Hi. I'm Mike. This isn't updated often.

Tag: sony

PSP Game Transfer and Error Message Woes

It seems I don’t exactly have the best luck with video game hardware lately. My 360’s USB ports seem to be on the fritz, my Wii has graphical glitches that seem to stem from WiiConnect24 (a story which I somehow missed back in 2007), and my PSP? Well, other than the one that just flat-out died in its first year, my replacement has been pretty fine!

The system has not gotten a whole lot of use over the previous year, last being the system of choice for a play-through of the original Suikoden. I have been amassing a bunch of PSP games (along with lots of cheap PS1 games via PSN) though, so I decided to pick up a 16GB memory stick to load up, which arrived a couple days ago.

Since tossing a 320GB drive into my PS3, I have greatly enjoyed using it as the central location for the entire PlayStation family (which is… well, really just the PS3 itself and the PSP for now) — I keep every single game I have purchased over PSN right there on the system without having to worry about juggling content due to limited hard drive space. That includes things like ~35 PS1 games, a crap-ton of free Minis, Neutopia for the PCEngine/TG-16, and the two free PSP games I got as a part of the “Welcome Back” program last year (LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers).

One of the features I have always liked so much about the tight integration with the two Sony platforms is the ability to play PS1 games on both systems with just a single purchase, and freely copy games and save files between them. With PSN being prone to massive slowdowns and bottlenecks (even with the magic of FiOS!), it has always made the most sense for me to just keep it all on the PS3, hook the PSP up to it via USB when necessary, and copy stuff over — it is far more efficient and painless than loading up the PlayStation Store on the PSP itself, navigating the store or my download history, and individually selecting things to re-download from there.

So imagine my surprise when I could not copy things over to my PSP the other night. There was simply no “Copy” option (navigate on the XMB to the item you want, press “Triangle”, select “Copy” when the PSP is hooked up and in USB mode; you can do the same thing with video and audio files when, for example, a USB stick is hooked up). That was… weird, to say the least.

Those familiar with the PSN download process know that, unlike over on the 360, the PS3 separates the “download” and the “install” of items. If you download an item from the store and let it be (without going to background downloading to putt around elsewhere), it will finish the download, and then immediately install the item. If you go elsewhere, however, the download file will sit in a type of “bubble”-icon within the “Games” section of the XMB — pressing the “X” button on this will “install” the game and place it into the appropriate folder (PS3 games, PS1 games, Minis, etc.).

I had a couple different types of files available to me, so I started experimenting. Could I press “Triangle” and then “Copy” a PS1 game already installed like I use to be able to? Nope. Could I do it with the Dissidia Duodecim Prologus Final Fantasy files (game + Aerith assist) that I had downloaded the prior day, which were sitting in a “bubble” above the folders? Yes. Could I do it with the three PS1 Syphon Filter games I downloaded for free the prior day as a part of PS+, which were also still sitting in their own “bubble” icons, not-yet-installed? Nope. Was the copy option there with Neutopia? Nope. Was it there for any of the Minis? Nope.

How about the PSP software from the “Welcome Back” program (which was not in a “bubble”, but filed in its respective PSP folder)? Yes, the option was there, but would result in an error message:

My next thought was that somehow I had too many systems “registered” with my online identity — I did have another PSP, after all (the one sent back to me was a replacement, not a fixed version of the same exact one I sent back). After slogging around the main website and knowledge base, I ended up over on the website. From here, I was able to see that I had three systems “activated” with Sony and tied to my online ID: one PS3, and two PSPs. One of them was clearly the old system, which of course had been activated and tied to the account, but I no longer had physical possession of.

This, as I would correctly figure out, all ties in to a new policy Sony put in place this past November: the amount of systems that could be “activated” and tied to an account to play downloaded games would be decreased from five to two.

PS3: Users will be able to play the game on up to 2 activated PS3 systems.
PSP: Users will be able to play the game on up to 2 activated PSP systems.

Even then, the policy was confusing. What about things like PS1 games that were playable on both systems? Was that one PS3 system and one PSP system (equal to two total systems), or one PS3 system and two PSP systems, since that still restricted it to two systems of the same type? It went on to be clarified that the new policy was only applicable to new downloads you made after the November 18th cut-off — things you downloaded prior to that could still be played on the five-system limit.

