Go introduced in October was supposed to introduce new options to
the PSP line. Sold concurrently with the latest PSP-3000, it replaces
the UMD with 16GB of flash memory. This allows gamers to have
around a dozen games with them without having to carry around discs
and swap them out when they want to play a different game.
and videos can also be stored, allowing the PSP Go to compete
somewhat against Apple's iPod Nano. Additional storage is provided
via Memory Stick Micro (M2) flash cards. 16GB is the largest size
available at the moment, but there are smaller sizes available. The
M2 format tops out at 32GB, and there are rumors that Sandisk is
working on such a card based on 32nm technology.
The PSP Go is 35% smaller and 16% lighter than the PSP-3000. The
screen is smaller, but retains the same pixel count as the
PSP-3000. This allows the PSP Go to have a higher pixel density and a
sharper image. Unfortunately, the battery is also smaller, and only
allows for 3-5 hours of gaming.
This still makes it a
viable option gaming option for commuters who carpool or take public
transit and are looking for some entertainment. This is a very
large market in Japan, and a large percentage of people on Japanese
subways can be seen with a DS Lite. Sony is clearly targeting urban
professionals more than teenage gamers.
A recent trip to Asia
meant that I was faced with a 15 hour flight with limited
entertainment options. I picked up a PSP Go along with a
few games like Gran Turismo, GTA: Liberty City Stories, God of
War: Chains of Olympus, and Rock Band. Downloading games
via WiFi is pretty slow, and the best option is a broadband
connection and transfer via USB cable. Charging through a USB port is
possible, but a charge from an AC adapter is required
if the battery is depleted.
The PSP Go fits
perfectly in a suit jacket pocket, and I now find myself playing with
the PSP Go whenever I'm early for a meeting or waiting in line. I
used to carry around a Nintendo DS, but having all of my games loaded
on the PSP Go is much more convenient.
Holding the PSP Go is a
little bit awkward at first because of the sliding screen and takes a
little bit of getting used to. Gamers with large hands may want to
try one out for themselves before making a purchasing decision.
biggest criticism so far for the PSP Go has been on price. NAND flash
prices have doubled in the last six months due to demand from SSDs
and portable media players. Price for flash memory had been
forecasted to go down, not up.
A Sony representative pointed
out that the PSP Go is only around $50 more than a 16GB iPod Nano,
and is much more fun. However, Sony can afford to subsidize
the PSP Go, since the move to digital downloads will allow
the company to reduce the cost of manufacturing, packaging, and
The PSP Go will be most attractive to highly mobile professionals
who are buying their first PSP or seeking the greatest portability.
There are still many people who don't have a PSP, or are looking for
a better gaming experience than Apple's iPhone or the Nintendo DS
Lite. Those who have an investment in UMDs or are price-sensitive
will want to stick with the PSP-3000.