Archive - Jul 17, 2006

Sony: The Future Of Gaming

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Memo to Sony: KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON.

Oh, sure, back at E3, when you told everyone that what gamers really wanted was a $600 set-top box that could replace a home computer*, people said you were "out of touch". Don't listen to those people.

You're not going to shed a reputation for being out of touch by listening to people. People make that mistake all the time. But you're SONY, goddammit. For over ten years, you've known what gamers wanted. Battle Arena Tohshinden! Syphon Filter! Intelligent Cube!

And now, you know what gamers REALLY want. Lesbionic racial strife! That's been obvious since Ms. Pac-Man chomped on Sue. Those people yelling at you, making you take down your billboards in the Netherlands just because they show a white woman dressed all in white manhandling a black woman dressed all in black? They're just haters.

I mean, what better way to show the true essence of the Playstation Portable? A high-tech multimedia device capable of being molded from not one, but TWO different colors of plastic? If that doesn't call for two slightly butch women engaged in mutually assured ethnic cleansing, I don't know what does. It's not Sony's fault that ebony and ivory cannot live together in perfect harmony. Sony's just advertising what they see on the streets. Of the Netherlands.

But maybe you want your PSP to do more than either absorb or reflect all the myriad frequencies of light that hit it. Maybe you want it to play movies, too? Perhaps, like me, you've noticed it's become increasingly difficult to complete your collection of UMD movies.

The UMD movie was another of Sony's revolutionary ideas. As a gamer, they correctly intuited that what I wanted more than anything else was to pay five dollars extra for low-res versions of DVDs without extra features. But shortsighted retailers like Target have stopped carrying the things. I would be completely screwed were it not for Sony's R&D department, in touch with the modern gamer and what they want.

All I have to do is spend $60 on a one-gig memory stick, or $100 on a two-gig stick. From Sony. And if I do that, Sony will include a DVD with the four most-wanted movies by gamers across the world: S.W.A.T.; The Grudge; XXX: State of the Union; and Hitch. Fucking HITCH! Do you know how many times I've sat on the bus, wishing there were some way Will Smith could teach me about relationships while suffering through his own? I don't. I lost count after 173.

The DVD can be put in your computer, and with a special activation code, you can take one of those four movies and convert it for viewing on your PSP. Sure, it's in even lower resolution than the UMDs were. And sure, if you get sick of watching Hitch and decide you need some special weapons and tactics in your life, you'll have to go buy another memory stick. But that's no more complicated than other successful media formats throughout the ages, like the wax cylinder, or the carrier pigeon.

So do not despair, Sony. Stick to your guns. And in a year or two, when we're all applying our unique transaction keys to downconvert "Little Man" to a portable viewing format so that we can watch it while waiting in line for the midnight release of Heavenly Sword 2, we can point at those poor, visionless haters and laugh.

*Having just spent $600 on a box to replace my home computer, the irony is palpable, yet simultaneousy irrelevant.