Plenty of my content had been downloaded prior to that November 18th cut-off (things like Suikoden on the PS1, which had still been sitting there the whole time, and which I had transferred via the USB method from PS3-to-PSP a year prior), but that “Copy” option was inexplicably no longer there.

The next thing I tried was simply logging onto the PlayStation Store directly on the PSP, and checking my account information. All good there, with an accurate download history as well (though entirely out of chronological order, which is another mess for another day). I could even re-download things with no problem (such as Grandia for the PS1, which I had recently grabbed during its $2.99 sale). So it was not like I could not use content on my PSP at all, but the break-down point was clearly between the PS3 and the PSP.

It is here that we circle back to those three activated systems. Even with older-downloaded content, I wanted to check to see if perhaps having three systems was the problem. I tried to simply “activate” the PSP right on the system itself (“Account Management” –> “Activate System”). The error message: 80109D80.

Huh. OK. The new customer site allows you to remotely deactivate your systems, though you have to do it in one fell swoop, and cannot individually pick a system to deactivate. That was fine — I would just deactivate them all, and then re-activate the PS3 and PSP that I own and have in my possession. That seemed like the cleanest way to start fresh with the systems I truly, actually, physically had right in front of me and could fully account for.

It went fine for the first few steps. The deactivation went well, and I was able to activate the PS3 immediately. The PSP would not activate, however — not through the PS3 when hooked up over USB (“Account Management” –> “Activate System” –> “PSP System”), nor directly on the PSP. The following error message popped up each time and in each location: 80109D80.

OK, weird yet again. I tried a few more times (and attempted to look up the error messages on Sony’s own website, which was not even listed in their database!), and decided it was time for a call to PlayStation customer support.

The phone call was ~45 minutes in total. Probably ~10 of that was the initial maneuvering through automated prompts and being placed on hold for a live support representative. When I finally got through, “Joe” was totally awesome — very personable, very understanding, very knowledgeable, and very quick to compliment me on actually knowing what I was doing and talking about at every opportunity he could (I can only imagine the crazies that call in).

I explained the whole situation, and as expected, the 80109D80 error code was not listed in his database, either. We tried a bunch of basic stuff first (check that the online ID is actually the same on both systems, restore the PSP to factory settings, try reactivating the system again, try different types of content again). I asked if attempting to activate a system so many times would raise some security flag. Joe asked how many times I had tried (I dunno… maybe 10?), and replied that if I had tried so many times, one more was not going to hurt — indeed, we kept getting the same 80109D80 error code. At some point Joe suggested that, if re-downloading on the PSP worked, I should just stick with that option. That was unacceptable to me, though, since I no longer had a feature that had always been available to me, and it was far more convenient to copy from the PS3 than to navigate to the store on the PSP and individually select each item to re-download.

Joe eventually decided that we reached the limit of what he knew and could do, so he asked if I would be willing to wait around 10 minutes for the next level up of a specialist. “Sure, why the Hell not?” I was only on hold for maybe one minute before Joe came back on:

“You’re not going to believe how we can fix this.” (well, something like that; it definitely started with “you’re not going to believe”)

For whatever reason that we still could not clarify, the new DRM wrapping and two-system policy was indeed the likely culprit. To test the possible solution, Joe wanted me to delete something on the PS3, re-download it, and see if I had the option to copy it over via USB mode — all while still on the phone with him. OK! I wanted to go with something small enough that would not take forever to re-download, so I chose Where Is My Heart?, the pretty-well-regarded Mini that I had not yet had a chance to play (~50 MB or so). Deleted, signed in to the PlayStation Store, re-downloaded. The game did not automatically install, so it sat there in the “bubble” icon above the folders. I selected it and tried to “Copy” it… and yes, the option was there!

New error message, though: 80029780.

The groan/sigh/laugh of understanding on the other side of the phone was hilarious. Joe knew exactly what this was. This was finally the “you have been locked out of copying files for seven days for too many activation attempts” error message (Sony’s site defines it as, “You have reached the maximum number of downloads for an unactivated system”). Yes, the account had eventually been flagged for security concerns. What was never really answered, though, is why older content (that should have still had the five-system limit, and had been copied a year before with absolutely no system changes or alterations in the mean time) could not be copied.

Thankfully, it was not as if the online ID was “banned” or not usable in other ways; I could still re-download items directly on the PSP if I wanted to, and seven days from that phone conversation, I would be able to start copying files again. The caveat was that I would have to re-download all of those items on the PS3 (to get the new DRM wrapping and account syncs) before I could transfer them to the PSP… which still means I have to re-download every single last compatible item, but at least it would be on the PS3 for centralized/future access.

