After providing a reasonably solid attempt at a portable gaming solution with the PSP, Sony is taking another whack at those that have to have their games on the go. Geared toward digital content, the PSP Go was debuted at E3, but only after the story had been leaked by Sony’s own video magazine.
There have been many changes from the PSP 3000, but Sony has made sure that it is backwards compatible with the older software. You won’t be able to use your UMD’s (Universal Media Disc), however, because the drive was removed. It was replaced by a built-in flash drive of 16GB with the ability to expand via Memory Stick Micro (m2).
The switch away from UMD’s to digital media is backed up by a partnership with eMusic for DRM-free tracks, and a revamp of the online Playstation Store, where games and movies are available for download. Add to this the release of Sony’s software called Media Go, a much more robust and helpful replacement for Media Manager. You can see that the company is making a big bid for our handheld gaming vote.
Other nice things about the upgrade include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections. The really nifty thing about the Bluetooth is that we should be able to use our Bluetooth headsets and speakers with the Go, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to hook up a PS3 controller. Don’t take my word for that.
According to rep John Koller in the leaked video, the Bluetooth will also allow the PSP Go tether to a Bluetooth enabled cell phone. While he didn’t say exactly what this could be used for, the potential is there to browse the Web or play online games via the tethered phone when a Wi-Fi connection isn’t available.
There are a few things that would have made a lot of PSP users sit up and take notice that unfortunately weren’t added. We have all lamented the lack of a second analog stick, and sadly, we shall continue to do so. A touch screen is also missing, so in my opinion there will be very few iPod converts. As for screen size, it’s shrunk to 3.8 inches from 4.3.
All in all, the success of the Go, in my opinion, is totally up in the air. Sony may get PSP 2000/ 3000 users excited enough to upgrade, and they might get some iPod recruits that miss real controls for their gaming. It remains to be seen if this will garner Sony a larger portion of the mobile gaming niche, or if it will be overshadowed by the iPod and iPhone.