Asspoint of the Month: No Go?

To Go or not to Go?

As Torgo keeps pointing out to me, I’ve been slacking on posting things to the site. I’ve got my excuses, mostly valid, but that doesn’t matter so here I am with the first in hopefully a monthly series of Asspoints. I wrestled with the topic for a while originally planning to write about how this console generation sucks, then decided to bitch about how I have too many games instead. In thinking about those topics, it brought me to the one I finally settled on… the PSP, or rather the more topical PSP Go.

Wrestling once again with the realization I have more games than I could ever play in this lifetime, I started to think about what one system I would keep out of the current generation if I could only choose one. Much to my surprise I think that would actually be the PSP. A handheld system I used to mock along with all the other GBA & DS fans! It has no games, it’s too big, the controls suck, UMD lolz, etc. You get the idea. Some of those criticisms were pretty valid even up to a year or two after the PSP’s launch. Somewhere along the way though, it became valid in my eyes. Games I was interested in like platformers, turn-based strategy, shmups and RPGs began to trickle in. The PSP-2000 redesign fixed a lot of the flaws in the original model. Hell, even a few of my favorite series like Ys and Phantasy Star have made current appearances. I finally got one and couldn’t believe how long I’d ignored it! And now that Sony’s woken up and realized they need to push the handheld they forgot they had, it’s getting even better. Sure there are still downsized PS3 and even PS2/Wii ports, but so what? In a lot of cases those games are just as enjoyable as their big brothers and portable to boot. It’s all adding to the one thing that people claim the PSP didn’t have: content.

Now Sony is launching the latest and greatest version of my surprisingly favorite system, the PSP Go. Absurdly priced at $250.00 USD and lacking a UMD drive to play my library of games, I’m both excited and disgusted by it. Why excited? For one, I love new toys, especially tech so of course I want one. Even more so after playing with it at E3. I think it’s a great redesign and seems like it may be more comfortable to play than the current model, although I do still have misgivings about the analog placement. The built-in memory is a huge plus and being able to just download your games to have at the ready is very appealing. I’m not gonna lie, I think Custom Firmware on the current PSP is really cool (but fuck all you pirates for nearly killing the system, god damn asshats). My number one feature is being able to take games I own and rip them to a memory stick so I don’t have to cart around an assload of UMD’s and now the PSP Go is basically built around that concept. Except of course, for the most important thing, being able to rip your own purchased games. I happen to have a very large collection of PSP games that I would not be able to play on the PSP Go and I’m sure as hell not going to repurchase them all. Of course I can just hold on to my old 2000, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of portability and convenience if I suddenly have to carry around two systems? Part of my disgust is the fact Sony has yet to comment any more about this when the system’s launch is so close. I think that’s pretty telling actually. I doubt they’ll do anything. They’ll position the Go as an alternate system until UMD’s and the old model are finally phased out somewhere down the road. You’ll be forced to hang onto your legacy hardware to play UMD games and be stuck re-buying all your games if you want to play them on the Go (pun not intended). Essentially, if you already have a PSP, you aren’t really the customer they’re aiming for.

Then there’s that 800-lb. Gorilla in the room, the Go’s price. Seriously, what is Sony thinking? For $50 more you can buy a PS3! If I didn’t have either system, I’d honestly be hard-pressed to choose the PSP over the PS3 even if it did have a lot of games that appealed to me. The PSP 3000 costs $80 less, will do most of the same things (given a large enough memory stick) plus lets you play all the legacy UMD titles you can buy cheaper in an actual store (new or used) than you can on the PSN. If they really want this thing to succeed, I just don’t understand why it’s priced so high. Even as a brand new PSP customer I couldn’t help but see the 3000 as a far better deal. Really, the only way I can recommend the Go over the 3000 is if you have money to burn, don’t want to deal with buying memory sticks or greatly prefer the new form factor. It’s ludicrous. Everyone seems to be holding their breath for a Go price drop before it launches, but I’ll be shocked if that happens. I don’t think they’ll drop it unless it sells like crap compared to the 3000.

Despite my bitching, I do think the PSP Go is a necessary upgrade for the PSP. Piracy is coming dangerously close to killing the platform so a closed, digital-only solution is a logical move. Like I said above, I enjoy having a library of games right on the system and by limiting PSP purchases to the PSN Store, Sony can keep close tabs on the software. Retailers however, will hate this for obvious reasons. They aim to lose the most from diminished software sales and as we’ve seen, some European retailers are already calling the Go a failure and refusing to stock it. Sony’s really put themselves in a precarious position with this thing and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Do I still want a Go? Yeah, I’ll admit it. I do. Chalk it up to that “gotta have it!” mentality I get with video games. Chances are I’ll even be buying PSP games off of PSN from now on since they still work fine on the previous models and if I do buy a Go, I can use them. Will I buy one at launch? Considering the price, the fact I’m broke right now and my wife would kill me, hell no. And if you’re planning to buy a PSP for the first time, I still think you should pick up the 3000 instead.

Where was I going with this? I don’t even know anymore, but I still love the PSP even if this dual-system strategy seems like a bad idea. That’s probably all that matters.