So that is where we stand. Seven days from now I will try copying files over again, and will update the post with the results! With no real, well-written, informative posts out there concerning these specific error messages, my goal here is to hopefully save someone the trouble of how to go about “fixing” this issue; documentation for this kind of stuff is clearly limited. As Joe and I both discussed, we both knew exactly what we were doing and talking about, and neither of us could get it resolved in a timely fashion — how on Earth is the everyday gamer supposed to figure this out?!

Also, someone please give Joe a raise or at least a free day off. He was great. My favorite part of the conversation was (other than being told over and over how awesome I was) probably reading my online ID aloud (which is, of course, just “v – e – g – e – t – t – o – e – x”), and being asked with a laugh what that spells out. I wasn’t sure if that meant he knew who I was by some cosmic coincidence; if he did, he didn’t mention it. I guess that means it was just funny, and hearing someone else say “VegettoEX” to me on the phone is indeed hysterical.

If you will indulge me just for a tad bit longer, let me point out that the root of this entire problem was DRM (and specifically, a policy change with regard to DRM). I understand the reasoning for changing the policy — “game sharing” had (apparently) gotten slightly out-of-control. Reducing the number of allowed devices was an attempt to squash that issue in some way. The problem that it created was that I — a legitimate customer — was suddenly unable to do what I had previously been able to do with the items I purchased (well, “licensed”). All I wanted to do was transfer games from one system to another. Had I hacked my PSP and installed custom firmware, I would have been able to load up my memory stick with any PS1 and PSP game(s) I wanted, with absolutely zero restrictions.

I am not advocating for free-reign piracy on the system. This entire ordeal was a clear example of how the wrong approach and policy shifts within an existing DRM scheme can really rub your paying customers (and I have significant investments there) the wrong way, however. I have to be honest: in this case, the great customer service I received basically talked me out of finally getting around to hacking the damn system. The slightest extra inconvenience would have pushed me over the edge. I am half-tempted to buy another PSP just to have one totally legit and one with custom firmware just to compare the two experiences side-by-side.

Am I just being spoiled? Sure. I could have (as Joe suggested) just re-downloaded every item I wanted directly on the PSP rather than transferring it from the PS3. Why should I have to, though? I am almost starting to come around to a full understanding-and-sympathizing viewpoint of the “they took away my Linux!” crowd… and that was always crazy (albeit in an understandable way) to me.

Apple’s Smug, Egotistical, and Misleading Self-Proclaimed Jump to Gaming Market Leader

It feels like we could go on endlessly about 9/9/09. It was the tenth anniversary of the Dreamcast, the tenth anniversary of Final Fantasy VIII, Harmonix’s The Beatles: Rock Band came out, and… Apple randomly decided that it’s the market leader in handheld gaming.

Apple held a press event on that date announcing new developments in their iPhone and iPod line of products. Many were expecting an announcement of The Beatles finally coming to digital distribution (and exclusively through the iTunes Store), but a huge focus of the presentation ended up being on video games. Apple has dabbled in this before (particularly with their “funnest iPod ever” claims), but this time around they went for blood.

This would be entirely fine, except for the fact that they were misleading, occasionally flat-out wrong, and they deserve to be put in their place. Sure, I’m just some tool on the internet with a part-time video game blog. I even own every single system in question (DS, PSP, iPhone), so it doesn’t particularly affect me in any significant way. Still, I have a huge problem with intentionally misleading and misinforming people.

The entirety of the presentation is up for download from Apple as a video podcast in the iTunes Store. Any quotes and images used below are taken from this freely-available video.

When you think about it, the companies that have come before us… Nintendo and Sony with devices like the PSP and the DS… when these things came out, they seemed so cool. But once you play a game on the iPod Touch, you know… they don’t really stack up anymore!


Came before you? They’re a part of the same generation. I suppose they came “first”, sure, but they are continuing with hardware revisions (DSi, PSPgo) and software upgrades at the same time Apple is continuing with the same thing. Hell, you could twist it around and say that the PSPgo is a newer system than the first-generation iPhone. What is that actually saying, though…? Not much.

