Sony is the New EA. Or are They?

Sony Computer Entertainment will be releasing "Gretzky NHL 2006" for their Playstation Portable tomorrow. This is despite the fact that the handheld console only released in North American on March 24th of this year -- barely 6 months ago -- and debuted with "Gretzky NHL" as one of its featured launch titles.

So that's two hockey videogames bearing the same name, made by the same company, for the same system in a span of 6 months. For a sports league that essentially failed to exist for the better part of the past 16 months.

Sure, the NHL finally did iron out their problems (for now) and the action returned to the ice last week, but two hockey games in half a year? Is this Sony imitating E-flogging-A? Being that the PSP version of EA's Madden 2006 features such lengthy load times as to be virtually unplayable, I can only hope not.

Aside from the obvious fact that few people seem to remember who the last team to win the Stanley Cup was (time is up, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning), it would seem that given the short development cycle, the only difference between this game and that released in March would be the rosters, right?

Actually, no. I was prepared to write a brief sarcastic rant about how Sony ought to have just finally threw us a bone and used their WiFi connectivity to allow us to download roster updates instead of having the nerve to charge full price for this rehash.

And I would have been very wrong. It turns out that "Gretzky NHL 2006" not only features a couple of new modes, but also allows for -- drumroll please -- worldwide multiplayer. Finally. A game that takes advantage of the one feature those of us with wireless home networks have been waiting for. Sure, I'm not much of a hockey fan, and I probably wasn't going to buy this game. But you know what? Given how crappy Madden 2006 for PSP is and how the stream of games releasing for this system has all but dried up (was it ever flowing?) I think I'll give it a go. After all, games that contain features that we'd like to see get used more often have to be supported. I'm not saying Sony needs our charity, but simply saying that we want worldwide multiplayer gaming via the PSP isn't going to help our cause if we don't buy the games that do contain this feature. Think o

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