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The Sony PSP Go: Sony’s Next Big Winner or Loser?

September 28th, 2009

sony-psp-go.jpgSony managed to keep this one under wraps for quite some time, but now the cat is out of the bag – Sony will be releasing a brand new console as an addition to the PlayStation Portable range – the PSP Go. With a brand new look and, more importantly, a digital-only content delivery system (that’s right, no hard copy games), does the PSP Go have what it takes to set portable gamers’ hearts on fire, or will it fade into oblivion like so many other ‘innovative’ new handheld consoles?

Revealed at E3 2009, and scheduled for release in October 2009, the Sony PlayStation Portable ‘Go’ offers a new ‘sliding screen’ design, ensuring maximum portability and ease of use. The 3.8 inch screen runs at a resolution of 480×272 (the same as the original PSP) and slides up to reveal the same controls as previous iterations (albeit with their positioning altered). The actual hardware running the machine is the same as the PSP-3000, with the major differences being in the hardware design and the fact that the unit is 45% lighter than the PSP 3000 series. Another big addition is Blue Tooth compatibility, which will allow data sharing between PSP Go units; although Sony hasn’t yet discussed in length what this will be primarily used for. The unit also boasts an internal built-in memory of 16GB ‘out of the box’ – upgradeable to 32GB with expansion slots.

The PSP Go’s biggest change to the status quo of handheld gaming, though, is the removal of a physical disc drive. The UMDs of old have been replaced instead with a digital delivery system (presumably similar to that of Apple’s iTunes). This means that PSP owners won’t be able to use any of their old games, and will instead have to download everything they want to play. This feature has been a point of contention for many PSP enthusiasts, who worry that the system eliminates the ability to trade old games, and also those who enjoy some good old fashioned box art.

It will be interesting to see whether or not the gaming populace will accept this new form of content delivery. It has certainly worked for platforms like Steam on the PC; however these games are also available on hard copy formats, whereas new PSP Go games will not.

Overall, Sony looks like they could have a winner on their hands. Like so many other innovations in gaming, it’s all about whether or not the consumers will accept the change. If so, the PSP Go could share in a similar success received by Nintendo’s Wii — or, of course, it could suffer the same fate of the ‘Virtual Boy’. At this early stage, only time will tell.

Constant Content author “rtaylor1984″ has produced five articles and three sales.

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