Worst-kept secret finally out of the bag
Determined to take a firm foothold in the handheld gaming market, Sony has unveiled the PSP Go – a more portable, download-only device. Smaller and 43 percent lighter than the current PSP, it also boasts a slide-top screen that snaps shut like a mobile phone, hiding the controls.
The major change is the dumping of the maligned UMD disc drive for the speed and convenience of 16GB internal flash memory. This puts the new PSP Go more in line with Apple’s iPhone and the booming popularity of its Appstore, allowing users to download full games and demos over a wireless internet connection direct to their handheld.
To accommodate the sleeker chassis, the PSP Go’s LCD screen has shrunk to 3.8-inches in width, which is smaller when compared to the current PSP. The control layout is the same configuration, however, with a d-pad, analogue nub, two shoulder bumpers and four face buttons, though they appear to be more tightly arrayed on the Go.
As far as software goes, Sony plan to release all future PSP games as both UMD discs and as downloads from the PlayStation Store for the PSP Go. A new Gran Turismo will spearhead the Go “launch titles” later in the year, and once again it looks stunning running at 60 frames per second. The rest of Sony’s own line-up for the PSP was fairly predictable, with LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, Jak & Daxter: Lost Frontiers and Socom Fireteam Bravo leading the charge. Third party games to look forward to include Resident Evil Portable, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny and Pixel Junk Monsters Deluxe, amongst others.
However, a cornucopia of future digital downloads in the same vein as Nintendo’s DSiWare Shop is now a possibility for the PSP Go, as Sony has pledged to cut the cost of developing for the platform by 80 percent, which should stimulate independent developers and deliver more innovative titles to the system – if not at least more games overall, which may well be the true aim.