And really? They don’t stack up anymore? It will be interesting to see how the iPhone version of Madden 10 does, especially when the PSP version is still getting pretty good reviews. While I hate to use it as a reference, the MetaCritic list of “best” DS games sure has a few that still “stack up”. Most notably is the power of Mario Kart DS, which sold another bazillion copies in July 2009… nearly four years after its original release.

One thing Apple conveniently forgot to mention is how games typically seen as “iPhone Games” are suddenly jumping ship to other platforms. Fieldrunners, one of the first, great tower-defense iPhone games, is hopping over to the PSP Mini catalog. In fact, the process of porting it over was “easy” according to the developer! Expect to see more from-the-iPhone ports in the future as developers build a base product and then turn their eyes elsewhere. You can easily argue that they build a significant and loyal audience on the iPhone with the original versions of the games, but there is an equally-important audience elsewhere they can cash in on, too.

They don’t have this amazing multitouch user interface.


Certainly not false. Apple is absolutely right; neither the Nintendo DS or the PSP (or any hardware variation thereof) have a multitouch user interface. At the same time, let’s not forget who spearheaded most of the input schemes for controlling games, as well as feedback from those controls, into home console and portable gaming. Sure, they didn’t develop these technologies, but things like force-feedback (rumble packs), touch control (DS), motion control (Wii), system interoperability and connection (Gamecube+GBA, Wii+DS)… all pioneered and usually perfected by Nintendo.

I’m with ya’ on the PSP, though. The analog nub is pretty terrible.

Their games are kind of expensive.

Now when I say they’re expensive, we’re talking about 25, 30, 40 dollars for a title. A lot of kids can’t afford a lot of titles. I mean, you give one of those, you’re giving a need to spend a lot of money on those titles.

Yes, an at-launch retail game for the DS or PSP is going to be more expensive than the bottomed-out $0.99 price range for most “game and entertainment titles” (a phrase we’ll revisit) in Apple’s App Store. I don’t think too many people will dispute this. Of course, things like development costs, hardware manufacturing, licensing, etc. all contribute to the price. A physical product will typically cost more than a digital-distribution product. Again, not really lying, but certainly misleading.

By the way… how is giving someone an iPod Touch and telling them they can’t have any more games or apps any different from giving someone a DS and telling them they can’t have (or can’t afford) any more games? You’re somehow enabling and forcing someone to spend more money…? I… guess…? I don’t buy this argument for a second. It’s fluff, it’s ridiculous, and if anything, it shows that it takes far more products (more and more apps and games) to satiate their own iPod Touch gamer than it would a DS or PSP gamer.

They don’t even have anything like the App Store for finding great games and titles.

Here’s where things are changing, though, and where Apple is outright lying. Digital distribution helps to bring costs down. We’re not there yet, but many of the DSiware games and upcoming PSP Minis are not and will not be the same as a Tiger Woods game, either in content or cost.

Furthermore, the PSP has had a store since launch. It may not always have been as tightly integrated as it is now (requiring either a PS3 or a computer to purchase and manage software), but the PlayStation Store has certainly been there. The DSi launched with its own version of the Shop Channel, itself also included at launch with the Wii. DSiware games were available immediately, with a growing catalog of at least one game per week.

But worse isn’t the price, it’s the BUYING experience! Having to go a store and try to find the hot new game for one of those devices is not a lot of fun.

The buying experience on an iPod Touch is incredible; it’s truly breakthrough. Built into every iPod Touch is the App Store… can find access to all these 75,000 titles. It’s just incredible. If you look JUST at the gaming and entertainment category ALONE, you’re going to see a big difference.


Let’s play a little game called, “How confusing is it to find something in the iTunes Store?

First thing I did was go to the iTunes Store main page. I’m thinking, “OK, self… we want to buy a game. I own an iPod Touch. Surely, I will click ‘iPod Games’, right…?


Of course not. That brings you to the iPod Click Wheel Games section, intended for the Nano and Classic series of iPods. Those of us who follow this kind of material know what it all means, sure… but picture someone who doesn’t.


All right, fine; let’s go to App Store, instead.


I’m struggling to understand how this looks like anything other than a digital version of the same GameStop store shelf Apple shows in their presentation. It’s overwhelming, it’s clunky, and it needs a lot of improvement. Sure, the iTunes Store has undergone some upgrades and clean-up since this particular version (shown through iTunes 8), but it’s hardly a convincing argument.

And they certainly don’t deliver a media experience like the iPod that’s built into the iPod Touch.

