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I make games. I also play them. I talk about both activities here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tekken PSP - A Sign of the Times?

So Tekken Dark Resurrection is coming to the PSP, completely sidestepping a console release. I have to say, as a longtime Tekken fan - at least, someone who has played Tekken for quite a while - this is quite disappointing. You see, while the PSP does possess multiplayer capability, most see handhelds as largely a single-player device. Particularly the PSP, which despite being the dominant handheld in America, is perplexingly uncommon. And while certainly fighting games can be played single-player, their greatness is truly born out of the multiplayer experience (one of the things that I attribute to the decline in popularity of fighting games, but that's a subject for another time).

So why is Namco doing this? Well my first guess is that they don't have much choice.

Back in March of 2002, Sega unleashed their legendary opus Virtua Fighter 4 on the Ps2, garnering immediate praise and rare commercial success for the series in America. Always the perfectionists (and opportunists), Sega released an update to the game - called Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution - in Japanese arcades in the summer of that same year. This update, offering substantial upgrades to both the combat system as well as the highly-regarded customization modes, catapulted the series to even greater heights of popularity. In a circumstance that has become internet legend, Sony is said to have balked at Sega's application for license, refusing to allow Virtua Fighter 4: Evo to come out on the Ps2 at full price. Wanting to release their game on the dominant platform, Sega was left with little wiggle room. They released their semi-sequel as a Greatest Hits replacement for the original Virtua Fighter 4 in August of 2003, retailing for twenty dollars.

I bring this up to speculate. While we may be gnashing our teeth and shaking our collective fists at Namco, is it possible that we're placing the blame in the wrong place? Maybe they wanted to bring the goodness home to the Ps2, and it's Sony, in their desperate attempt to gain a foothold in the portable market, who're strongarming Namco into releasing their hugely successful franchise on their software-anorexic device. And let's not forget, while Sony might let Namco release Tekken Dark Resurrection as a Greatest Hits on the Ps2, which would sell for twenty bucks, the PSP version will sell for $40 or $50 - effectively earning Namco more money for the same product. Tekken on the PSP is almost guaranteed to sell more hardware, and I can easily see the game becoming one of the system's best sellers. Plus, despite the complaining that some of the hardcore may do, ultimately they're going to buy the game anyway. So really in the end, Tekken on the PSP is a minor annoyance for some, and a huge win for most.

It won't stop me from complaining, though.

Thanks for reading.


  • At 12:27 AM, Blogger Derek Daniels said…

    Capcom recently published Street Fighter Alpha 3 for the PSP - causing many of us to run out and fix our dpads to ensure maximum dragon punchage. Now that Tekken is going portable - the PSP is starting to look like the fighting game console of choice. The dreamcast of 2k6 (more ways than just fighting games, that for sure)!

    But its an interesting sign of the times - fighting games going portable so that you can battle your friends anywhere as long as both of you have a psp. Its like fighting games are now becoming so 'simple' that you can just put them on the portable machine and away you go. It's almost as if when your parents don't want to watch over you and hand you some crayons and say, 'go draw'.

    Have you had a chance to play Bleach for the DS? I heard Treasure did it and I've heard good things. I don't think it's coming to America and I'm too lazy to track down an import version.

    I can't lie though, i'm looking forward to the Power Stone collection on the psp. Its a game that I feel suits the psp as well as tetris did with the original gameboy.


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