Ok, so PSPGo is almost one month old. We, fans and Playstation Portable users, were expecting a huge revolution in portable gaming systems. Many of current "classic PSP" users were affraid that Sony will discontinue UMD support (Fortunately it didn't happen). Many of them were thinking about changing their current PSP system to PSPGo.. How this situation looks after a month?
Almost every reviewer of PSPGo admits that this is a very good piece of hardware: great screen, built-in microphone, wifi 802.11b, bluetooth, 16BG internal memory + ability to extend it via memory stick micro. But also, almost every of those reviewers claimed about price. PSPGo is definitely expensive. It's cost only 50$ less than PS3 Slim 120GB, and 80$ more than existing PSP3000. Personally, for that price I can't say it's just a portable console with audio/video playback support, like I could say about PSP3000. PSPGo should be called "portable entertaining system" or "not-home entertaining system" :) Maybe Sony is copying Apple's marketing.. "Even if our product has the same specs as it's predecessor, let's make it's price high - people will believe it's a better and newer technology". Phenomenon of early adoption is working.. Customers are buying new child of Sony's portable systems line. But PSPGo isn't selling as it should be. Why? Let's back to reviews of this system. Why in 85% of reviews, PSPGo is compared to old, PSP2000 which has no microphone, worse wifi antenna and worse screen? When comparing PSP N1000 to PSP 3000 you can barely see the difference between those consoles (except size, weight and lack of UMD drive of course :) ). And what's strange - if you want to use microphone in PSPGo, you have to open it! So using Skype is way better on PSP3000. Current users don't see opportunity in upgrading to PSP N1000. There is more - PSP1000 users have the same opinion. PSP fat is 4 year old, FOUR year old. I think they and people who don't have portable console should be the target. Bluetooth is great - wireless headphones/speakers, home theater system connectivity - this sounds very useful. But this is the end of technical innovations. Why they didn't upgrade wifi standard to 802.11g/n? Why they didn't add full HD video output or just fullscreen game video output, people are so disappointed about this in PSP3000. There are so many things, they could improve in new model and make it very desirable. I don't say PSPGo is a crap, but I think they could manage to create system with newer technology. Why Blizzard is creating Starcraft2 and Diablo3 with fans? Because they're creating products that will suit to customers expectations.
Lack of UMD drive - Digital Era is coming!
This is the heart or even the soul of PSPGo :) It's dedicated only for downloadable content - no optical drive. Every game must be purchased in PSN Store and there is no other way to get them. It means that you won't be able to loan games or sell your old ones. It's really great idea - finally no UMD case in your backpack or pocket. I often find changing UMD discs uncomfortable, especially in train or bus. Choosing games downloaded from PSN Store is easy and very, very quick. It has also a good influence on battery life, loading times and noiseless work. Sony did a mile-step into a future (yes, PSP3000 can do that too, but PSPGo is created only for this). While device is excellent prepared for digital distribution, the distribution itself isn't supported/managed/organized well. PSN Store is the only place for purchasing games, however for me - it's a real horror. I mean REAL HORROR.. Prices are totally taken from space or some other weird place. Game prices in PSN are sometimes as high as two UMD versions of the same game. This is really pain in the ass for PSPGo users. You're getting GoW for ~16€ and next day your friend with PSP1000/2000/3000 is buying the same, used GoW game for ~7€. After a month he sells it and buys another game. PSN pricing is a big mistake - games should be 10%-20% cheaper than it's UMD versions. Sony has created "Special Offer" tab in PSN Store, so sometimes you can get let's say "a little cheaper games". Ok, but even if I buy something it's often hard or impossible to download. Store throws errors one after another, so you must download content via Account Management. This is not the best way of Digital Distribution. AppStore, AppStore and one more time: AppStore! If Sony is copying from Apple - let them do it right :) AppStore is beautifully integrated with Apple devices. It runs quickly, smoothly and users don't complain about errors ("download failed", "download failed"..). What about PSN Store content? Game library is updating every thursday/friday (depends on country), but those updates are no more than little steps in creating big store with "strong" titles. Too little steps.. Every week brings one PSP mini game, two or three "regular" games and sometimes a demo. This is not what we were expecting.. I heard that Sony has licensing issues, but they could think about it few months ago :) Why "PS one classic" section doesn't have the best games released on PSX (yeah, there is MGS, Silent Hill and RE:DC, but only in US) - what about THPS, Tenchu, Parappa The Rapper, RE2, RE3, GT2.. and many many more..? Some people think that PSN Store was created with PSPGo launch, but that's not true. Nothing has changed in PSN Store after 1 October, except of PSP minis (which are barely updated). PSP Minis is excellent idea! Short, simple and fun games. But for god's sake not, I repeat NOT "Funky Punch" or something like that or Pinball ported from Amiga. Please, give us Bejeweled and Collapse! Zuma should be good also :)
PSN Store is not exclusive for PSPGo - "classic" PSP owners can also buy games via PSN.
And there is one more thing.. Supporting online games. Two months ago I bought "Syphon Filter: Combat Ops", created only for multiplayer. After 15 minutes spent on connecting to server I wasn't able to play it online. Server has huge lags and timeouts, so playing online via infrastructure is almost impossible. Sometimes I can connect to lobby and enter chat room, where I meet people just like me - typing "@#$%@#$% game! I just bought it and it doesn't work". So why it's still on PSN Store? I really don't know, but I know that it cost the same as used Dark Mirror with full Single Player. I don't want to buy games in a store where it's used to say "I don't care about that issue, we are just delivering games".. "Classic" PSP users have choice, they can just go to first electronics store or Amazon/eBay and look for a game they want to buy. But PSPGo doesn't have that choice and therefore Sony should care about them and do it as much as they can!
I definitely like PSPGo - it's smaller, lighter and seems to be very well packed entertainment system into a really small device. However I don't love it as I love PSP3000, because PSP3000 has.. emm.. "backwards compatibility"? A "backdoor", an emergency UMD drive that can help me when digital distribution won't succeed or my favorite game won't be released on PSN Store. In fact PSPGo is not cheaper solution in any way when comparing to PSP3000. This is very sad..
Future of PSPGo depends mainly on PSN Store, on how it's updated, maintained, how many games you can buy there at lower price. I pray that the very close future (including X-mas) will show PSPGo and DD in better light. Yellow card straight from fans is not a good sign..
For now I'm staying with my PSP3000. Sony has made his first step in Digital Era, but for now this step is very unsuccessful.. Care about customers, not about $$ because we're making $$, not high prices!