Now that 2007 has started, there's a whole lot of potential for the PSP. In similar fashion to last year, I'll give you five PSP predictions, but be warned: these are far more daring than last year's incredibly accurate predictions. Feel free to disagree with me, or give your own predictions in the comments section.
PSP Prediction #1: Sony will introduce a new portable addition to the PlayStation brand.
And it won't be a PSP redesign. In many ways, it will be exactly the same as the PSP: it will feature an upgradeable XMB that features Photos, Music and Videos. It will even be compatible with PSP accessories, such as the headset, GPS, and camera. Heck, it'll even play UMD movies. However, there's one thing it won't do: play games. The device will be set as a competitor to the iPod and will feature a portable hard drive. It'll be smaller than a PSP, feature a video-out, and will be compatible with a revamped PlayStation Store (see prediction #2).
PSP Prediction #2: Revamped PlayStation store features movies and music.
The Connect brand will be abandoned as Sony moves its digital distribution ambitions to the PlayStation Store. PS3 owners will be able to download HD movies directly to their systems. The 1080P downloads will also include free access to PSP-formatted versions of the film as an added value. The PlayStation Store will expand to the PC (but not the Mac), and will offer games, movies, and music for all of Sony's gaming and non-gaming platforms. With unrestricted access to Columbia Pictures, and a large audience of media-hungry PS3 and PSP owners, the PlayStation Store will be successful (a very distant second next to Apple's iTunes Store).
PSP Prediction #3: A popular Microsoft franchise will appear on PSP.
Although there are rumors that Microsoft plans to transform Zune into a gaming device, I think Microsoft will skip this generation's battle and support the PSP with one title from its library (which includes franchises like Halo, Gears of War, MechAssault). They've already allowed Majesco and THQ to publish multiple DS & GBA games, such as Age of Empires.
PSP Prediction #4: A future firmware upgrade will boost PSP speed to 333MHz.
Sony will finally unlock the PSP's full technical potential by allowing developers to use all 333HMz of PSP's processing power (the system currently is limited to 222MHz). Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Stories will be among the first games released to take advantage of the upgrade.
PSP Prediction #5: Expect tons of established franchises & far less original IPs.
Okay, I wanted at least one sure-thing on this list. The PSP hasn't launched too many original IPs in its two-year life span. Publishers will look at sales and will continue to bring ports, remakes, and sequels to their established franchises. We'll see some of these announced or released throughout the year: Soul Calibur, Resident Evil, and yes, another Metal Gear Solid.
[Update 1: Corrected some info in prediction #3.]