Sony in Denial Over PSP Go’s Apparent Demise (Updates)

(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: Sony confirmed to Japanese site AV Watch (via Kotaku) that it is no longer manufacturing or shipping the PSP Go.)

(Update 2: Sony tells Joystiq that it will continue producing the PSP Go in North America. It’s been discontinued in Europe and Asia.)


4 comments

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  1. Max April 20, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    Less games at far higher prices (that you cannot sell), smaller screen, uglier, less comfortable to hold, 16gb of storage when games can be over a gig.

    Its amazing it lasted this long.

  2. Brandon Backlin April 20, 2011 at 5:52 am #

    …and it arrived with a… whimper?

  3. Wally SirFatty April 20, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    "I like the idea of a download-only handheld — it certainly works for smartphones and the iPod Touch"

    Not a great analogy. why do you like the idea of renting software? I personally like to sell, trade or loan the games I purchase.

  4. Max April 21, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    Well said Wally.

    What is it with tech journos being so happy to promote consumers handing over the rights they have with physical media for so little in return.

    The average consumer does not recognise what they are giving up when they get their ‘instant gratification’. The definition of instant being dependent on bandwidth available, storage capacity and the company choosing to continue selling the game.

    IMO it is a tech journo’s job to be informing people of this, even if the marketing (that is most people’s primary information source on the subject) tells them it is all positive.

    In exchange for ‘not having the inconvenience’ of going to store to purchase a game and then carrying the UMD, we get:

    -A limitation on how many games can be carried at once, and its a lot slower to delete a bunch of games then load others than it is to grab a few UMDs.

    -Higher pricing (that would be worse if physical media was not also an option for most PSPs).

    -No renting, no lending, no resale.

    -Death to future retro gaming (buy a ‘retro’ psp go in 10 years time and try to add games to it without unofficial/illegal means).

    The wisdom of using an optical drive in a portable is another discussion, but with the price of solid state storage it doesn’t lend any more credence to the merits of downloadable content than it does solid state physical media.