The PSP Go is Sony’s newest generation handheld system. It leaked over the weekend before its formal announcement which would have been during Sony’s conference at the E3 convention this week. So far the leaked info is:

  • 3.8″ sliding screen (smaller than the previous generation’s 4.3″)
  • 16 GB of built-in flash memory
  • 43% lighter than the PSP-3000
  • Bluetooth compatible
  • MemoryStick Micro slot for expandable storage
  • All digital downloads, no physical media
  • A planned Fall release

There are things about this that I like and then a couple of things I don’t like. For starters, one thing I don’t like is that there doesn’t seem to be any external controls, everything is housed under the sliding screen. This might be a problem for people who want to use this as an all-around media device. Let’s say you were listening to music and you wanted to change songs, you would have to take the device out of your pocket, slide the screen open and then change songs. I know this can all be fixed by adding inline controls on the headphone cord. Hopefully, they can think of a more elegant solution than the inline controller they made for the original PSP, it was big and ugly, they should try to model what Apple has done with their newest lines of earbuds with inline controls.

The new device is much slimmer than past versions, probably mainly due to the removal of the UMD drive. Other than its weight loss, the device looks shorter and stubbier than the older PSPs, which I think makes it look awkward. It looks more like a video gaming version of Sony’s ill-fated Mylo Internet device. Hopefully, a PSP Go-2000 model will look a little better.

They say that this is going to live side-by-side on shelves with the PSP-3000 and isn’t meant to replace it. That is the same thing Nintendo said about the DS and Game Boy brands and we all know what happened there. There haven’t been any leaks concerning the price point of the PSP Go but I have a feeling they will keep the PSP-3000 at $169, and make the Go somewhere in the ballpark of $199 to $229. At $229 it puts it at the same price as Apple’s iPod Touch which they seem to have some crossover in the marketplace.

I don’t like how they still stuck with a proprietary memory card format, but it is Sony after all and I don’t think they will ever give up on proprietary formats, it’s just not their thing. It would have been nice to maybe see a touchscreen on this device because it looks like that is where the market is heading, but that may have been cost-prohibitive and might not have added too much to the gaming experience. It would have then just been a direct competitor to the iPod Touch, and to be honest I still don’t like the way most games control on a touchscreen.

I like where they are heading but I don’t think this is the device that will push them ahead of the juggernaut that is the Nintendo DS/DSi. I don’t see many parents getting down with the whole digital downloads thing so this might do better in the teen and adult markets. The problem being I think the teen and adult market for handheld games is much smaller, and the DS has the majority of the teen, adult, and kid markets. I’m gonna keep my eye on things but since I have a PSP already I’m not really interested in getting one unless they announce a bunch of awesome features that didn’t leak yet.