10 Reasons Not To Buy A PSPgo

Well Sony obviously didn’t read my last Devil’s Advocate piece did they.  Let us just hope that things go better for Sony than that post suggested they might.  Bear in mind that with these articles I am not ‘hating’ on the PSP.  Far from it, I want it to be a success as that means more developer and publisher support which in turn means more software.  In fact next week I might give you 10 reasons to buy a PSPgo.

This piece is written mainly from the viewpoint of someone who has been a PSP owner for a while because that is me.  I had a PSP-1000 before upgrading to a PSP-3000 in the new year.  This article is not written with any bitterness towards a new PSP being released as we have come to expect yearly updates of the hardware.  (So expect a PSP-N2000 next year.)

So without further ado here are ten, what I hope are, logical and sensible reasons for not buying a PSPgo when it comes out in October.

1 – Lack of new hardware features.
The only thing it has got that a PSP-3000 hasn’t is Bluetooth.  My current wired earphones are fine thanks.

2  – Lack of new software features.
Oooo it has got a clock.  Now it just needs a correspondingly large battery indicator.  They have also mentioned being able to bring up the XMB in game.  If that feature doesn’t make it into ‘2000s and ‘3000s via a firmware update I’ll eat my hat be a bit miffed.  Though I’m not sure what benefit, with the platform’s limited hardware resources, an in game XMB on the PSP would bring either.

3 – Cannot play UMDs.
Not so much of a problem if you will be new to PSP when the ‘go launches but I have got UMD games and films already.  Probably more than enough to come close to filling my 16GB Memory Stick if Sony’s ‘good will gesture’ lets me make digital copies of them all.  So far they have only talked about digital copies of games too, so what about my films?  You can also bet that second hand UMDs will be a cheaper way to get hold of old games, at least for a while, than buying digital copies.

4 – It won’t use my Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo cards.
Why?  I cannot believe they were that short of space inside the case and Memory Stick Micro does not give an improvement in capacity as it currently tops out at 16GB.  The MS Micro has no advantage when it comes to read/write speeds either as both formats offer 16MB/s.

5 – Only 16GB internal storage.
For a ‘premium’ handheld entertainment device that is expected to have a substantial quantity of audio, video and games on it 16GB just doesn’t cut it.  UMDs can hold up to 1.8GB so a few games, a bunch of albums and a decent handful of videos will see your 16GB rapidly diminishing.  Yes you can double the 16GB with a Memory Stick Micro but I would expect a ‘premium’ product to have 32GB of storage built in.

6 – Smaller screen.
The PSP-3000 has a 4.3″ 16:9 screen while the PSPgo has a 3.8″ 16:9 screen.  Half an inch does not sound like much does it, it is only 12% smaller when measured along the diagonal.  Calculate the screen area though and it is a different story.  The screen area of the ‘3000 is 7.9″ whilst for the ‘go it is only 6.17″ (assuming I have got my maths correct).  That means the screen area on the ‘go is 22% smaller than on the ‘3000.  All those tiny fonts used in PSP games are going to be over 20% smaller.  Hope you have got good eye sight.  As smart phone screens are getting larger, with 3.5″ now common, Sony have decided to shrink the screen on the PSPgo.  As a gaming handheld and portable media player I have always found the PSP’s screen to be just about the right size.  I do not understand why we could not have had a slightly bigger PSPgo with a 4.3″ screen.

7 – ‘Embedded’ battery.
Sony have used one of Apple’s cost-cutting measures and gifted the PSPgo an ’embedded’ non user-replaceable battery.  I am sure it has also been done to combat hackers who have used the PSP’s battery as a way ‘into’ the system.  Of course it means you cannot fit a higher capacity battery and a dead battery equals a dead PSPgo.  PSP-2000 and Sony’s high capacity 2200mAh battery FTW!

8 – You have already got a ‘2000 or ‘3000.
If you are still the proud owner of a PSP-1000 then there are arguments for upgrading to a smaller and lighter PSP with more RAM which can be used by the browser (or to cache the UMD drive) and a better screen.  So pick up a ‘3000.  If you already have a ‘2000 or ‘3000 there is no compelling reason to upgrade, and you are at reason 8 of 10 not to upgrade, unless you have too much money and absolutely must have the latest gadget.  This one is especially true if you have the Go!Cam or Go!Explore as there is no way to connect those to the PSPgo.  (As an aside, just how are PSPgo owners going to play the forthcoming Invisimals?  Bizarrely this gameplay trailer shows it running on a PSPgo.)

9 – Ugly Start/Select buttons.
What is going on with those two fugly almost semi-circular buttons?  Had Sony reduced the headcount in its PlayStation design studio before those buttons were designed leaving just some work experience kid to come up with their design?  I freely admit that I do not know how I would design them better myself but that is not my job and I expect better from Sony’s designers.  In fact I find the whole design of the PSPgo generally uninspiring.

10 – Price
Couldn’t let this one slide.  Seriously, $249, €249 or £229 for a PSPgo.  £100 more than a PSP-3000 or £130 more than a ‘2000!  No thank you.  You could pick up a ‘3000 and a 16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo for around £175 if you shop around.  So I guess those of you quick enough to snag a £180 pre-order for the PSPgo when GAME got it wrong are a little better off.  The cheap way into PSP gaming is to find one of the deals on PSP-2000s that have been seen on the high street (£50 in WH Smiths!) and online recently as retailers clear their stock of the older model.

The PSPgo just feels a bit too much like an experiment to me.   It is as though Sony are just testing the market for DLC-only hardware in the same way as the US DLC-only release of Patapon 2 was an ‘experiment’.  It is an experiment that will cause some confusion for both customers and publishers until we get the results.  A further source of potential confusion is its model number, PSP-N1000.  How long before we here of some unscrupulous ebay seller taking advantage of the similarity between PSP-1000 and PSP-N1000?

If you can think of any more reasons not to buy a PSPgo let me and other readers know in the comments.