Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
This console has a prototype article
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The PlayStation Portable (or PSP, for short) is one of two handheld consoles released by Sony, and the only one that wasn't a flop. It was designed to compete with the Nintendo DS, and many had predicted at the time that it would end Nintendo's dominance of the handheld market like the PlayStation had done to the console market a decade earlier.
A system ahead of its time in many ways, it boasted incredible power for a handheld system, a vast array of multimedia features, a digital storefront for buying games, the ability to play PS1 games, and a sad excuse for an analog stick.
Unfortunately, an iffy battery life, shoddy optical "UMD" format for games (which also includes pushing it as a film and music distribution format) which ended up all but Universal, the expensive Memory Stick cards, and unbeatable competition meant that it was never really able to dominate like Sony had hoped, and after the flop of the system's followup, the PlayStation Vita, Sony abandoned the handheld market.
That said, the console did sell very well and boasted one of the most enthusiastic homebrew communities for any system. While it may not have defeated Nintendo's handheld empire, it got far closer than just about any other handheld system, selling about 45% as many units as the DS series by 2010.
Quite a few hardware revisions were released for it - usually incremental ones that improved upon features like build quality and battery life, but also a few "experimental" ones - The most interesting were the PSP Street, which gutted all wireless and internet functionality, and the PSP Go, which went the exact opposite route and removed the UMD drive entirely to push players to downloading digital games.
It's also like a nut you can play with outside.
Hidden Firmware Info
Extended information about the installed PSP firmware can be found on the main System Information screen. To access this menu, from the PSP main menu:
- Go to Settings, System Settings, System Information.
- Hold L + R + Left + Square for at least three seconds.
- Release those buttons, then immediately hold Start.
The firmware's build date can be found in the second-to-last line of information (in the case above, the build date is October 10, 2008). The extra information will disappear once Start is released, unless Left is pressed before releasing.
There are five major models of the PSP:
- 1000 series "Fat": The original.
- Built like a tank, with significant internal metal framing (too bad they forgot the battery cover in the process).
- Sliding button on top for opening the UMD drive. UMD discs are clicked into the tray before folding it back into the console.
- Bottom-facing speakers with air intakes on the front.
- Unmarked Wi-Fi switch on the left side.
- Separate motherboard and Memory Stick/Wi-Fi/Headphone card.
- Infrared port on top-left, which never received any official use and only one universal remote homebrew.
- Power connector features both the standard barrel jack and pressure-fit pins intended for a dock. No such official product was released.
- 1000K series "Value Pack": A PSP-1000 bundled with a comprehensive set of accessories.
- 2000 series "Slim & Lite":
- Thinner and lighter, exactly as it says on the tin! Back humps removed in favor of new flatter design.
- UMD drive is now pull-to-open and discs are directly dropped into the works.
- Front-facing speakers.
- The analog stick cap, which could be pulled straight off in the previous model, now requires disassembly to replace or steal; the actual encoder was also changed to screw into the motherboard instead of the front case, which tends to reduce drifting due to imperfect connections.
- New, thinner battery (PSP-S110) with a matching and incompatible cover; an adapted version of the older type was later released, to cater to users of the bigger and higher capacity ones (PSP-110).
- Twice the RAM, officially only used as disc cache but allowing for exclusive homebrews.
- Wi-Fi switch is now labeled and moved where the infrared port was.
- Headphone socket relocated from the left wing (under the analog stick) to the main body (under the Home button). Remote socket changed to add video output (YPbPr or composite) feature for media files; applications (except PS1) can only be played on an external display if both YPbPr cables and progressive scan are used.
- Darker Hold "LED" (actually a colored plastic disc) due to deeper positioning.
- Added more color themes to the XMB than the standard 12.
- Added charging over mini-USB, although at a reduced speed and only if the console can get to the USB connection feature in the first place.
- 3000 series "Brite":
- Metal ring on back made thinner.
- Home button rebranded as PS button. Buttons below screen changed from semicircular to ovalized rectangle shape.
- Internal microphone added next to the volume buttons, officially providing an all-in-one Skype handheld.
- New generation LCD provides sharper colors (user-configurable) but tends to show interlacing-like artifacts on moving scenes.
- Any external display setup that can play media is now also supported for games.
- 3000 (Monster Hunter Portable 3 bundle): a limited edition notable for having a thicker back design reminescent of the 1000 series (complete with large battery as standard) and a different analog stick in the attempt to improve comfort.
- N1000 series "Go": The premium pocketable product.
- Sliding design, complete with clock screensaver.
- Digital-oriented model, famously lacking an UMD drive.
- 16GB internal storage, which can be complemented by a Micro Memory Stick (M2 card). Nominally non-user-replaceable battery.
- Single proprietary connector for power/USB/video. PSP-N440 adapter returns the conventional top-mounted miniUSB connector for accessories that need it like the camera, GPS, or 1seg tuner.
- Bluetooth for headphones, tethering, and PS3 controllers (famously requiring an actual PS3 or a tedious unofficial procedure to setup). On the flip side, the only PSP model to support two analog sticks and rumble.
- Savestate feature allows for freezing a game and returning to the XMB to play media or use the browser (but not another program) without losing progress.
- E1000 series "Street": A low cost model that, like the Wii Mini a few years later, managed to not be a total failure despite having a globally limited release, basically no advantages over the previous models (often available on the used market for less), and a lacking modding scene for the better part of a decade.
- Mono speaker, no wireless, no brightness/mute buttons, no video output.
- Buttons below screen redesigned as a fake touch bar.
- Single, extra wide backplate for both UMD and battery (not sold separately).
- Memory stick slot and LEDs on top, power/hold switch on bottom.
...as well as a much larger number of internal revisions!