Speculations on PSP2

Just posting my theories/speculations on what the PSP2 will offer.

Graphics: nVidia Tegra2

This one is posted about a lot. If you Google around, you’ll find a lot of news entries indicating that Sony is planning on the nVidia Tegra2. Other rumors out there indicate that the PSP2 was supposed to show at E3, but because it was a little over-budget for power it had been delayed until CES 2011 for an announcement.

CPU: Cell?

Rumor mills are spreading this information as well. Seeing that Sony’s already invested quite a bit in this technology, it would be a waste not to use it in a portable system. It’d likely be weaker than the PS3’s.

Format: MiniDVD or MiniBD?

This one is a bit of a jump, but allow me to explain. It’s already pretty obvious that the UMD format has failed in general. The movie industry didn’t really take off with the UMD Video format, what with the proprietary nature of it all.

What I imagine is that the PSP2 will have a disc slot for MiniDVD or MiniBD formats instead of the original UMD format. The UMD format itself is also playable, but to do so you’d have to remove the white casing. Retail chains would likely be trained to help customers remove the white casing, and seeing that some are familiar with replacing the UMD case, this is probably not a hard thing to tackle.

UMD offers 900 MB for single-layer, 1.8 GB for dual-layer. MiniDVD offers 1.4 GB in its current form, but could offer 2.8GB in dual-layer. MiniBD is not a very ready technology yet, but builds on the existing BD discs out there. Capacity for it is around 7.5 GB for a single-layer disc, and learning that Kojima was not too happy with the disc format’s limitations, I’m sure he’d be more than happy to use a full 7.5 GB. Perhaps with dual-layer, it can be boosted to 16 GB.

My biggest concern though is random access times, not throughput. You can get throughput to be really high if you wish, but I feel it’s not worth it if you can’t access data randomly in short periods of time on average. MiniDVD format might allow for better random access times, but MiniBD might not right now due to BD still being an evolving technology.

Storage: More Flash

PSP Go already offers 16 GB, and we’ve seen 16 and 32 GB Memory Stick formats out there on the market. Sony’s been also working closely with SanDisk to offer better storage solutions as well.

I predict the PSP2 will support the Memory Stick, but not the same way it used to. Instead, it’ll be a multiple-flash solution, similar to the SD/MMC/MS slots that we’ve been seeing on laptops. They’ve been around for years now, often coming as standard on the machines. It would be a mistake not to have this support on the PSP2, as people would like to store large amounts of data but not have to spend a lot to get the storage capacity.

If data security is an issue, the PSP2 will likely not require MagicGate anymore, instead opting for RSA signature checks to make sure that data and whatnot is secure. Internal flash storage within the PSP2 is also a given, but Sony may opt not to put in too much to keep the price down.

PSN: 3G?

This one is an interesting development. It’s not just the Nintendo 3DS that’s looking to do this, but Sony has also taken some interest in the Kindle idea; make access to the PlayStation Store free via 3G, instead gathering revenue through digital downloads. With 3G access in the system though, it means that the system could be connected indefinitely to PSN much like the PS3. Will this mean proper online support for games, rather than just via ad-hoc?

Though I imagine that to play games on 3G, you still have to pay some kind of access fee. 802.11 Wi-Fi support is still a given, but I wonder if they’ll push it to 802.11n? Perhaps only 802.11g.

Accessories

Looking at the PSP Go, we’re likely looking at Bluetooth connectivity to allow usage with a PS3 gamepad. The same connector for component and audio is likely to stick around, but I wonder if they’ll try with mini-HDMI this time around. With a Cell CPU and nVidia GPU in the machine, I reckon Sony will try pushing the system more as a portable multimedia system with features not unlike the PS3.

Even if they do offer mini-HDMI, I do hope that Sony does something like disable HDCP for anyone who wishes to record game footage from the PSP2 via mini-HDMI. Maybe they should do the same for the PS3 too…

Region Locking

This should be a non-issue, but I’d like to see Japan/US PSN stuff not being region locked either, including movies, comics, etc. It’d also be nice if they made it possible to activate a US and Japan PSN account on a single PSP2 at the same time (even better if they retroactively did it for PSP1).

Piracy

With the development of the PSP-3000 and PSP Go, you basically have an environment where only signed code will work so as long as the firmware currently running is not exploitable. I don’t claim to be an expert on the topic, but it should be obvious by now that modchips or other more tricky methods are not plausible. I imagine it’s set up more like the newest line of Wii consoles, where there’s an initial boot that does an RSA signature check before checking the firmware, and so on. However, said initial boot is likely placed on ROM, making it impossible to rewrite to a different signature check (or removing the check altogether). And even if modchips were placed on other chips in the system, it’d be easily patched. The only real method I’d imagine, is to replace the boot ROM altogether but even that is a daunting task.

Also, proprietary formats don’t stop piracy. If people want to pirate on a PSP, they’ll go through other means, such as breaking the firmware, and so on. If you have to protect your software on the format, you have to go through other means, such as obfuscating the filesystem or going with a completely proprietary filesystem, RSA checks and whatnot. The PS3 appears to have done this successfully, so what is to stop Sony from doing the same thing on a PSP2?

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One Response to Speculations on PSP2

  1. The Ender003 says:

    I wonder what kind of screen it would have. If I’m remembering things correctly about OLED screens, they would probably be perfect for something that’s going to need every spare ounce of power.