-Mark

p.s.–The digital distribution vs. physical copy of a game is an argument for another time. :-p

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Written by Mark Senger

Glenn’s second co-host on the podcast , Mark graced the airwaves from late 2007 to early 2010.

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  • bodath

    I would also chose the 3000 over the Go, with the size of MS PRO Duo at 16GB and 32GB round the corner, you have the best of both worlds. So far the only plus the Go has is the “Pause Game” mode.

  • sebastiandes0

    i've preordered the psp go.you know why? It's the reason that i play with my 3000 most of the time at home, because i dont want to drag around this cutie in a bag and i can't put this thing in any pocket and i don't believe in the safety of this bunch of safety bags you can buy for the psp. i like the system very much, but the most of the games available here are not so good. And i have the same problem like you: When i am around my house, i dont want to drag around all of this UMDs i own and don't want to take them with me, when i'm on tour with my band. its more portable than before. But to your costum firmware topic: i (still) hope Sony's working on a official way to do that for the PSPgo, cause i dont want to rebuy the games i've already own. it would be a disaster of sony to don't work on a solution and it would be a “wha the hell are you thinking, sony?” reaction if the don't think about the way, to put your existing UMDs on a go.

  • damikki

    Yeah I agree on the price being a bit steep, but it could be worse, I live in the UK and the price here is 225 pounds for comparison a new Slim PS3 costs 249. That said I really really want one, I'm all for the new smaller form factor and I'm interested in posiblilty of better battery life with the slightly smaller screen and no UMD drive.

    I wish it was cheaper because this my number one asspoint regarding the system. The second point being that as you said Sony is going to do nothing about the UMD's we already own.

    I have a third asspoint point, I import games from the US as we never get anything until it's translated into fuck knows how many european languauges first. This usually means we don't get any niche titles (all the ones I like). With the digital distribution method, I won't be able to get hold of imports as easily. Digital downloads from other regions might not even run at all : (

  • wv06

    I agree, the fact that it is 80$ more then psp 3000 and I cant play all my current PSP game is a deal breaker.

    Not to mention my 8gb and 4gb memory sticks are worthless with the go since they changed the add on memory format.

    To me a GO! should be 50$ less then a 3000 for me to consider it. I have a 2000 now and if i ever upgrade it will be to a 3000 or a 100$ cheaper go

  • BigC3

    Does this mean I have to record an Asspoint of the Mooooooooonth! tune? :p

  • zakupilot256

    I am saying “No” to PSPGO. Plus I doubt they will have a plan to put the UMD games on to the Go.

  • mikestrife

    As a collector I have to say no the the PSP Go as well.

    The price is crazy, and I will always want to own the UMDs (no matter how bad the format is with it's slow load times, and loud drive.) I just really like having the hard copies and love knowing that if my system breaks 10 years from now, I don't have to worry about losing all those games.

    I completely understand the appeal, but unless they offer some kind of buy the game and get a free download copy for the go deal like some bluray movies (which of course they won't), I can't see myself getting one.

    Finally, from what we've seen of digital downloads recently, gamers are going to get screwed on the price. With the exception of a couple PSP game downloads on the PSN, you can find a new copy for the same price (and WAY less for used). So the price gouging doesn't end with the system… for now anyways.

  • madeup6

    This thing may be cool. But it seriously needs a major price drop.

  • tury6

    Im getting the psp go the only thing im upset about is the games will not drop in price online.

  • Dehshizknight

    It depends primarily on who's the buyer. Some people like the convenience of the Go, some people like tangible media; that's why we have a choice.

  • MD

    I'm unsure yet 🙁

  • meteorfreak

    So there you have it… Europe is getting 4 free games when buying a PSPgo… the US you get nothing… that makes my decision very difficult… I really would like to get the go… but at $250 with no games to come with it… I might just stick to a 3000… of course the only reason I'm in this situation is because my wife lost her PSP… so I'll give her my 2000, and I'll get something new… I don't own but one downloadable game for the PSP… so I'd be spending $250+ to get the go and some games…. just don't think I want to drop that much on it… but… if I don't get it know I won't ever get one… stupid SCEA

  • http://kotaku.com/5367207/sony-nixes-plans-for-

    “We were evaluating a UMD conversion program, but due to legal and technical reasons we will not be offering the program at this time,” a Sony Computer Entertainment of America spokesman told Kotaku.

    Does this have any effect on your decision Mark?

  • meteorfreak

    Pissing people off going into the holiday season doesn't seem like a great PR plan… I was really planning on getting a go on launch day…. now I'm pretty certain I'm not… really no reason to… might as well wait for them to drop the price…

  • @ meteorfreak: So you think it'd still be worth a buy even though they're basically axing the idea of allowing you to get a digital copy of your UMD titles? I have a library of 40+ titles more than 2/3s of those titles are imports and I was really hoping for a way to rip those UMDs for use on my PSP-Go but I guess I'll have to stick with my CFW'd 2000 for that library and buy a 3000 for all the new releases that I bought but haven't played because they require OFW over 5.00 (Soul Calibur, Persona, Disgaea 2, Badman). Kinda lame IMO, I was hoping to have only one PSP and now I'm going to end up with two.

