Is the PSP Go a Miscalculation by Sony?
Like many other people, I was very interested in seeing the ‘official’ unveiling of the PSP Go during Sony’s E3 press conference. Of course, we’d all seen it before the conference started, but I still wanted to see the official reveal.
My first thought was that other than the size of the unit, the PSP Go really wasn’t all that different from the PSP I already own. Over the weekend, I read an interesting article on Ars Technica, where they reached a similar conclusion. I thought I’d share it, as it tracks closely with my early impressions of the system.
The bigger news, according to Ars Technica, is the news that Sony is moving all their PSP distribution to digital, as well as on UMD. However, there’s no reason to buy the new handheld to take advantage of this move to digital. After all, with the right Memory Stick, I can download all these nifty new games onto my existing PSP. So, how will the PSP Go do at retail?
Says Ars Technica,
“The value and audacity of what Sony will be offering has nothing to do with the hardware and everything to do with the ubiquity of downloadable games and content. Sony already offers the ability to download video from the PlayStation Network directly with your existing hardware, and that allows you to keep your larger screen and ability to play your classic games. Not to mention you can take advantage of inexpensive used games that exist on UMDs. Sure, the system is slightly bigger and doesn’t support bluetooth, but you won’t have to buy new cables. The value of the “classic” PSP systems has never been better.
But the more important point here is this: How many people will be interested in shelling out $249 for what is basically a re-packaged PSP 3000 with no UMD drive? Sure, the Go is targeted squarely at the iPhone generation, but when you can buy a used PSP for a hundred dollars less, and Memory Sticks for way less than a hundred bucks, where’s the draw? Also, what happens to stores like Gamestop when a big box retailer, like Wal-Mart, decides to speed its sales by slashing the price?
So, to answer my own question, I don’t think the PSP Go is a miscalculation in and of itself, but I do think Sony will be very dependent on the volume of its download sales to realize their investment. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it shakes out, but I’m a bit skeptical of how the sales of the unit itself will go. Sony’s digital distribution may be the real winner in all of this though, and it could offset any sluggish sales of the hardware itself.
So, are you planning to pick up a PSP Go when it’s released this fall? If so, are you replacing a PSP you already own?