Sony Plans to Beat PSP Sales Forcast, New LCD Still Plagued

Even though Sony expects to beat the PSP’s sales forecast, the latest version of the Portable PlayStation still has technical issues

According to Sony, the company originally predicted that sales of the PSP would hit 15 million units during the 2008/2009 fiscal year, however Sony now believes that it’s more than likely that 16 million units will fly across retail checkout counters, partially due to the latest, more robust PSP model released earlier this month.

Having hit stores on October 16, the PSP-3000’s biggest enhancement over the previous two models is the improved LCD screen, featuring an increased color range, anti-reflective technology, reduced pixel response time to minimize ghosting and other blurring effects, five times the contrast ratio and a brighter screen for better outdoor playability. The unit also features a built-in microphone, revised buttons and games can now be played on interlaced television sets through composite video cables.

But with the improved LED screen and additional hardware enhancements (not to mention slimmer than the original PSP model), the latest hardware release has brought hard times upon gamers and gadget lovers alike who shelled out $170 USD for the new version. Although the LCD screen is bright and shiny, gamers were immediately appalled by visible, horizontal scan lines not present in the previous two models, enough so that Sony took a severe beating from consumers. Unfortunately, the interlacing stems from the screen’s response time to reduce ghosting.

"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," says SCEA. "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."

Because the interlacing is a hardware problem, no fix is in the foreseeable future, and cannot be addressed with a firmware update. Wednesday Sony released v5.01 of the PSP firmware, fixing a storage space issue in regards to the PlayStation Store (now available directly on the PSP in the v5.00 update). Other enhancements include an increased number of video file types, improved video output, USB Auto Connect and more.

The PSP system is probably the least talked about gaming device on the market today, trotting along in the shadow of Nintendo’s DS Lite and the meatier next-generation consoles. However, the device has a lot to offer to consumers, providing means to listening to music and online radio, watching movies or renting TV shows via the PlayStation Store as well as offer great portable gaming. Sony even implemented the Skype chat client into the second-generation PSP console.

Sure, sales might be up for the moment, but once word gets out that the latest version has video issues that cannot be fixed through firmware updates, Sony’s forecast might not look so sunny come March 2009.

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