PSPgo Developed To “Learn More About What The Consumer Wanted”

By Ishaan . June 8, 2010 . 3:46pm


Ever since its release in October of last year, the PSPgo has largely been neglected by consumers worldwide, in favour of other PSP models or other portable devices entirely, causing some to question how Sony gauge the system’s performance, and whether or not they expected the lukewarm reception at retail.


Speaking with industry site MCV, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president, Andrew House, revealed the device was an experiment of sorts to gauge consumer behaviour. “It was introduced in a mature lifecycle to learn more about what the consumer wanted and we’ve definitely learnt a lot,” House replied, when questioned regarding the PSPgo’s success.


What did Sony learn from their experiment? That packaged goods are still the preferred form of buying games. “We were getting signals from consumers that this was the kind of device that they wanted. But we need to recognise that consumers like their packaged media library,” House concluded.

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  • EvilAkito

    In all honesty, I don’t think the lack of a UMD drive is necessarily the problem. It’s just that, in the eyes of a consumer, the model with fewer features should be the cheaper alternative. Even a consumer who only plans on playing downloadable games could save money by just going with a regular PSP.

    • bVork

      Exactly. When you can get a PSP 2000 with a 16gb memory stick for less money than the PSP Go, something is wrong.

      It doesn’t help that there’s absolutely no incentive to get games via PSN rather than on physical UMD – they always cost exactly the same, despite the former having no manufacturing or distribution costs.

      In a lot of ways, I think what killed the Go was retailers. Nobody wants to stock a system that will encourage people to never shop at the store again, and I think both the Go’s price and the way digital distribution was handled were due to Sony bowing to retailer demands in order to not risk having the rest of their lineup pulled from shelves.

    • ElTopo

      Also no one wants to pay full price for games that have been on the market for months at a time, especially when retailers are willing to sell the physical product for half the cost of a new game. Titles were priced @ physical product price points, a full 30-40$ for datam when yo ucould buy the game new or used for half. Not too mention that buying these overpriced hunks of data was the only means of playing the games since it lacked the UMD drive, and if Sony ever pulled support (which they did or publishers didnt jump on) you were limited to whatever came out on the virtual market, losing the entire backlog of titles.

      I mean how do you sell a model like that to a large corporation? You can’t and no one bought it and now those that did have 250$ paper weights that they are going to have to give away just to clear them out of inventory.

  • thebanditking

    To “ Learn More About What The Consumer Wanted”. Well for this consumer here is a hint Sony, it starts with “phys” and ends with “edia”. The GO is just not an attractive package for someone like me who actually like to own what they buy (I know crazy right?). So here is hoping that the PSP2 has a faster form of physical media and digital downloads for smaller titles.

  • Good games that weren’t shovelware under 20 bucks and they might have had something.

    Even then, there’s DSiWare for that.

  • ECM

    If Sony ever stopped spinning for even a minute or two, maybe they could regain their footing and actually start competing in a meaningful sense again.

  • epy

    Trying to save face now. The PSPGo could have actually gone somewhere if they provided a way to not render all your previous UMD collection useless.

    • RAVENKam

      Like a UMD drive.

      • ElTopo


    • neo_firenze

      “The PSPGo could have actually gone somewhere if they provided a way to not render all your previous UMD collection useless.”

      THIS. I honestly don’t think the lack of physical media was as big an issue as some people believe, it was the way the Go rendered any previous PSP owner’s existing collection useless. The Go has a smaller game lineup, inability to play games the customer already paid for, and sometimes didn’t even get new games at the same time UMD versions released (see Metal Slug XX, released on PSN today after being in stores for several months ago).

      UMD is actually inferior to digital in significant ways (LOAD TIMES), I prefer to buy digital versions of new PSP releases now for that reason.

      But you can’t screw your loyal customers over with a new system version that won’t use existing collections of games, without some business model to allow downloads or conversion of legit UMD games.

      If they had released a NEW system with no existing library as download only, I’m guessing it would have performed better. As is, if people can use a cheaper normal PSP and play download AND physical games, what incentive is there for them to pay $100 more for a system that can only do one of those things, and renders your pre-existing library unplayable on the new machine.

      FWIW, I do own a Go and I LIKE IT. It’s truly portable, and loses the annoying load times. But I also have a PSP-3000 and if I could only keep one, it would be the one that can play my dozens of UMD games in addition to the downloadable stuff I can play on both machines.

      • ElTopo

        Digital Distribution is so bad for the consumer I dont understand how anyone can like it. UMDs just werent a good form of physical media in the first place, hopefully they correct this if a PSP2 even comes out, go with a memory stick format, or somehow find a way to fix the very flawed UMD media.

        Seriously, your PSP Go bricks, you just lost an entire game collection. “Oh but Sony keeps a record of all your purchases online so you can re-download them.” 3-5 years from now those servers will be taken down and you will have no way at all to get back your game collection.

        What if you want to sell your unit? How much is that unit worth? Would a consumer pay more money for a collection of games loaded onto the unit that he/she doesnt like/want? No, probably not. In fact I think data only renders your entire game library a complete loss of value in terms of any kind of resale. Theres no way you can sell PSP Go “A” for 100$ used then PSP Go “B” for 150$ used because it has 3 games loaded onto it that may or may not appeal to a specific consumer. People aren’t thinking past 2-3 years the effects of going all digital would have on the consumer market.

  • BrotherCavil

    Lesson learned: Consumer no want PSPgo.

  • ElTopo

    Sony, we all know you just needed a way to unload all those extra Mylo 2 shells you had lying around.

    Seriously though, terrible, terrible product. Main problem I have with DD is that it kills the resale market, all collect-ability of games is gone, and that gaming collection you invest so much in is now worth next to nothing since you own data, not a physical product.

    That and good luck trying to get back some of your money when you go to sell that system. How much is it worth if it has 10 games valued @ 30$+ and 10 smaller XBLA style games @ 10$ each? Would a corporation or consumer be willing to pay for that? Suddenly buying a used console is a risky and confusing business, let alone trying to sell one.

    Just bad overall for the consumer.

  • SladeNoctis

    Maybe they learned that you shouldn’t move to digital distribution only product completely with a product that most of the consumers only buy physical media. It’s a shame really because i have a gut feeling that sony might not release psp2 since all the fall games are still psp only. From God Eater to God of War, things seem like we might have to wait on the final 4 or 3 year of the psp to finally get a sequel.

  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Pack the physical copy (new) with a redeemable digital copy a-la most blu-ray movies, and you solve both problems elegantly.

    As an alternative, why not just write some code into the UMDs that would copy the physical disc legally to a mem stick and lock it to your PSN account or something? Not hard at all, and they basically do that with the PSOne games as-is. Another sore point; why isn’t there a way to facilitate the process via my PS3? If it really does everything, why can’t I pay a nominal liscense fee to have the thing rip my copy of Einhander to the HDD since Square-Enix is allergic to money outside Japan?

    Give the hackers they claim killed their market jobs and I bet Sony would be amazed at what they could do to enhance their product.

  • crunc

    The big problem that the PSPGo had, aside from the device’s asking price, was that it ran games that priced themselves right out of the download market. That’s the main problem. People don’t want to pay $30, even $40, for a download game on console, let alone a portable, and those PSP games it ran were designed for that kind of price range. It was destined for failure. Yes, there were these “minis” games, and they were priced much better, but that’s not what the PSPGo was designed primarily for. It was designed to play full PSP games that you downloaded. The minis were a bonus, but not the main course.

    The PSPGo should have never been able to play any PSP games at all. It should only have been able to play “minis” games. And it should have been priced accordingly. Oh, and it should have been a phone….

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