PlayStation 3 Hands-On: PSP Connectivity
There's been a lot of talk about the PSP connectivity with the PS3, but until today, we really couldn't get involved. Why? Without that v3.00 PSP update, it was pretty much all "in-the-future" news. But as of today, that's all changed.
Update 3.00 has officially arrived, and with it comes a slew of great options, most specifically regarding the PSP's connectivity with the PS3. Below is the exciting list-
- PlayStation Network titles are now supported under GAME
- Remote Play has been added as a feature under NETWORK
- Online Instruction Manuals has been added as a feature under NETWORK
- Timed Recording has been added as a feature under RSS CHANNEL
- A visual player has been added as a feature under MUSIC
- 3-Speed Fast Forward and Fast Reverse has been added as a feature under MUSIC
- Camera has been added as a feature under PHOTO
- UMD Auto-Start has been added as a feature in System Settings under SETTINGS
So if you own a PSP, it's time to log on to the Network and download this massive update. Obviously, you can only take full advantage of the new features if you also own a PS3, but then again, that's why we're here. We've been able to fiddle around with that freshly enabled Remote Play feature, and after going back and forth between the two Sony consoles, we've begun to realize just how much potential there is for this particular feature.
One of the most important aspects of this connectivity is the ability to download classic PS1 games via the PlayStation Store, then play them on the PSP. For now, though, there are a few caveats- firstly, the Store is currently only accessible via the PS3; as of now, the PSP cannot connect directly. Secondly, those downloadable PS1 games aren't playable on the PS3; only the PSP. This is something that should be remedied with a future PS3 firmware update, though. Unfortunately, we haven't yet had the ability to download a PS1 game and play it on the PSP, but we expect to have the chance very soon.
Furthermore, there have been rumors of PS1-to-PSP direct downloads before Christmas. In other words, because the PSP can't access the Store directly, Sony is supposedly working to make that a reality. The idea of being able to play games like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII some time in the near future is definitely a drool-worthy thought for PSP fans, but there is some issue regarding control. After all, the PSP doesn't feature the shoulder buttons the PlayStation controller featured, so we're not sure yet how all that's going to work.
Next up on the list is Remote Play, the highly anticipated feature that allows users to stream media from the PS3 to the PSP. At this point, you can select Remote Play and watch home videos, browse a photo collection, and tap into your MP3s from anywhere in the house (provided you're not out of the range of your wireless connection). Furthermore, Sony is preparing an update that would allow the PS3 to stream that media directly to the Internet, which would mean you could then tap into the PS3 via the PSP from anywhere in the world. Just remember that only the 60GB PS3 model will allow this to happen; the lower-end model doesn't feature Wi-Fi, which you need.
We also checked out the Music Visual Player, which is a nifty addition that lets us choose a variety of visual, interactive skins for music playback. There's also an Online Instruction feature (kinda like the online Manuals for the PS3), an RSS Timed Recorder, and a new Camera icon in the Photo menu. Now, we've been able to toy around with these hot new features, but we've noticed that not everything is operating at full capacity. In fact, we've run into a bunch of dead-ends thanks to some issues.
This update doesn't have direct access to your Network user login, and even though you can still use the PS3 to check e-mail and things like that, it doesn't help the situation...you're just not able to tap into the Network account while away from the PS3. Now, if the PSP could somehow utilize the same features, maybe more titles would go online, and maybe there could be some chat, too. Heck, theoretically, we could transfer data between PSPs with our friends any time we wanted, and anywhere we wanted.
The thing is, despite all the new features thanks to this update, there's still not much going on. There are no PS1 games available yet for download, and even though we've got the update, we don't have the software to test it! Furthermore, we don't have the PS3 firmware update to transfer that software, so there are several more steps that need to be taken. It's nice to finally have one major update on the matter, but until we can actually do more than check new icons, it'll be hard to judge just how useful this connectivity is.
Still, it's a damn good idea, and the options are both numerous and intriguing. We can't wait for those necessary steps to happen, and when they do, we'll be the first to try 'em out.
11/22/2006 Ben Dutka