All Systems Go: Does Anyone Honestly Care?

All Systems Go: Does Anyone Honestly Care?

With most of this week’s focus on the PSP Go release, I have read the reviews and weighed out the pros and cons. Although the Go is sleek and ergonomically superior to the PSP 3000, there are many detrimental features as well, such as the dropping of UMD and lack of an improved battery which cause many to be apprehensive to the switch. It makes me wonder if Sony is putting too much faith into the new iteration of the PSP.

In a recent interview with Claire Backhouse, PSP product manager for the UK, on gi.biz many questions were answered, but is Sony being unrealistic with their expectations for the sleek new handheld? Claire was quoted saying “I’d say probably about 60/40 – 60 trading in, or trading up and then 40 per cent a new audience.” I feel that this may be an unrealistic projection, especially since there is no way to convert UMDs, also if you trade in your PSP, then you have UMDs that are now useless. I think that new adopters will definitely outnumber those who will be trading in their PSPs. I also think that Sony is alienating their consumers. This is because Gran Turismo PSP was the flagship PSP Go title, since the release dates coincided with each other, but there is a PSP 3000 bundle releasing October 20th. This will further encourage handheld gamers to stick with the PSP 3000, since the GT PSP 3000 bundle costs less than the Go hardware.

Backhouse also talks of the focus of the PSP marketing. “On launch we’re very much focusing on the gaming part of it. The reason for that is because those are our first adopters, so gamers are going to be interested initially and I think in the next couple of months you’ll get other people that are interested in just general entertainment and things like Skyping – you can Skype on the console really easily – and going on the net, checking Facebook, that sort of thing.” I feel that this sets it in stone that they are trying to chip away at the apple handheld market, if you remember, Steve Jobs stated that the iPod Touch would first and foremost be marketed as a gaming machine. Although Sony is considered a gaming company by gamers, they are David in this handheld market to Apple’s Goliath. You have to remember that Apple owns 75% of the MP3 market and boasts over 21,000 games, where as Sony only has about 600+ games and 13,000 television shows and movies.However, some may argue that Sony may win in the quality over quantity argument. I don’t think the PSP Go will be able to compete in the social networking aspect of the market, this is due to the fact that the iPhone/iTouch have applications that integrate twitter, facebook, or myspace. Sony is also trying to take away at the minigame market with the introduction of PSP Minis. However, with the high prices on the PSP Minis, the iPod minigames will still be a much better value overall.

When asked about the negative reaction from retailers over carrying the PSP Go, Backhouse responded saying, “We were very aware of concerns when we went into it and I actually expected a lot more negative responses than we actually got. They were really quite fine with it. They see it as a way of getting people into the store because it’s new interest, a new product. And they’ve had such strong sales as well of PSP 3000 almost off the back of it. If you bring out a new product, people aspire to that but they might not buy it, they might buy the PSP 3000 instead. Especially if they’re part of a family – dad might buy the PSPgo but the kids might get PSP 3000s. I think that works quite well for us.” This is not the most reassuring statement to hear the PSP product manager say. I mean, sure it is good that retailers weren’t as apprehensive to carry the PSP Go, but the number of retailers that protested caused a fair amount of commotion in the gaming community. Although it may not cause too much drama, it still takes away from some consumers who were on the fence with their Go purchase. Honestly, if you heard that a retailer did not want to carry a product that you had slight interest in, wouldn’t that take away a good amount of your desire to even make the purchase. Just remember, even a little rain can ruin a days plans.

With the future of the PSP Go uncertain, the only real indicator of sales will be the NPD figures. Until we see hard evidence, it will be hard to know if Sony’s foray into the digital distribution model will pay off. You all know how I feel about this, but I would love to hear any thoughts or feedback on the Go from all of you, so make sure to leave comments and give your two cents.

2 responses to “All Systems Go: Does Anyone Honestly Care?”

  1. SHAFTUCANTHANDL says:

    PSP-go is a No-Go…

    No UMD… I don’t think this is as big of a deal as people are making it… When you think about it, everyone wants to carry their game library in the machine itself.. They don’t want to carry around a bunch of UMD’s… Sony can rectify the situation by figureing out a way to allow digital downlaods of games you have already purchased… I understand their are legal reasons as to why this may not be possible.. but it is most reasonably technilogically possible…

    No 2nd thumb stick…
    are you kidding me.. the desing of the playstation 1, 2, 3 controller is what made this system so attractive, and in ways revolutionized the gaming industry. How can this ingenious design still not be included in the portable version of the system? This is a major major major oversight.

    No full qwerty keyboard/ touchscreen…
    How can a newly designed system not take into account touch screen. It is what allows maxim functionality with minimum space used. If the PSP-go included a touch screen then people might actually think it is worth the 250.00 pricetag associated with the product (Concumers have no clue how cheap it is to produce touch screen).
    Even if a keyboard could not be included with the controls, touch screen would allow for a keyboard update in the future… If you want to be on the peak of the digital age, then include a touchscreen and keyboard…

    it is nice that the bluetooth addition means that you can use your PS3 controller, or a blutooth keyboard with you PSP-go.. but it destroys the mobility, which seems to be part of the original concept.
    Also developers will not be creating games that make the PS3 controller useful until it is an actaul addition to the portable system itelf.

    No Redesign
    You may argure that the PSP-go has been totally redesigned… I say bulltwinkies…
    It is easy to make a smaller product when you take away the UMD reader (expensive) and make the screen smaller… I say a re-design of the PSP should include the thing that made Sonys playstation what it is today:The Controller.

    When you can design a system around the shape and functionality of the controller.. then the PSP will be worth then money..

    Until then, The PSP-Go is a No-Go.

  2. Best Buy results as of 2 days. We only sold one. What does that say?