The PSP Go: Toast?

By  |  Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Based on some mysterious guesswork, gaming trade publication Gamasutra came up with some grim numbers for Sony’s PSP Go handheld: 6,000 to 10,000 units sold in the United States last month.

Sony has never released any official sales numbers for the PSP Go, a console that’s smaller and lighter than its predecessors and only supports downloaded games. But last week, Japanese industry watchers Media Create said 1,275 PSP Go device were sold in the first week of March. Regardless of the exact number, it’s safe to say the Go isn’t doing well. Gamasutra believes that Sony will launch a next-generation handheld this year and let the Go “experience a slow death at retail.”

That seems to be happening already. I used to see ads for the PSP Go all around Los Angeles, but no more. And the Go is conspicuously absent from Sony’s announcement of an upcoming PSP bundle for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. You won’t see much love for the Go at GameStop’s Web site or stores, either. A rumor from February held that Sony was going to relaunch the Go with a reduced price, but so far, nothing.

I believe the PSP Go’s commercial troubles are due to several errors on Sony’s part, rather than one major problem. The $250 price point is hard to justify when the $170 PSP-3000 has all the same features, albeit in a larger size. Existing PSP owners were alienated because they couldn’t transfer their UMD games onto the device. Bad reviews didn’t help — those from Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera and Destructoid’s lovably-vulgar Jim Sterling stuck in my head for noting how unfriendly the device was to its users.

But while it’s tempting to knock the PSP Go’s underlying concept — a download-only handheld that precludes people from buying and selling used games — I don’t think Sony was wrong to pursue it. Apple proved with the iPod Touch that a download-only device can find commercial success. Sony just erred on the execution, not on the idea.

 
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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Ishmael Says:

    As far as I know with the IPod Touch you can import any MP3 file without having to buy music from ITunes, so where’s the point in calling it a “download only device”?

  2. Bouke Timbermont Says:

    Sony missed a huge shot woith the PSP-Go.

    Currently, all PSP-games have to ba playable on the very first PSP, meaning the games are based around hardware from 2004. Two thousand friggin four!
    Newer models have been getting hardware upgrades, but since developers ahve to stay supporting the older hardware, PSP games have been of the same mediocre quality for the alst 6 years.

    When Sony announced the PSP Go, which wouldn’t sport an UMD-drive, and thus would be set apart from the original PSP, I was relieved: at last the PSP got a serious hardware upgrade… or that’s what I thought: the PSP-go still has an old 333MHz CPU, 64 MB of RAM and the same screen resolution.
    The original iPhone, a pretty weak device compared to todays portable gaming standards, had twice the RAM, a faster CPU and a bigger screen.

    What the hell was Sony thinking???

    The PSPGo would have been a great iPod touch competitor if it had the same beefy hardware (600MHz and 256 MB of RAM ). In fact, as a gaming device it would surpass the iPod touch, since the buttons would make it better for a lot of games.

    But instead Sony, for some reason, choose to make the PSPGo, a device by design incompatible with the old games because of the absence of the UMD drive, a copy of the ols and outdated PSP.

    So I’m not surprised at all this thing isn’t selling well :)

  3. Mike J B Says:

    Sony: The next victim of portable device convergence?

    It’s really saying something when its biggest competitor (for the Go) is Apple, a company not known for its gaming…

  4. Max Says:

    Consumers will give up physical media at their own peril, if they realise it at the time or not. The general population needs to be educated on this.

    Your average Joe doesn’t the see media publishers’ clear goal of us never really owning anything.

    Most have never contemplated the issue, and do object when informed of what they are loosing.

    Long live the first sale doctrine, and screw those selling minor a convenience advantage as an adequate replacement for real ownership of clearly purchased (not leased, licensed or any other crap) goods.

  5. Cage Says:

    Deff the price needs to come down but i think 2 of the main concerns are that at 16gb onboard system is not enough , it needs to be at least 32 or 64 the micro slot is for future proofing the system so when u run outta the on board u can extend life and not buy a whole new psp go two years later.

    The other theres not enough games availible to buy ?? i mean as far as movies go the ipod wins there so i think sony tryed rushin this one

    Plus the screen size is alittle too small

    It’s easy drop the price now!! release a new one with some pre installed games with 32gb and start developing a 64gb on board memory system an get more games / all games on tha network :):)

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