The PlayStation Portable brand name started off when Sony released its iconic handheld video game and entertainment console – the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2005. With its large screen, powerful 333MHz processor and absolutely high-intensity graphics that was the same as a PlayStation 2 console’s graphics, the PSP gave birth to a new age of gaming for all those hardcore gamers who wanted the PlayStation experience while away from their main consoles or PCs. For all these people, the PSP has been the de-facto handheld experience.
However, since its inception in 2005, the PSP has undergone relatively few overall design modifications. The second iteration of the PSP, the PSP 2000 was a major change in that it was slimmer and lighter than the 1000 series, and then the Sony PSP 3000 which had modifications to the screen and some buttons.
The PSP Go – a yet to be released successor to the Sony PSP 3000 (although, it would be more appropriate to say “offshoot” since Sony will continue to manufacture and support the original series) has changed all that with a radically new look, and a smaller, more portable feel.
The screen is smaller than the previous models, and the width of the console is small as well since the buttons are neatly tucked away in a slider. Yes! There is a slider that can be pulled out for the buttons and everything, making this a very portable edition. This was the ideology behind calling it the “Go” – it was meant to be a highly portable version.
This model also does not feature the most important form of input to the PSP – the UMD drive! How, you ask, are you going to play games, then? Well, Sony’s PlayStation Network will release games completely online – meaning you purchase and download these games online. Retail stores will have the game’s copy as a token – you buy the token which has a code in it. You type in the code in PSN and you can download your game!
While Sony has claimed this to be a very special thing being done only for the PSP Go, the functionality exists in the older models – you can download these games into your memory stick and play them on the go too (unintended pun!). The real selling point, however, is for those who do not have a PSP already, or those who want to be stylish and fashionable, since this offering does not give anything new in terms of gaming or entertainment. If at all, it might hinder gameplay because of its smaller screen, and because many are put off by the design (The PSP 3000 looks much better, some say).
In any case, the PSP Go will make great leeway in terms of online transactions. Also, since there is no packaging cost required, the games might cost less when purchased for download-only and thus can eventually become the selling point of Sony’s hand held, especially because of the dire straits it is in with its competitor, the Nintendo DS.