(See updates below)
Looks like the PSP Go is going out with a whimper.
A Sony Shop employee in Japan wrote on his blog that PSP Go production has ceased, according to Andria Sang, a Japanese games industry blog. Also, the Sony Store games page for Japan no longer lists the gaming handheld, and the product page says it’s out of stock. In the United Kingdom, Sony’s store lists the black PSP Go as out of stock, although the white model is still available. A UK retail source told MCV that no further stock will be supplied to the retail channel.
In other words, Sony seems to be letting PSP Go fade away, but the company isn’t ready to admit that the gaming handheld, which relied entirely on downloads instead of physical media, is kaput.
Here’s what Sony told Eurogamer:
“It is a very exciting time for PlayStation portable devices. Before the end of the year we are launching NGP, our next generation portable device, which we believe will revolutionise portable gaming. In the meantime, the current generation of PSPs continue to be in demand, especially since the introduction of our value for money, Essentials range of games and we will continue to meet that demand.”
Regardless of what Sony says, the company has clearly given up on its vision for a download-only portable gaming device. Although Sony plans to make all games downloadable for the aforementioned next-generation portable, it’s also reinventing the game cartridge with specialized flash drives, containing the game, downloadable content and saved game files.
I like the idea of a download-only handheld — it certainly works for smartphones and the iPod Touch — but at launch, the Go was $80 more expensive than the PSP-3000. That’s a big difference for Sony’s teenage target audience, not even counting the fact that Go owners can’t buy or sell used games. The Go now costs $200, while the PSP-3000 costs $130. Thinner, lighter hardware doesn’t justify the extra cost.
Now it’s time for Sony to admit as much, and move on.
(Update 2: Sony tells Joystiq that it will continue producing the PSP Go in North America. It’s been discontinued in Europe and Asia.)