PSP – love / hate, but mostly love

I mostly love the Sony PSP, but do have some gripes. I’m not truly a gamer, but was attracted to the PSP because it looked like the coolest mobile device with excellent processing power and, critically, it was WiFi-enabled.

First the main gripes:
1. I know it could kill Sony’s existing business model, but a device as cool as this one with WiFi and a browser really needs to be open for web application development; at a minimum, build a Macromedia Flash Player for the PSP browser. LUAPlayer may be a way to go for WiFi app development with 0.15, but it seems to need to ride homebrew which Sony slows down with every new firmware release (see #2). If you’re really ambitious, here is a contest for developing a flash player for PSP.

I have a selfish motive on the WiFi front as my company has a web game with a Flash/Actionscript front-end that we’d like to run on mobile devices, particularly the PSP. Sadly, we do not yet have the resources to write a new flash player. However, it does look like Sony is planning to build a flash player at some point soon.

2. Be sure to choose the right firmware. First, you cannot downgrade firmware from any release above 2.0. You cannot run homebrew on anything above 2.0. It is harder to run homebrew on 2.0 than 1.5 or lower and there are fewer apps available. You do not get a web browser with anything below 2.0. You do not get the RSS reader (see #3) or WMA support without 2.6. Also, I don’t think you get MP4 support below 2.0.

Here is a link to an excellent article on the topic of choosing the right firmware for you.

3. The RSS reader in Firmware 2.6 is really a streaming podcast player. You can download your MP3 or MP4-AAS or WMA podcasts and listen to them, but if you use the PSP RSS reader, you can only listen to streaming podcasts when you have a live WiFi connection. This is not an RSS reader.

Other than that, I love the PSP. I ran on firmware 2.6 initially, but returned that device to get one with 2.0 so that I can run LUA applications with LUAPlayer and homebrew apps. The streaming podcast player was nice, but not that compelling, especially since I’m an iPod owner.

For those of you interested in running homebrew and LUA applications on the PSP firmware 2.0, I went through a learning curve as a newbie to this whole thing, and I’m going to create a follow-up post outlining the sources for installing this and the pitfalls to avoid.

I’m hoping to write a test app to see about running our web game with LUAPlayer 0.15 on WiFi over the holidays. You’ll see it here first if I actually pull it off.

— bkm

  • Thanks for the linkup to the PSP firmware chart. LUA player seems to be a great platform for dev work, but since most users aren’t programmers, could you name some of your favorite lua apps we could use?

  • Kevin,
    No problem …. it was a great summary and very helpful for me as a new PSP owner. Since I’m new to the PSP, I’m also new to the LUA game market …. I’m currently playing Minesweeper and BlackJack, and am trying to get PSP Millionaire and PSP Air Hockey to run on this 2.0 installation.

    Here are some sites that I found valuable in finding existing Lua games and learning about new Lua games:

    Click here to find existing Lua games. Click on “Gallery” and “Downloads” to find the games.

    Click here for a forum that publishes new Lua game announcements. There is some developer stuff here, but new game announcements seem to hit here a lot.

    Hope this helps….

    — bkm