Rumor Killers: PSP2, Premium PSN, Battlefront 3

Disclaimer: Rumor Killers is a speculative opinion piece and is by no means intended to disclose as fact whether a rumor is true or false – even though the Rumor Killers team are usually right (usually…)

PSP2 Details Emerge

Could the PSP2 be Sony’s worst kept secret since LittleBigPlanet 2? VG247 certainly seems to think so with some impressive rumors being unleashed on Monday.

VG247 have released details from various anonymous sources as to the capability of the machine, as well as a rather juicy picture of what it could possibly look like. According to various British sources, VG247 reckons that PSP2 NDAs have been in place for a number of months suggesting that quite a lot of games are in development currently. There’s no source for the appearance of the system but VG247 seem pretty confident that the PSP2 will have two cameras, one forward and one backward facing. As well as that it’ll have a touch screen while still retaining the traditional Playstation buttons and that, like the PSPGo, it’ll be physical media-less, resorting to a 3G and WiFi connection for downloads. Most excitingly it’s rumored that the system will be half as powerful as a PS3 which sounds ridiculously powerful for a handheld system. TheSixthAxis has also chipped in with their own anonymous source stating that the PSP2 will have motion sensor functionality which would allow the system to run augmented reality software.

Interestingly it looks like the PSP2 won’t be revealed at E3 with the suggestion by VG247 and MCV that it’s more likely to be announced at Gamescom or TGS in time for a 2011 release.

So just how likely is it all?

It seems a near certainty that we’ll be seeing a PSP2 at some point. While various revisions of the original have been released, it’s 6 years old now and could really do with a fresh start. There was the PSPgo of course but we know how disappointing that was. It’s telling that Sony has never released sales figures for it suggesting that the perception that it sold badly is the truth. Sony could do with getting a stronger hold on the handheld market with the PSP surely starting to struggle against the might of the iPhone and iPad, as well as its obvious rival: the DS.

Some of the details don’t quite add up though. The mention of 3G was very vague and would mark a great departure from previous handhelds as presumably, like the iPhone, it would require a subscription based service akin to a mobile phone tariff. Also just how likely is it that the system would be half as powerful as a PS3? That would surely cause a great dent in the system’s battery life.

The PSP2 is clearly coming but I wouldn’t hold your breath that every one of the features rumored comes to light.

Jen says: False

Premium PSN to be Revealed at E3

It’s a frequently rumored story and one that does feel a little inevitably. Yet again rumors are abound that the Playstation’s free online functionality, PSN, will soon be offering premium services at a fixed rate.

Coming from an anonymous source via VG247’s roving reporters, the plan is supposedly to announce such a service at E3 next month. Fortunately the rumor is that it won’t affect the current service, it’ll just complement it which will no doubt appease many who just want online capabilities without any extras.

The premium service sounds quite interesting if it comes to light. With the price set at less than £50 per year, Sony plans to give subscribers one free PSN game every month which should soften the blow. Plans are also afoot to add a musical streaming service similar to Spotify which will allow music to be streamed in the background while playing games. However the oft-rumored plans to introduce cross-game voice chat has been confirmed by the source to not be coming to the service, premium or otherwise.

It’s a controversial idea considering PS3 owners are used to having the service for free, but as a supplement, could it work? The addition of a free PSN game each month sounds particularly appealing although it’s worth noting the caveat that it would be from a choice of two to four rather than just any PSN game. Surely the service wouldn’t just offer free games and a music streaming service though so perhaps Sony are keeping its cards close to its chest for now as to the full extent of the premium PSN.

There’s no denying that Sony, like any business, could do with some extra money and there have certainly been enough rumors to suggest that this is a distinct possibility. Whether it’s successful in enticing users to paying extra for their service, only time will tell. For now though, I’m going to be a cynic and say false. Something doesn’t quite add up and the details are too scant to give it the Rumor Killers seal of approval.

Jen says: False

Star Wars: Battlefront 3 Coming at Last?

Star Wars: Battlefront was a much loved series of games akin to the Battlefield series. Somehow I missed out on them the first time round but there’s no denying the strong critical acclaim that the first two games garnered. Rumors as to a third in the series have been circulating for the past few years with nothing coming to light. Seemingly every time it looks like the game could finally emerge, something goes a bit wrong for the series and its previous developer Free Radical, now defunct. So excuse me while I take a pinch of salt with the latest rumor surrounding the doomed title.

According to a forum user on the Battlefront community forum, the GameSpy server software Glist displays the existence of Star Wars Battlefront 3 servers for the PC, PS3, PSP and Wii. So just how plausible is it?

The servers do exist as a number of sites have confirmed it, but they’re consistently empty. GameSpy is notorious for leaving servers listed for defunct games, could this just be a historical remnant from when the game was on its way? Star Wars Battlefront 3 did exist once upon a time as Kotaku leaked early footage of it shortly after Free Radical closing its doors.

It’s all just a little too tenuous for my liking. As much as it would no doubt be welcomed, there’s just too little evidence for it to seem very likely. There’s no sign of a new developer since GameSpot suggested that Rebellion Software had taken over at the beginning of 2009. Unfortunately that’s all that’s been seen of the title, which makes me think these servers are just relics of the past. Sorry Battlefront fans.

Jen says: False

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