The PlayStation Portable (PSP), which was launched in March 2005, was not Sony’s first attempt to create a portable gaming device. Sony had launched another device called the “PocketStation” in December 1998 to compete with Sega’s VMU for the DreamCast. The unit was originally released in Japan, but because of its unpopularity it was never released in the United States or other countries. The main reason the unit failed might be the fact that the PocketStation never had any type of game cartridge media to insert into the unit. To play games on the unit you were required to own a PlayStation One. Then to get games onto the Pocket Station you had to plug the unit into the memory card slot on the PS1 then transfer games over. (also serves as a Memory Card) Another reason for failure was the fact that there were only a handful of PS1 games that actually included “mini-games” for the Pocket Station. Because of this design, the unit was absolutely pointless for the majority to purchase.
[Thanks for the pics, lipanz]
Other things Sony had intended for Pocket Station to be a tool to “train” characters and unlock new features in the full game editions. This was pretty much a rip off of Sega‘s Virtual Memory Unit they released to go along with the DreamCast, which was eventually another failure because of the buggy parent unit. The Pocket Station also had speakers, a clock, infrared (for multiplayer), and once again served as a memory card. Pocket Stations are now “rare” novelty items and can only be purchased for high prices on sites such as eBay. This might have also been a plan to compete with Tamagotchi, but Sony obviously never came through.
- CPU : ARM7T (32 bit RISC Processor)
- Memory : SRAM 2K bytes & Flash RAM 128K bytes
- Graphics : 32 x 32 dot Monochrome LCD
- Sound : Mini Speaker (12 bit PCM) x 1 unit
- Switches : 5 input buttons + 1 reset button
- Infrared : Bi-directional (IrDA based)
- LED : 1 indicator
- Battery : Lithium battery (CR 2032)
- Other functions : Calendar & Identification #
- Dimensions : 64 x 42 x 13.5 mm (L x W x H)
- Weight : Approx. 30g (w/ battery)