While it’s true that if you want to listen to music on the DS, it has always involved hacking the system and loading homebrew software. The PSP, on the other hand, has had integrated music and video support from the very start. RSS feeds can be added, allowing for podcast streaming right from the device. On top of all that, a web browser is included. The cross-media bar (XMB) isn’t always the most intuitive and streamlined interface, but for a while Sony actually marketed the device as a portable media device and a gaming console.

So I’m going to bring up a chart of the gaming and entertainment titles available on the Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, and iPhone OS. And here’s what it looks like:


Sony PSP: 607 titles. Nintendo DS: 3,680. iPhone OS: 21,178. It’s absolutely incredible, the amount of work developers are doing to bring AMAZING content to the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Really? Did they seriously just try and spin this number in a positive light?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Sturgeon’s Law come into full effect here. If I stop to think about it, I will probably come up with a better ratio of “good” to “crap” games on the PSP than I would on the DS, and similarly from the DS to the iPhone OS. Of those 21K+ titles, how many are actually worth anything…? By “worth”, I don’t even necessarily mean “money”… I mean “time”. How many of them are worth even the time it takes to download them?

Here is where the “Game & Entertainment” moniker comes under fire. Apple is clearly piling anything and everything from fart soundboards to Madden under this sub-heading. The DS may have a ton of horrible shovelware, but I don’t see “iFart” on anything other than the iPhone OS. If you look at this statistic in any way other than a heat-of-the-moment, Apple-fanboy (or stockholder), mid-event set of beer goggles, you see just how ridiculous it is.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my iPhone 3G, and I can’t get enough of Harbor Master (I just did 152 cargo deliveries on Cannon Beach, and am quite proud of myself). The games continue to get better and better, and I have been happy to even spend my money on a few of them.

Apple’s ego is getting a little too big, but that might be a good thing. Nintendo’s own ego has gone essentially unmatched in the handheld market since 1989, and it has only recently been under the force of genuine competition that all of the hardware manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony, and now Apple) have had to step up their game and innovate. Hopefully that means that everyone wins; games get better, hardware gets better, everything gets cheaper, and the variety of highly-engaging content on the “casual” and “hardcore” sides continue to grow.

But seriously, Apple…? You’re not there yet. You can wipe that shit-eating grin off your face.

Online Consoles Follow-up

As a follow-up to some material covered in episode seven of our podcast, here are a couple quick bits of information and reading:

– At E3, Microsoft announced that they had one more title to bring over to “Xbox Originals”… and then it’s done. We can probably safely assume that no more software updates will be coming to the 360 to allow for additional disc-based backwards compatibility. (Link: IGN)

– Sony officially unveiled the PSP Go at E3 to no-one’s surprise. The UMD slot is indeed gone, and no official statement has been given with regards to how consumers with existing UMD-based games will be able to possibly transfer them to their new hardware. Current rumors involve kiosks set up at stores, or a trade-in program. Additionally, the PSP Go is completely incompatible with all existing PSP accessories (including mini-USB cables) due to a new multifuction port. (Link: Engadget)

– No “Portable Virtual Console” was announced by Nintendo for the DSi. Do you think it’s still coming?

– We didn’t get a chance to cover every single last thing about video game consoles and online connectivity, so if you’re up for a little more reading, CNet has covered a little bit more. While it’s not the best in terms of breadth of information covered or even straight-up writing style, you’ll probably find something of interest. I definitely need to do some kind of “Fond Memories…!” segment or something regarding Sega Channel (much to Andrew’s chagrin, I’m sure).

Does The PS2 $99 Price Point Affect You?

As of April 1st (being tomorrow), the PlayStation 2 will officially (and finally) hit that magical $99 retail price. As someone who owns two PS2s already (US & Japanese; my PS3 is the 40 GB with no backwards-compatibility), I initially thought this would not affect me in the least.

But then I got thinking.

At $99, that is an easy impulse-buy for the basement at the new place. We have been thinking and talking about where all of the systems are going to be arranged, and my current thought has been that the two PS2s will be hooked up to the big new TV in the living room via component. There are enough “current” games that I still want to get to (never mind ones I still want to catch up on) that it makes sense for me to keep the PS2s available for use in a comfortable way.

