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Epic Fail: Why Sony And The PSP Go Faces Backlash
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 November 2009 10:03 Written by Wrathie Thursday, 1 October 2009 01:15
Earlier in June when E3 2009 kicked off, Sony announce a new PSP called the PSP Go. This new machine would have 16GB internal memory, downloadable game-play, and more compact than the other PSP models. After its showing, people generally had good feeling about the new PSP and were already putting it on their want lists. What added to this was the implied promise that a UMD conversion would be available for existing PSP owners looking to get a Go.
A week before the game was to be released, Sony announced at the Tokyo Game Show, this to be false. Due to “licensing and technical problems” the UMD conversion would not be available at release time, and quite possibly, ever. A WEEK before it was due to launch, Sony decided to call out on it. Not only is it in bad form, but hurts Sony as they are trying to recoup being third tier to Nintendo and Microsoft. September marked the month Sony seemed to have finally gotten its act together, as the release of the PS3 slim and price cuts made Sony a huge winner for the month. Starting the month of October, official release of the PSP Go will not signal that same success.
The biggest thing that held the Go back prior to having no UMD support was the price: $250. The United States and much of the world, have been in a global recession for the past year or so (contrary to some people) and people’s spending has decreased over that year. That is why Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all decided to put a price cut on their system, which seems to have worked. Now, the PSP Go’s problem, is that it’s price is in between prices for the PS3 slim and Xbox Elite ($299) and a Nintendo Wii and DSi ($199). If you look at the price range, you can clearly see that the value spent does not equal to the value earned when talking about the PSP Go.
To elaborate: the PSP 3000 models, which sell about 80 dollars less than the Go, still has problems upending handheld rival and incumbent Nintendo DS/DSi. It isn’t due to a hardware issue; it is more on the end of software: the games themselves. Nintendo’s DS has about a library of over 900 games, which is about 4 times the amount of games the PSP has. The DS also has the advantage of better 1st party games, such as Mario and Pokemon as well as numerous variety of genres. While the PSP can alternately be used as a movie and music player, it seems to struggle in its main category of gaming. This can also be attributed to Nintendo’s brand, as they are well respected in the handheld gaming sector; having ruled over the handheld wars since the late 80s. It also also can attribute to the target consumers: Nintendo pitching it’s device for causal gamer of all ages; PSP pitches to the niche market of hardcore gamers between teen and adults. Even with both the PSP and DS released in 2004, Nintendo has a 2-to-1 advantage over Sony; as the DS has sold over 100 million combined units compared to the PSP 50 million combined units. Interestingly enough, Sony has actually done well in the area; other handheld competitors in the past have failed miserably against Nintendo and close production within a few years. So it isn’t entirely the product’s fault.
Even with it’s pre-positioned disadvantage; with the PSP Go, it will have a harder time facing out the current DS model: the DSi. Even though the Go is boasted to be the first handheld or console to completely rely on digital media as its media format, I believe Sony should have waited on this and used the format for the next generation of handhelds. This assumption is based on the fact that original PSP owners will probably not by the Go, due to no UMD support. Also the price factor has a huge part in why the Go won’t be a smash hit. With the general consensus seemingly turned against the Go due to uncomfortable handling of the controls, it is already brewing up trouble for Sony.
If Sony could wait to produce a new generation of PSPs, garner game support, and expand its horizon on its target market, and have it all at a reasonable price, then Sony could eventually pull off what other people have failed to do and overthrow Nintendo as the portable king. For now though, it will have to watch their new toy fall flat on its face.
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