Dave Perry Mouths Off About UMD

Just like the Dyacks and Eggebrechts of the world, Dave Perry has spun his meager success into a platform for commentating on the sidelines of the gaming industry. When the best you can say is that he helped create a series that was popular when you were in middle school (Earthworm Jim), it’s hard to take his assessment of the current industry very seriously. Now, I don’t hate any of these guys. They have been around the block, they’re taken their hits and, at some point in history, earned their keep. But they’re fighting for continued relevance in an industry that seems to have outpaced them and that sometimes produces talk, loose talk — the kind of banter that serves as good fodder for filler interviews on gaming press sites.

This time, Perry had something to say about Sony’s format du jour, the UMD. He said to Gamesindustry.biz:

“They really need to restart the PSP programme in my book. They really need to bring out the PSP 3.0 and start again and try to get a lot of units out by reducing the manufacturing costs, by taking out all the motors and drives and stuff they have in there.”

“That will make it even more sexy-looking, because it will be thinner again when they get all that junk out. Then, hopefully, the platform will actually get enough interest so that people will make a game specifically for it”

Granted, UMD’s had about the same success as Betamax, but that was due to Sony’s misguided efforts in marketing it as an “all-in-one” medium for movies and music, as well as gaming. If you’re going to position something in that regard, it better be more than wishful thinking. You better have the resources to dedicate to all facets of a product right off the bat. This unfortunately seems to be Sony’s general problem. They’re not sure what they want to be, and even if they were, they don’t seem to know how to go about it. I mean, what happened to Sony Connect, their download service that was going to be adapted to the PSP? Or the distribution of online content that’s been yakked about since the Playstation 2? PSN’s gone a long way considering where Sony’s come from, but even that does little to deliver on the original expectations.

I’m veering off the point a bit, but this seems to be Perry’s solution to the UMD problem: put all the content online. Forget the drive. But we aren’t playing GBA games here. The UMD can store about 1.8 gigs of space for a relatively minimal cost – even less than Sony’s own Memory Sticks, which would be the appropriate replacement. Enterprising gamers have long since figured out how to rip their games to the format, but it still takes a lot of time and effort to do so. Unless Sony aims to make it easy and provides the average consumer with an appropriate amount of space for their games, UMD is still the most applicable storage medium for the portable.

Dave Perry Wants Your Body

Don’t let this man’s sultry gaze seduce you. He speaks only in lies!

So if UMD needs to stick around, so do a lot of the parts Perry thinks they can excise. If not a UMD drive or Memory Stick distribution, then the PSP needs a hard disk, which is going to affect the size and weight anyway. The look has nothing to do with it, Dave. Or at least, much less emphasis than you put on it. The DS was taking off even before its Lite revision. You claim that only then would a developer choose to create games specific for the platform, but what of Crisis Core, only the latest example of a game available only for the PSP? What needs to be clarfied is the system’s purpose and Sony’s marketing has done little to correct that over the years. I think most people still don’t realize the power of the machine. Maybe God of War: Chains of Olympus will change their minds, but I would certainly advise leaving the other functions by the wayside. Push gaming or push them all. One or the other. And whatever you do, push hard. We don’t live in fairy magic land where most conusmers can figure this out on their own, as unfortunate as that is. Untapped potential doesn’t sell systems!

But Dave, we don’t need to hear this from someone whose days are spent developing MMOs that nobody has ever heard of and even fewer have played. You talk down to Sony for not being market leaders while ignoring the behemoth known as World of Warcraft behind your back. Especially when you acknowledge in the same breath that:

“The truth is, the stores will not carry PSPs unless they feel they are going to get a piece of the action on the back end. And Sony has not come up with an innovative business model that can support that concept.”

UMD isn’t the only waste of time and money in this industry. Your continued employment might be, too.

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~ by Cavin Smith on September 17, 2007.

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