When I first clapped eyes on the initial images of PSP Go, I was considerably unmoved. And now it seems that retailers are becoming equally pessimistic about the launch, having forecast a retail disaster earlier this week. Things are not boding well for PSP Go.
As reported on Gamer Limit, these independent retailers are becoming concerned by an apparent lack of interest towards the console, after it failed to attract any pre-orders whatsoever. And it’s not hard to see why.
My initial gripe with the PSP Go was the simple fact that it is yet another redesign, and not the official successor to the PSP that I was initially inclined to believe, i.e. PSP 2. Because let’s face it, the PSP has been something of a dead horse recently, so a brand new console, especially after the PSP’s now lengthy 4 year reign, would have been ideal, particularly after its lasting defeat against the DS. Instead, we were presented with that same haggard horse but now scaled down with a beefier 16GB stomach. It’s missing a vital organ too, as Sony is still oddly reluctant about performing a much needed transplant for an extra analogue stick.
The single most controversial feature however has been Sony’s somewhat questionable move over to the digital download format. For the consumer, this drastic change will not be suitable for many unless Sony devise a way to port over your UMD collection, but it is the retailer that could be the potential victim here. As retailer Chips stated, there is very little reason to even stock the system, due to the PSP Go’s sloppy business model as a result of shifting to the downloadable medium. And I’m inclined to agree with them, as unless Sony adopts a voucher based distribution system, the retailer obviously won’t get any other primary benefits without selling their own stock of games, and the fact still remains that limiting the games to download only restricts your collection to the amount of games that will fit on the hard drive. The lack of UMD could indeed prove to be more convenient for some however, but at what cost?
Upon launch, PSP Go will set you back $249, although Amazon UK is currently listing the PSP Go at a speculative price of £229.99, which, all things considered, is extortionate and unfounded when you consider that the current PSP is struggling to sell at around £130. As I mentioned before, this is still the same console but with an added bulk of memory and it doesn’t even have a UMD drive anymore, so it seems difficult to justify the price tag. Of course, the pricing for the UK model has not been officially announced as of yet, but you can guarantee that we will receive the shortest straw as per usual.
And then there’s the design. In hindsight, I will admit that the original embodiment of the PSP was a tad overweight, so the diet that was fed to the 2000 and 3000 models was very welcome, but the PSP Go is said to be a further 50% smaller, which of course means that the screen will consequently be affected. Granted, the more compact size will no doubt do well in making the console live up to its name by being more portable (and, heaven forbid, may now actually fit comfortably in your pocket), but the size of the original PSP’s screen was one of its most acclaimed attributes. Along with the lack of an extra analogue stick, the positioning of the new stick is also cause for concern – presumably Sony are marketing the console for baboons, but I will reserve judgement until I have grasped the console for myself.
I even have reservations with the name. PSP Go – say it. It sounds like it was moulded out of cheddar cheese and just doesn’t seem right somehow; despite the attempt to form a consistency with Sony’s other line of Go branded products. Afterall, approaching, and subsequently pointing at, random bystanders exclaiming “YOU THERE! Buy a PSP…Go” isn’t likely to have the same effect as it did for me in the past.
All in all, apart from the added convenience factor, I am really struggling to find a fathomable reason for existing PSP owners to upgrade to Sony’s “new” handheld, and I fear that newcomers alike will be put off by the pricing when it is launched come this October.