How about Dance Dance Revolution, though? I think the living room might not be the best place for the lovely Red Octane Ignition 2.0 pads (too much shaking around), but the basement sure works. I can easily see myself grabbing a new $99 slim PS2 to plop down into the basement on an old TV and stereo system. Suddenly DDR is always hooked up again, a mere flight of steps away, and is the first baby step toward maybe throwing an elliptical of our own and maybe some weights down there… yeah… that’s the ticket…

How about you all, though? Does the new $99 price point affect you in any way? Will you finally be graduating to last generation, picking up an extra one, replacing a broken one…? With over 140 million units sold, it sure is tough to imagine a gamer without a PS2, but I suppose it is possible.

PSP Post of Peril (Total Hardware Failure)

You may have heard a little bit about this on the podcast, but now that the entire situation has been resolved and I have all necessary images (and video!) to go along with the story, it is time to share my experience. First up, however, you will need a little bit of back-history with my hardware failures over the years, if only to place the PSP in context.

The first thing to go was my SNES. It was a very gradual death, and was specific to only certain games at first (leading me to believe it was the games and not the system); for example, Super Mario All-Stars would play perfectly fine, but entire blocks of terrain would be missing in Super Mario World, creating impossible jumps and therefore halting any further progress in the game. DragonBall Z: Super Butôden 3 had character sprites that would show up normally at the very beginning of a fight, but then get stuck in their standing animation and slowly begin to hover up and off-screen. Trust me, I know… it almost sounds like a possessed system. I eventually realized it was the system, and a lovely new SNES from the wife a couple years later resolved all of those issues.

Around the same time, my own Nintendo 64 died for no particular reason. It would not power up, so there was no possible testing I could do. The wife stole hers from the parents’ place, and so that situation was easily resolved.

Followers of this site will remember well my experiences with my Xbox 360 and the non-RROD errors with the video/GPU/something frying itself alive (Parts: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 & 5), which I ultimately had to pay $99 out-of-pocket to have replaced.

Needless to say, I have not had the best luck in the world with hardware failures, but I certainly never expected my PSP to spontaneously brick itself beyond the point of even being able to hack it back to life.

The last time I remember using my PSP was on the plane ride back from our honeymoon in November 2008. It was not until the next month that I would try using the system again. Castlevania Chronicles had just come out as a downloadable PS1 game on PSN, and while I was busy converting over wedding footage to work on a video, I figured it would be fun to download the game to my PSP and play for a bit during batch conversions. Since it had been a month, the system did not turn on, and I assumed that the battery simply needed to be charged. I left the system plugged in overnight, and returned to it the next day to once again try to get it all hooked up to the PS3. Strangely, it still would not fully turn on.

Shortly before I sent the PSP back (more details to come on that), I took the following video detailing exactly what would happen when I tried to use the system. It did not matter if I had the battery in or not; it did not matter if the battery was fully charged or not; it did not matter if I was using the power adapter or not; it did not matter if the WLAN switch was on or not; it did not matter if a UMD was in or not; it did not matter if a memory stick was in or not.

I contacted my buddy Corey, who I knew had modded his own PSP. I was well aware that various hacks and mods could bring a PSP “back to life” if it had been bricked, and since I had not even attempted to mod my PSP, I figured it may be an easy fix. Corey mailed me his Pandora Battery, and I picked up a 4 GB memory stick. For those who do not know me, I suppose I should say that I was genuinely not interested in pirating games. If I was going to have to format a memory stick to do the mod, I might as well get a large-capacity one and be able to fit some of those PSN downloads on it. I know, I know… it sounds like a standard, lame, typical justification… but it is the truth.

I sat down on AIM with Corey later on and went through the process of formatting the memory stick, trying to get to the debug menu… trying to do anything. No matter what process we went through, the PSP still did the exact same thing as before. Over the next couple days, Corey would pop up with a new idea or twist on the process to try, but it made no difference. We ultimately concluded that the system did indeed spontaneously “brick” itself, but not in the traditional sense of “bricking”… it was a genuine hardware failure that even modding was not able to undo. I took very good care of the system, and even in my international travels it never really left my side or otherwise took any abuse.

By this time we are into January 2009. I had purchased my system back in March 2008 (to go along with the release of Crisis Core). While Sony offered a standard one-year warranty on new hardware purchases, I no longer had my original receipt… which Sony required in order to be covered under the warranty. Seriously? Who still has an original store receipt, never mind one that is still legible with the crappy paper and ink they use in those printers, up to a full year later…?

