As of press time, there are over 4,800 angry posts on Sony's PlayStation Portable website. The topic of nearly every post: Where the hell's the system update?
For the non-PSP gamer—e.g., those who aren't the angry geeks venting their frustrations on the internet—here's the lowdown: A while ago, Sony promised a firmware download for the PSP—one that would enable internet browsing from the handheld gaming device. While the über-expensive PSP has been successful with both gaming and multimedia (PSP users are able to watch films on the handheld, and they can store audio files and photos on the device's memory stick), one thing lacking has been internet browsing, a feature that Sony's much-delayed system update is set to fix.
Sony's not alone in its aspirations to bring internet access to handheld gaming—Nintendo's DS handheld is also getting internet capability later this year. For PSP and DS users, this'll be a huge surge in how they can use their portable gaming machines. But it's a good guess that Sony and Nintendo are fishing somewhere else with the lure of internet capability: the mainstream.
By adding internet capability to their previously geek-only devices, Sony and Nintendo are backing up their handheld gaming devices with stuff that non-gamers want to use—beyond games, movies, and music, soon you'll be able to surf the net from a device small enough to fit in your pocket. It's a smart move—if nothing else, the big three in gaming (Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo) have expressed a desire to move into the mainstream and away from the fringe of hardcore gamers; once people can access the internet from a handheld gaming device, a lot more people are going to be interested in picking up a PSP or DS. So yeah—for the bajillion angry geeks venting their frustrations on Sony's message boards, the system update's a big deal. But when it comes to the acceptance of gaming hardware by the mainstream, it's a really big deal. Or, you know—it will be whenever Sony releases that system update.