  • Anonymous

    well your situation is different from mine… I have about 10 games, and have solved most of them… so I would like a way to rip those games… but it’s not a priority… my beef is if SCEE is going to offer so many perks for customers to upgrade… and pay that premium… and reward them for being a loyal customer… why isn’t SCEA doing something similar… I like the new features on the go, like the form factor a lot more, and I have no problem with downloading my games. I’ll probably still end up getting it… looking to the future… but won’t be overly happy about it… tell I get some games for it… which won’t be on the same day I buy it… still up in the air though… will be a day of decision…

  • Hey Mark. I got a few comments.

    First of all I'm not an ass hat T_T. I had a phat that I got from my brother and I don't want to get rid of it. Then I bought a 2000 because I wanted the new features. Then I moved and was out of work for months on end and ended up poor and moving back in with my dad. During that time I hacked my PSP so that I could store the UMDs i own on my PSP. When I moved in with my dad I had to sell my PSP 2000 in order to afford LBP and then started working a near minimum wage job and I wasn't able to afford both PS3 and PSP games so I bootleg the PSP games until I can afford to actually pay 40 dollars for something I may or may not play. I'd rather just pay the extra 20 dollars and get trophies yo!

    It's not like I don't have my fair share of PSP games. I have like 20 something. I support the anti-hack steps Sony has been taking, and honestly I'd have bought a few Downloadable UMD Legacy titles off of the PS Store if the legit games I already bought actually worked on my PSP.

    If I had the money I'd definitely be all in for the digital distro as SOON as companies stop being asshats. I mean seriously Atlus you can't even include a digital artbook and digital soundtrack with the digital version of the game thats priced at the exact same price as the physical copy with physical cd and physical artbook?

    Honestly this is how supply and demand works. When i feel like I can buy my games at a fair price, and I can use those games, I will get rid of my custom firmware. The firmware is more trouble than it's worth but I can't afford the games as of yet.

    The reason why I originally wanted to keep my PSP hacked is because a lot of imports weren't coming over. Now they are, so all that's keeping me from going legit is money. So I wouldn't be able to support the PSP even if I didn't have a hacked one, and quite frankly I play Pokemon on my DS more than any other game.

    However depending on Nippon Ichi's sale next week i may end up buying a ton of digital games. So right now it's just a waiting game. Man I need a job bad.

  • Mark_PSNation

    Just remember, no matter how you try to condone it (can't afford it, corporations are evil, etc.) if you download a game you did not pay for, it's stealing. No if's, and's, or but's can ever make that legal. Even the famous “well, I wouldn't have bought anyway” argument is a bunch of BS. If you wouldn't have bought it, don't download it and don't effing play it. Companies still look at the numbers on torrent sites and whatever, you're just adding to the problem. Why do you think they abandoned the platform in droves? Software wasn't selling and they saw their hard work setting sail on pirate ships. We're just lucky PSP is getting another chance and 3rd parties haven't abandoned it completely.

    [gets off soapbox]

    Anyway, yes, I think it's crappy that SCEA isn't doing anything to entice people to switch to the GO. But like I said, existing customers aren't really the target for it. I think SCEA is aiming wholly for new users. I'm not surprised about the no UMD transfer statement, the legal issues behind a program like that must be insane.

  • Mark_PSNation

    Just remember, no matter how you try to condone it (can't afford it, corporations are evil, etc.) if you download a game you did not pay for, it's stealing. No if's, and's, or but's can ever make that legal. Even the famous “well, I wouldn't have bought anyway” argument is a bunch of BS. If you wouldn't have bought it, don't download it and don't effing play it. Companies still look at the numbers on torrent sites and whatever, you're just adding to the problem. Why do you think they abandoned the platform in droves? Software wasn't selling and they saw their hard work setting sail on pirate ships. We're just lucky PSP is getting another chance and 3rd parties haven't abandoned it completely.

    [gets off soapbox]

    Anyway, yes, I think it's crappy that SCEA isn't doing anything to entice people to switch to the GO. But like I said, existing customers aren't really the target for it. I think SCEA is aiming wholly for new users. I'm not surprised about the no UMD transfer statement, the legal issues behind a program like that must be insane.

  • Mark_PSNation

    Just remember, no matter how you try to condone it (can't afford it, corporations are evil, etc.) if you download a game you did not pay for, it's stealing. No if's, and's, or but's can ever make that legal. Even the famous “well, I wouldn't have bought anyway” argument is a bunch of BS. If you wouldn't have bought it, don't download it and don't effing play it. Companies still look at the numbers on torrent sites and whatever, you're just adding to the problem. Why do you think they abandoned the platform in droves? Software wasn't selling and they saw their hard work setting sail on pirate ships. We're just lucky PSP is getting another chance and 3rd parties haven't abandoned it completely.

    [gets off soapbox]

    Anyway, yes, I think it's crappy that SCEA isn't doing anything to entice people to switch to the GO. But like I said, existing customers aren't really the target for it. I think SCEA is aiming wholly for new users. I'm not surprised about the no UMD transfer statement, the legal issues behind a program like that must be insane.