updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu October 9, 2008
PS Store for PSP Next Week
Sony in its keynote for the Tokyo Game Show today revealed a pair of new extensions for the PSP that significantly expand its role on the Internet. An impending update will bring the handheld direct access to the PlayStation Store over its Wi-Fi connection rather than having to use a PC or a PS3 as a conduit. The interface will mirror that of the PS3 store and will support downloading both games and content directly to a Memory Stick in the system, reducing the need to carry UMDs or to deal with slower loading times.
The company will focus on game-specific material at first but promises to give downloads equal footing: all Sony Japan PSP titles from now onwards will be released as a download at the same time as its physical copy arrives in stores, the company says. Add-ons and in-game items will also be available for games written to support the feature.
Sony doesn't say whether users will have access to movies and other non-gaming content but promises more "network services" for the PSP before the end of the year. The current update is due to go live in Japan on October 15th and will see many but not all downloadable PSP games sell for between the equivalents of $3 and $6. A North American update is likely but wasn't mentioned.
Also launched at the event is a new gaming mode for the PSP known as Ad Hoc Party. The feature effectively tries to replicate the experience of a local network game on the Internet by using a PS3's built-in Wi-Fi as a gateway, with supporting PSPs capable of finding each other online through a lobby system on the larger console. Gamers can also optionally use a headset or the PlayStation Eye webcam to participate in audio and video chat, even during play.
The Ad Hoc mode will be available as a beta through the PlayStation Store on October 30th and will require a compatible game to use the new feature. North American equivalents aren't likely to be available at the same time. [via Impress]