As I'm sure you'll know from Pro-G's news service, Sony has so far sold 600,000 units in North America alone. They'll all be playing Ridge Racer or watching Spiderman 2. But what else can you do with Sony's versatile portable magic box?
Last week, it was revealed that you could use a PSP for web browsing and reading comics as well as traditional gaming, watching movies and listening to music. This week, a number of creative tinkerers have continued to pull, stretch, mash and bash their way through their new PSP in a valiant effort to get it to do things it shouldn't.
One man, Robert Balousek, told news agency Reuters how he got IRC running on his PSP within 24 hours of buying it:
"I was on IRC, and someone mentioned how cool it would be to use their PSP on Wi-Fi at Starbucks to talk to people over IRC. I said, 'I can do that,' so I began working on it immediately".
According to Balousek, 100,000 people have visited the IRC client already.
And if you are one of those lucky PSP importers, you'll probably have Wipeout Pure burning a hole through your gaming stratosphere as we speak. You'll also have experienced the problem finding anyone local who can match up to your futuristic racing skillz. This week though, a clever techno-boff figured out a way to share ghosts by extracting the correct file from the memory stick.
Someone has even cracked into their PSP so they can load their Xbox game saves onto it. The brave but bored hacker figured out a way to plug a PSP into the memory card slot on a controller and then save the games onto the portable. A bit pointless I know, but evidence that gamers are not afraid to void warranties and wrench open their handhelds, even when they are brand new, sleek, sexy and very expensive.
One of the unique selling points of the PSP is of course the facility to watch movies via UMD. One mooted PSP movie release is Square-Enix's CG-animated picture Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which this week gained an official website. Fans of the game, on which this movie is a spin-off, have been salivating over Advent Children for near half a year now. Finally, as we near a release, some of that saliva can be scooped back into dropped jaws across the globe. The official trailer on the site, which looks great of course. The prospect of watching this movie on my PSP on the tube to work makes me twitch with excitement.
If, for some reason, you wanted your PSP by your side while, say . . . scuba diving, you might think some of its pulsating circuitry would disagree with the green/blue water of the Coral Reef. Fear not. Tech company Div have come up with a waterproof case. It even comes with exterior buttons that interface with the PSP's buttons, so if you encounter any PSP owning sharks while submerged, multiplayer Lumines is a distinct possibility.
Of course, once you've cranked up your PSP, it becomes an object of even more envy than usual. As you hop, skip and jump your way about the world, smiling triumphantly as your shiny PSP radiates in your palm, there are bound to be a few green eyes waiting to swipe it from under your nose. No need to worry, because the Freedom Keepsafe will never let your 'precious' get too far away. The ingenious device consists of two slim and light objects that communicate with each other, ensuring you never leave your PSP behind. You attach one to your PSP and keep the other in your pocket. The built in proximity sensor will let you know if your beloved PSP starts to stray. Even if you don't own a PSP, the Keepsafe can be used with almost any portable electronic device.
What all these useful (and, on occasion, not useful) hacks, accessories and applications highlight is a willingness to completely mess with new hardware in a way the gaming community is famous for. Not one console, personal computer or portable handheld has been released on Earth that hasn't been tinkered with in some strange obscure way. Some legal, some illegal - all voided warranties. When Sony released a game console with so many multimedia features, it was inevitable gamers would find things to do with it that hardware honchos could not have anticipated.
The PSP has been on sale a matter of weeks in the US and already we have web browsing, comic book reading, IRC and even scuba diving. Personally, I can't wait to see what it'll do by the time hapless European gamers get their hands on it. By the way, as if it didn't look sexy enough on its own, the PSP was snapped this week with the world's favourite amateur porn star Paris Hilton. Check the pics here. I wonder how long before Sony approach Paris with a marketing contract? Or for GAME to sell Paris Hilton dolls as PSP accessories? Dog not included of course.