PSPgo hits UK retail

It may not have enjoyed the same level fanfare that can often usher in a new hardware release, but today’s arrival of the PSPgo is an important landmark for both Sony’s machine and the wider games industry.

The PSP has for a long-time been hampered by the generalised belief that it has failed to perform to Sony. This is mostly down to the huge success that has been the DS, and is really quite unfair – global PSP sales have recently surpassed the 50m mark, meaning the machine has sold only fractionally less than the Wii.

And whilst UMD sales have suffered at the hands of the widespread piracy that has blighted the system, the PSP is home to several great titles – including the likes of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, God of War: Chains of Olympus, LocoRoco, Patapon, Every Extend Extra and WipEout Pure.

Just a few years ago it would have been unimaginable for a games console to release without a physical media drive. Sony’s decision to drop UMD from PSPgo is as bold as it is groundbreaking.

The machine’s arrival has, however, been clouded by an ever-present air of uncertainty from some retail members thanks to its reliance on digital downloads. Hardware is traditionally a very low margin product for retail, with game sales proving a more important part of the business.

With UMD sales likely to tumble in light of the PSPgo, some retailers have gone as far as to refuse to stock Sony’s machine.

The price has also been a sticking point. 225 is not outlandish for sexy bits of portable tech, but considering the fact that 25 more will get you a PS3 – and that the PSP’s core tech is now over five years old – many have claimed that the PSPgo is as much as 100 over-priced.

And whilst Sony’s solution” to those who want a PSPgo but also own a large UMD collection may have been ridiculed by consumers, the platform holder is determined to reward early adopters with free copies of both the long-awaited Gran Turismo and three free full-game downloads.

Overnight also bought world of a new firmware update, v.6.10. New functionality includes music categorization software SensMe, a new look for MediaGo and Bluetooth tethering. It’s release is said to be close.

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