I opened up a ticket with Sony customer support on 03 January 2009. I explained my scenario and how I would like my system repaired and it should be covered under the one-year warranty:

I have a PSP 2000 series system which I purchased in March 2008. For absolutely zero apparent reason, it has “bricked”. I have no custom firmware, and have played a grand total of four games, downloaded two demos, and have tried Remote Play with my PS3. With or without the battery (and connected to power), the green light turns on for a couple seconds, the screen tries to light up, but nothing happens and it turns itself off. It is a completely legit system and setup, and yet as far as I can tell, I would need to provide a physical, itemized store receipt in order to obtain my appropriate warranty coverage. Being that this was nine months ago, that is impossible. Please provide information on how Sony will be either fixing or replacing my system under its warranty/coverage. Thank you.

I received the following response back (pasted below, typos and all):

Hello Michael ,

Thank you for writing us. Unfortunaetly with out the proof of purchase you are out of warranty. And there will be a fee of $89.

Ugh. Back to the drawing board for me. My next step was to stop down at Target (where I purchased the system), to see if they would be able to print out a receipt copy for me. While it was close to a year ago, I knew the exact date and price point for the system (along with other items purchased at the same time, namely Crisis Core and Patapon). I knew what their answer would be, but I was still upset to hear that I would have to get a copy from my credit card company. That meant another round of communication and waiting around, all while approaching that one-year cut-off.

I opened up a ticket with my credit card company, and shortly there-after received a letter in the (snail) mail saying it had been sent over to the appropriate investigative department and I would receive a follow-up within a couple weeks. While I once again sighed in frustration at the amount of time the process was getting delayed, I figured it would be worth it to go along with it and see what they would come back to me with. Honestly, waiting around and maybe getting a free replacement was better than being rash and paying $89 out-of-pocket.

I received another letter from my credit card company stamped 10 February 2009 with an attached “Sales Audit Copy”. This document showcased the exact date of the purchase, location, item name, and price. Fantastic! With documentation in hand, I attempted to open up a new repair ticket with Sony on 18 February 2009 (forgetting for a week that I needed to take care of it). I once again hit a brick wall when I tried to enter in my home address and the website would not take a single variation I tried (with the apartment, without, with the building number, without, abbreviating things differently, etc.). I noticed that their customer service phone line was still open for another hour, so I called them up and explained the situation. While the lady was very nice and I understand why she had to do so, I had to go through a process of testing the system with her (plug it in, take out the battery, etc.). Needless to say, I did not do a single thing she asked, and just replied, “It’s doing the same thing…” about three seconds after she asked me to perform another task. After a couple minutes of this pointless (but understanding) banter, she let me know that it sounded like what I said it was (no kidding…?!), and that if I had that “Sales Audit Copy”, they would send me out a box to ship the system back in and I would be covered under the original warranty.


Here is what I received for a box in the mail. The plastic wrap perfectly covered up the box with one address label (TO me) fully covering the one on the box itself (FROM me):


After going through a send-back/repair process with the 360, I was pretty familiar with what I found inside the PSP box:


The system fit very snug in between the flat layers of foam and the surrounding buffer. The one-page print-out gave rather simple instructions on how to package the system inside (and not to include any games, UMDs, memory sticks, batteries, etc.). All I had to do was toss it in and bring it to a UPS store!

Of course, since I was in no real rush to play anything, it took me yet another week to remember to stick it in the mail to Sony. Heh. Cutting it close, Mike…!

On 16 March 2009, I received an e-mail from Sony letting me know that they had sent back a “PSP – DAXTER PACK” to me, and gave me a tracking number to follow along with the shipment. Two days later, and all the way from Texas, my shiny replacement PSP had arrived. The box was exactly the same size as the original one they had sent me, and clearly labeled that it was a PSP-2000 (which is what I had sent them):


The contents of this box were slightly more interesting than that original box, though:


I fully expected to just see a PSP sitting in there, so I was surprised to see a nice little soft slipcase for the system.


