Over the years, I have managed to collect more gaming platforms than I can keep track of. With only a couple of exceptions, I have owned or still own every major gaming platform to be released. Some of them, I have multiple of, especially Gameboys which I seem to collect for some strange reason. With the thousands of dollars that I have spent over the years on new consoles and handhelds, there is one thing I always dread the most, having to buy new accessories. In this case, I want to talk specifically about the PSP and the PSP Go. This applies to pretty much every system with a few exceptions but I am going to focus on these two for now.
Like every year, I pay extremely close attention to the E3 coverage. I have even been known to take most of a week off of work just so I can sit and watch the wall to wall coverage that all of the major gaming sites have of the annual event. While I didn’t take any time off of work this year, I still watched nearly all of my usual coverage thanks to being alone at work. I will write another post or two about my complete thoughts from the event but right now I want to focus on the PSP Go. Much has been discussed about the PSP Go going completely digital with its content, something I will discuss further in another blog post and on the next podcast, but it seems that the main thing people are talking about is the price. People seem to be complaining that $250 is too much, but clearly they need a little history lesson, so here it is.
The PSP launched on March 24, 2005. When it launched, it was priced at $250, the same is what the PSP Go is going to sell for. Despite this price point that people now claim is too high, that morning it still had people lined up at early openings of stores. I know this because I stood in line and was the second person in town to get my hands on one. Not long after, I purchased a second one slightly used although not noticeable for a number of reasons, but price was never a huge factor for me. If it was over $300, I would have complained, but for what you got at the time, it was a decent price point and it still is. The reason it is still a great price is because of all of the new features and the power of the device compared to the Nintendo DS or DSi. From a technical aspect, the PSP can run circles around the DS. Between being able to play better looking games to being able to play movies, music and even stream audio over the web, it not only justifies the price difference but it laughs at the DS while doing so. The PSP Go vs the DSi is no different. I will admit the DSi has some nice new features including the cameras, but it still can’t compete in terms of value with what you get in the PSP Go. The PSP Go is not only as capable as its predecessor but it now it has 16GB of internal storage and bluetooth in a device a fraction of the size and weight of the original PSP. While the DSi added some nice features like the cameras, the technical specs weren’t boosted to allow it to compete with the PSP. For some reason, Nintendo doesn’t seem to mind inferior hardware as proven with the Wii and GameCube and if you really want to go back, we can put many of the Gameboy systems in that category as well considering the Sega GameGear was superior in nearly every aspect but size and battery life. Anyway, it should be clear that I think it is worth every penny of the $250, especially when you compare it to the handhelds that Nintendo offers.
The most annoying thing about it for me is the fact that you are going to need all new accessories for your PSP Go since the ones from your PSP won’t work with it. While I certainly understand the need of new cases since the Go is considerably smaller, I don’t understand while the miniUSB that was used in the original was taken out of the Go in favor of some kind of multi-use port. The new port will still plug into your computers USB port, from the pictures I have seen, it looks identical to the plug in the Zune. I don’t see any reason to change it other than to make people buy all new accessories which really pisses me off. I am a loyal enough customer to purchase a bunch of accessories over the years in the first place, I should not be punished by having to buy all of them again just because you want more money so you change the hardware to force me to buy something new. Accessories aren’t that cheap and if you already have people complaining about the price, just how mad do you think they will be when you make them purchase all of their accessories all over again? If you want to catch up to the DS which has outsold the PSP 2:1, this is not the way to do it.
All manufactures need to heed this message. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If it is not a necessary change, don’t make it for the sake of making money. Either use it to add value make no change so that the barrier of entry for a new device is as small as possible to increase the adoption of your device. Anyway, enough of my rant. Tomorrow, I will talk about the PSP Go’s digital download move followed by my thoughts on E3 with a few other posts splattered in between.