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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