In addition to the slipcase, there was also a white strap and a cleaning cloth. I really had no use for those other two, but I was still pretty happy about the slipcase. I had purchased a hard plastic container to keep the system in for traveling and general protection, but this soft cover was pretty nice. The PSP itself was somewhat of a hoot:


Yep, that’s a PSP in a zip-lock bag, just hanging out. There was a new screen protector over top the system, but the bag was just a riot to me for some reason. After taking the system out to examine it, I could tell it was a complete replacement rather than just a repair. I had a slight knick on the center/right of my screen which was not on this system, so that right there pretty much sealed it. It seemed like a brand-new system, with the only hint otherwise being the giant sticker across the back:


So there you have it. I would say it was an exciting process, but considering how many times I forgot to send something out, I think that speaks volumes about how much I truly cared. Please do not misunderstand; the PSP is a fantastic little system with a gorgeous screen and plenty of perfectly fine games to play on it, and I really wanted to get it back so I could continue toying around with the PS3 connectivity (and one day do a “New Game +” on Crisis Core).

Had this happened to my DS, though? I would have been at the store five minutes later buying a replacement.

E3 Press Conferences: 5 Questions

So yesterday and today were the press conferences / media summits / whatever they are for Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony (in that order). As to be expected, I followed along with all the live-blogging, checked out the audio/video feeds later on, and read as much as I could possibly read.

After having a little bit of time to reflect on everything that’s been said and shown, I came up with five major questions I wanted to put out there… more so as rhetorical questions than anything else.

Question #5: What’s with Nintendo and all the mini-accessories?
Seriously, what’s going on? First we had Wii Play and the extra remote… that made perfect sense. Mario Kart Wii came with the little plastic wheel that really doesn’t do anything beyond hold it upright for you and I can’t figure out how on Earth Jeff is able to play that way and win. Then came WiI Fit and the balance board. Next comes Animal Crossing with the WiiSpeak and Wii Sports Resort with the Wii MotionPlus. Is this all calculated on Nintendo’s part, combined with how well the Wii version of Guitar Hero III (with, obviously, its own required peripheral) has done? Is it how they’re able to complement their enthusiast+mainstream media attention? What’s so special about this generation? While it’s true that they’ve done similar things in the past (look at the NES era with things like the U-Force, NES Advantage, etc.)… something seems different about today, and it’s irritating me that I can’t see through them.

Question #4: How well-integrated will this 360/Netflix setup be?
The main gamertag on our 360 is my own, which is set up for Gold. The Netflix account is under the woman’s name, whose 360 gamertag is only Silver. How tightly integrated is this going to be? Will I be able to tie our household’s existing Gold gamertag to our household’s existing Netflix account? So long as there’s not someone sitting there literally checking each name against each name against each gamertag and so on and so forth… it should be OK. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be…

Question #3: How did FUNimation get to be so big with the gaming companies?
If you know anything about my main gig, you’ll know why I’m asking this. How weird was it to see FUNimation’s name right up there with all the big movie companies for Sony’s video service rollout? We’ve discussed FUNimation’s rise in the domestic anime industry in great detail over on Daizenshuu EX (both in the general website updates and our podcast), so I’ll leave the rest of the discussion for over there.

Question #2: How will “Animal Crossing” evolve and innovate?
The biggest complaint we had about the “first” and “second” games (yes, I understand there was an N64 game in Japan) was that once you paid off your mortgage to Mr. Sleezebag Nook… there simply wasn’t much else to do. Sure, you could make sure you got all of the fruit trees, you could talk to your neighbors, and you could catch all the fish… but there was hardly enough “end-game” content (can you even call it that with this series?) to keep us around for a ridiculous amount of time. So Nintendo, are you going to just re-release the same game yet again? We already know we’ll be able to talk to each other with the new WiiSpeak, and it sounds like there will be a good amount of group-based communication available to us… but what are we actually going to be able to / have to DO? We’ll just have to wait for more information on the game…!

Question #1: Is backwards compatibility dead?
Sony had announced that come September, the current 40 GB will be discontinued in favor of a reversioned 80 GB, which itself will take on the same feature-set as the current 40 GB… which, if you’re playing along at home, means you lose your PS2 backwards compatibility for good. Nintendo did not mention Virtual Console at all (OK, fine… that’s paid emulation), Microsoft did not mention Xbox Originals at all (OK, fine… that’s also paid emulation, but at least you can still pop those discs in if you have them), and Sony is pulling PS2 backwards compatibility entirely.

What do you think about this? Is backwards compatibility still relevant? Does anyone really care? As you may have heard at the end of our first podcast episode, our topic for episode numero dos is going to be just that… backwards compatibility. We definitely have a lot to say on the matter, but we’re eager to get your thoughts in ahead of time so we can share them on the show.

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