New PSP spec to feature 32Mb of RAM
Enough to stop developer complaints
Rumours circulating in the game development community suggest that Sony is set to upgrade the specification for the PlayStation portable to feature 32Mb of RAM - bringing the system closer in line with the PS2.
It emerged last autumn that the Japanese giant was considering increasing the main memory capacity of the device, after many developers complained that the originally specified 8Mb of RAM would seriously impact their work on the system.
Now several developers working on early PSP titles say that Sony is planning to announce a fourfold increase in this specification within the coming months, bringing the amount of RAM on the system almost in line with the PlayStation 2.
Although this remains very much in the realms of rumour, with sources within Sony refusing to confirm or deny the change at this point in time, developers we spoke to seemed convinced that the increase in the RAM size was "extremely likely" according to their own discussions with the platform holder.
"They've recognised that this is the last hurdle to creating full-strength 3D games on PSP," according to one programmer working on PSP technology. "The system was always nearly as powerful as the PS2, but the lack of RAM was a real worry… This will make developing games much faster and easier. Sony is really trying to make PSP development as painless as possible."
Interestingly, the change will also make the porting of PS2 games and engines directly to the PSP much easier. Although significant re-coding will be required to fit with the high-level APIs used by the PSP, the new RAM specification would mean that other assets could be transferred across intact.
Sony is expected to respond to the possibility of the machine being inundated with PS2 ports by strictly controlling the output of software in the first six months of the PSP's lifespan, in an attempt to ensure that as many original titles as possible make it into the mix.
However, it's to be expected that many publishers will seek to make a fast buck off PSP later in its lifespan by directly porting PS2 titles to the system.