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November 4th 2011 2:36 am

Should I buy a Sony PSP 3000?

We have a PS3 Slim at home and our son has a Nintendo DS Lite. We are thinking that for Christmas we will upgrade him to a PSP 3000 (which you can get for $129 at stores now) and can buy downloadable content from PSN and so forth.­/product­/index.jsp­?productId­=342644...

I'm not going to be buying the Vita at the current pricing, which is what you can buy a new console for, and I think downloadable content is the way to go. He loves my Motorola Photon (he is only 7) and the Android games on it, but there isn't an Android device that comes close to what the PSN, at this price, can deliver. The iTouch - pricing is out of reach at $199 as well.

My worry is that the support from Sony for the PSP 3000 will disappear once the Vita comes to the market in the U.S. And what of the PSP Go? Is that just dead in the water and is the PSP 3000 the viable alternative to it now?

Any advice you all can give would be greatly appreciated.
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kstagg's pick

Let me be quick and dirty.

PSP Go: H-E-double-hockey-sticks no.
PSP 3000: If you get one, get a used PSP-1000. The PSP-3000 is an example of cheap construction and removes some of the curves that made the original PSP sit well in the hands.

As far as whether or not you should get the system, let me say this. Sony is not going to milk the PSP for the better part of a decade like they did with the Playstation 2. There is a good collection of PSN games for the PSP, but those will probably stop coming out as the Vita will be a major resolution upgrade.

Once again, avoid the PSP Go at all costs. Sony failed with Betamax decades ago, they failed with the Go in this decade.
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kstagg's pick

The one question I have to ask you is: What kind of games does your son play/want to play?
Off the bat, the most logical thing to me would be going with a Nintendo 3DS. The 3DS is backwards compatible to his DS games and there's already a wide library available, if you also consider all the non-3DS DS games out there now, which can be cheap now. There's even a few fun built-in applications to play with, as well as some little downloadable games off their online store. And with the price being less than an iPod Touch and just a bit more than a PSP now, that would be the one I'd go for.

You mention that you have a PS3: To be honest, there isn't a lot of cross-platform play that goes on between the PS3 and the PSP. There isn't much games that utilize both in a cool manner, and games on either platform only plays on that platform, unless there's another version available on it (except certain games, which i'll get into in a bit). However, if your son is familiar with some PlayStation brands and characters, he may feel at home with some PSP games which feature the familiar franchises.

You also mention him playing with your phone and loving it, as well as download only: The PlayStation Network does certainly offer quite a bit of games, including downloadable versions of the ones in-stores, but not sure for a 7 year old. Most of the PSP games off the PSN can be anywhere below $20, and can take up to a little over 1 gigs of memory. And there's another thing I I should point out: The PSP core package, which is about $99 now, does not include a Memory Stick Duo, if I recall correctly. Additional memory is cheaper now than it was at launch, though: I think a 2 gig card can be bought for about $15 now, or less.
But I think the best games for your son, being that he's 7, may be the PlayStation "minis", which are small games that can be played on both PS3 and PSP. They are essentially like iPhone/iPod/iOS/Andriod pick-up-and-play apps, however, they don't quite share the same impulse-buy $.99 price tag as those apps. Many cost about a couple bucks, some even up to $10. However, there are quite a bit of them and in their library and I'm sure your son will find something he'll like. I think the better deal here is, if you're already a PlayStation Plus subscriber, you have a bunch of minis for him to play with (just as long as you remain a Plus subscriber). I think the best thing for you is to browse the PSP and Minis selection on the PlayStation Store on your PS3 to see if there's anything your son would like.

As for your concerns for the PSP library dying out: To be honest, support for the system has already been dying out. For evidence, just walk into any games store or games section of any big-box retailer and you'll find that the PSP section is very small, especially compared to the DS section. Most developers have shied away from the PSP due to piracy issues, so there really hasn't been too many PSP games being released recently. Most games added to the PSP section of the PSN store are just older PSP games that are finally available digitally, or Minis.
Also, downloadable versions of the original PlayStation's games are also available to play on the PSP, however, they may not control very well with some buttons missing (L2/R2, right stick) and may be a bit too out-dated for your son.

If you're still looking into the PSP, I'd say that it offers a nice fun quick-fix of gaming for cheap, but I'm pretty sure that your son will eventually want something better.

To run down your options here:

  • Generally as low as $99 now
  • About 800 games available and counting (slowly). That number also includes 150+ PS1 Classics and 200+ Minis, or in other words: Less than 500 actual PSP games.
  • Many games under $20, new releases generally $29.99, few dollars for each Minis
  • No memory built in: Need to purchase a Memory Stick Duo card which can be about $15-$20 for a gig or two
  • Full games available in physical form (a small disk in a plastic case) or digitally via PSN. Not all PSP games available in digital format.
  • Allows photo/video/music playback, limited web-browsing
  • No camera included: Can purchase a USB attachment with either Invizimals (a virtual monster catching/fighting game) or EyePet (a virtual pet simulator) for under $39.99
Nintendo 3DS
  • Now only $169.99
  • Currently only about 77 3DS-specific games, but also backwards compatible with the 1200+ DS games out there. Few games available to download off the Nintendo eStore.
  • New 3DS games generally $39.99, most DS games around $20 or less. eStore games anywhere from a few dollars up to $9.99
  • 2 GB SD card included. Can be upgraded with any SD card, which can be as cheap as $9.99 now
  • Full 3DS/DS games not available on the eStore
  • Allows photo/video/music playback, can even mess around with photos and audio. Also includes augmented reality games, activity log (games you play and how many steps you take when bringing the 3DS with you), Mii creation and sharing, and web browser. More apps available, including Netflix
  • Has a built-in face-forward camera and a two outer 3D cameras to take 3D pictures and video
iPod Touch
  • As low as $199 for an 8 GB version
  • Apple touts over 500,000 apps, 100,000 of which are "games and entertainment titles"
  • Many apps are free or $.99. Some are a few dollars. Apps may include in-app purchasing to unlock additional items/features for a fee.
  • No additional expandable memory options: The version you buy is what you're stuck with
  • All apps are downloadable: No physical media to deal with
  • Allows photo/video/music playback, includes web browser, messenger, and even more functionality via apps
  • Includes cameras built in on both sides, allows HD video recording
  • Must be tied with an Apple ID, which needs a credit card on it. Be sure to safeguard yourself to avoid having him making any purchase without your knowledge
I hope that helps!
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We went with the DSi which we found used at Gamestop in pristine condition for about $50 bucks or so after trading in his DS and he couldn't be happier, especially with increase in screen size and camera.

The thought of buying an Apple product, to be honest, makes me nauseous as I don't believe in their business practice of "suing to try and bring down competition". Then there is also the thought of giving my 8-yr old a $200 device to wreck. :'(

Thanks guys for the great responses.
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