In an attempt to enter the handheld market and weaken the stranglehold Nintendo has long possessed over it, Sony extended its PlayStation line with the PlayStation Portable, or PSP, in 2005. It successfully launched despite a high price tag of $249.99, boasting a stylish appearance, respectable widescreen display and use of a new media called the Universal Media Disc (UMD) . Unfortunately, the PSP never really met the expectations Sony had for it. In fact, it barely dented Nintendo’s dominance, which has only gotten stronger with the Nintendo DS.
Sony has not given up on staking its claim in the handheld market, however. After three versions of the original PSP (1000, 2000 and 3000), Sony has decided to almost completely redo the PSP’s concept. With a different look, more compact size, internal memory and no UMD drive, the PSP Go is more a distant cousin of its predecessor than its brother or sister.
Some of the changes made to the handheld are very beneficial for gamers, while others only hurt it. Here are some pros and cons for the recently released PSP Go.
Size: The point of a handheld system is so that you can take it virtually anywhere. The Nintendo DS and original PSP models are sized to do that, but the PSP Go truly offers pocked-sized convenience. It’s smaller by about 1.5 inches in width than the PSP and weighs over an ounce less than the PSP-3000.
Games are downloaded: Sony has decided to go the iTouch and iPhone avenue with the PSP Go by making games solely downloadable. With the absence of a UMD drive, players must purchase and download games and other content from the PlayStation Network Store. A 16 GB internal memory is in the system to handle those downloads. Now you don’t need to worry about lugging around a bunch of UMDs to play games.
Price: When the original PSP retailed for $249.99 at launch, many people felt that was an outrageous price. The system was still scooped up, but it wasn’t without guilt. So, over four years later, Sony was determined to make the same mistake by yet again pricing its new release at the same price point. The PSP Go will run for $249.99, which is $50 over the regular version’s current price, only $50 less than the PlayStation 3 gaming console and $80 over the handheld king that is the Nintendo DSi.
No UMD Drive: The creation of the UMD was basically a failure for Sony. The media never really caught on for movies, most likely because they were priced just as much as DVDs yet could only be played on the PSP. And they were also exclusive to the PSP for games, which was fine if Sony didn’t intend on making the UMD a more universal media. Perhaps realizing the pointless nature of the UMD, Sony has decided to scrap it for the PSP Go by not including a UMD Drive. That allows for the more convenient approach of game downloads, but offers no way for owners of previous PSP models to play their games. They must instead hang on to their regular PSP, and therefore have no legitimate incentive right now to purchase the PSP Go version.
By TJ Michaels