The Future of Videogame Systems: PSPgo!

The Appetizer

Sony announced  the launch of PSPgo, a new evolution of their handheld entertainment system, PSP.  There is a major change in the design of the system, having a slide-up screen, similar to many of the qwerty-keyboard-type smartphones that hide the alphabet keys underneath the screen– but that’s not why the PSPgo is being mentioned here.  The reason it is being mentioned is because of Sony’s rather bold choice (which I do applaud by the way) of eliminating the system’s use of ANY– I repeat ANY– physical game cartridges  All of their games are now only available by download.

The Main Course

The Dessert:

This is bold and very risky, but a very smart and important development.  This is the first major console system maker to rely soley on  digital downloadable games (unless you include Mac’s Iphone/Itouch as part of this group).  The initial result is the same as the PS2 downloadable service on PS3– with backwards compatiability eliminated, any games you liked on the PSP that you owned will have to be purchased again.  But that’s just the beginning. If you read my article about the PS2 downloadable  service for PS3, then you know about the potential of cross platform purchases for digital games.  As always, this is just scraping the surface because with that said, let us say, hypothetically, that a game is created that is compatible for both the PSP and PS3, and is an online based game.  With both systems being connected to the same network, what would stop the creators of the game in question from NOT allowing users on the PSP and on the PS3 to play with/against each other?  Let’s go further than this…PSPgo enables its users to connect the system to a tv via video output cables AND connect to a PS3 controller wirelessly. Knowing that this system can handle PS2 games, now that they’re downloadable- do you see the possibilities with this?  You basically have a travel-ready version of your PS2 system, and the ability to play your PSP games as if they were on a traditional-sized system versus a portable.  Take it further- as of press, PS3 is offerring PS3 quality games as downloads alongside their old system games.  From a business standpoint, it decreases the expenses incurred by publishers for the casing and insruction manuals, and it also raises another question that all of the digital downloading is starting to slowly trigger to companies such as Gamestop and Best Buy– where does that leave them?  Like with the hit the music industry received once online music stores like Itunes caught on with the industry, the purchase of physical discs dramatically decreased, as well as their profits.  With Sony’s push for strictly digital downloadable games that users can access at any point in time as long as they have a wireless access point, why would any person need to go into a store such as Gamestop or Best Buy?  The bigger picture– what if this is just a sign of how Sony and the other major players such as Microsoft and Nintendo intend to release their games for all of their systems in the future– digitally and through their own stores that are immediately accessible to their users?  If they follow a similar business model– eliminating backwards compatibility (something that both currently Microsoft and Nintendo offer), then what happens to all of those physical games?  The real test will be to see how successful the PSPgo is with consumers, and financially for Sony.

The Overall Meal

5 Stars!

The Doggybag

Do you think a system that uses no game cartridges is too soon, or just in time?

Please place your response below.

Let the convos begin!

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