3/12 9:46 AM
Glad you pointed this out, and I agreed completely; I've told my local gaming buddies that this is the year to grab anything PSP, 'cause some of that stuff has always been a little tough to find, and this is likely the cheapest and easiest to find it will get.I took advantage of this last holiday's sale prices and filled many holes in the PSP library for dirt cheap.  Still many excellent RPG and niche games left to track down, though.  I think this system's odd library will only endear itself to collectors more and more over time.Which is a strange turnaround for me, since I think I may have played my Neo Geo Pocket Color more than my PSP.  I've always respected its library more than I actually enjoy playing games on the thing.  Just never got comfortable with the way it feels, including the analog nub or the positioning of the controls.  Personal preference, I admit.  Oddly I'm more comfortable with the admittedly less form-fitting DS series. 

blcklblskt said on 1/3/12 1:15 PM
I have picked up quite a few PSP games for dirt cheap this year.  Looks like I need to head to GameStop and take another look.

dsheinem said on 1/3/12 1:48 PM
@Crabmaster2000:  the price point on the hardware has remarkably stayed around the same for some time now, but the games have really dropped.  it might make sense to get games now and a system after the Vit launch.@slackur: and @blcklblskt:  what games have y'all picked up for "dirt cheap"?

slackur said on 1/3/12 3:19 PM
FF IV Complete, 3rd Birthday, Tactics Ogre, Valkyria Chronicles II, Darkstalkers, Jikandia, Mana Khemia, Micro Machines V4, PowerStone Collection, and Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins.  Each were between 4 to 9 bucks, many under buy 2 get 1.  I made sure each were complete, some even new.  Mostly GameStop and BestBuy sales.

Silent Scythe said on 1/3/12 7:37 PM
Thanks for the informative post, managed to pick up a few games I've been wanting for a while. Hopefully another local Gamestop will have FF IV Complete in stock.

bombatomba said on 1/7/12 1:19 PM
Like many of you, I plan on plowing into and through the PSP death-wake with a nice, full wallet (though many will argue this has been happening for years now).  However, I don't think we'll see any significant price drops on software (or hardware) for quite a long while.  Why?  Despite what I think Sony wants, the Vita will not be seen as a clear successor for the PSP (much like the GBA was for the GB, or the DS was for the GBA).  To this day I still see tons of kids playing their PSPs in my area at doctors offices, barber shops, and waiting in line at the movie theaters.
I would still like a decently priced Salamander and Parodius Collection ; ;
Excellent write-up on the PSP.  Reading this blog when it first came out led me down the path to purchase a PSP.

Finally picked up a PSP 3000 and started to build a collection.  Game residing in the PSP at the moment is SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1
I have spent some time over the holidays collecting titles that I missed out on or had sitting in my want list for several years, and the rock-bottom prices have been quite startling.

And it's not just the first-hand, sealed stuff that's been going cheap. I've been noticing an increase in used PSP titles at my fave second-hand media stores since the start of the year, usually selling for no more than $6.00 a pop, complete. Though they're usually in the $2.00 to $4.00 range.

Of course, this just might be a regional thing. But all the same, if you don't mind second-hand stuff, and live near a used-media joint, why not check it out?

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