I’ve been an on and off fan of the PSP for some time, I was one of the first people in the UK to get one from Lik-Sang (check it out I still have the photo from when it came), a company now shut down for doing exactly that, selling Japanese PSPs to the rest of the world. Originally though there were very few games out for the system and I lost interest for a while and sold it. I’ve had another two after that and I love the improvements in the Slim & Lite version.
Anyway, Sony are now launching their PSP Go which is a nice little slimmed down version of the console, buttons have been moved to a slide down panel and the UMD drive has been removed completely, meaning that all of your PSP Go games will come from the Playstation Store.
This causes problems for more than one reason, firstly the Playstation Store carries only a small selection of PSP games, there are many fantastic games that people will want to play that may even never be on the Playstation Store. Secondly, it cuts retailers out of the loop, once games stores have sold you your PSP Go you’ll never pop in for a game and if people take up the PSP Go en masse then less and less people will be buying UMDs, shops will stock less and UMDs will be harder to come by.
The other major problem with the PSP Go is it’s price tag here in the UK it will ship at £230. The price alone makes the PSP Go stand out as another testament to how badly Sony is judging the market these days. For the price of a PSP GO you could buy 2 PSP 2000/3000, hell I could buy 2 Xbox 360s for that price.
As an aside on the price us tea drinkers get shafted yet again by Sony, a PSP 2003 in the UK is about £100, in the US it’s around $160, which is bang on exchange rate wise. Yet the PSP Go clocks in at £229 in the UK which would equate to a whopping $380 yet the PSP Go is only $249, go figure, sucks to be us right?
So the PSP GO makes you pay a massive premium by taking out the UMD drive, adding bluetooth support and 16GB of flash memory. Thanks Sony, but no thanks. Chips and Grainger Games, two “indie” franchise chains in the UK have already said they have taken zero pre-orders for the PSP Go and are considering not stocking it at all, mainly due to the lack of software.
I’m sure people will buy it, more likely in the US than the UK though, i feel maybe though that it’s kind of a death spiral for the PSP and Sony’s game department in general. Due to weak sales of the PS3 they are getting less and less exclusives, Activision have already said that if something doesn’t change at Sony they may no longer be developing games for the PS3 or PSP. They have the highest prices consoles in the handheld and home console market, they seem to be sorely misjudging the competition lately and it’s killing them.
Sony even had a poor show at E3 this year, watching SCEA CEO Jack Tretton reel off numbers, spit out hyperbole and play excruciatingly long promo videos. The icing on the cake was Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid creator), who earlier on had spoken English for the Microsoft conference needed a translator for his needlessly long speech.