updated 08:05 am EDT, Wed April 20, 2011
Sony cancels PSP Go months ahead of NGP
Sony on Wednesday confirmed rumors that it was stopping PSP Go production. The company in a statement said it had 'completed' production and was only selling remaining stock before it disappeared entirely. Firmware patches and repairs would still go on, the company told Impress, but the focus was on the NGP's release at the end of the year.
The Go first shipped in October 2009 and was conspicuously designed as an answer to the arrival of the iPod touch, whose Internet-based game economy was already cutting into PSP game revenue. It scrapped the slower and bulkier UMD disc drive in place of 16GB of built-in flash memory and the usual Memory Stick slot. Instead, it relied solely on downloadable games. The slider design also was meant to make it more pocketable and appeal to those who liked the iPod for the smaller size.
The Go never reached the sales volume of the regular PSP design. Apart from Sony believing it deserved a "premium" $250 price, the newer PSP was locked out of most of the catalog from before it was launched and didn't necessarily get downloadable versions on time. Sony even faced pushback from retailers that wanted to force it to use a traditional business model; it had already been selling coupons for individual games in stores as a way of appeasing chains like GameStop.
The iPod touch has been helped as a game device both by using more modern hardware than the PSP but also by having a business model that encouraged much lower prices on games, where even professional titles cost $10 or less versus the $40 for a full PSP game. As a smartphone-level platform, iOS has also been much more capable for web browsing, media playback, general-purpose apps and other devices that save gamers the trouble of having to keep multiple devices.