first_imgToday Sony has confirmed yesterday’s rumor that the PSPgo is no longer being produced, and the stock in the retail chain is all that is left. The older PSP-3000 will continue to be made and sold, and is actually selling quite well.A lack of interest from gamers will likely mean PSPgo units remain on the market for some time, but we have to ask, why did the PSPgo fail so badly?The move to digital content is happening at an increasing pace. Music was the first to shift away from CDs and to MP3 downloads, and consumers haven’t looked back. Many (most?) people have dumped their CD collections for an iPod and a digital music library. Now movies, TV shows, and books are making the same transition, albeit at a slower pace.AdChoices广告Multiple video streaming services and digital copies of movies included with DVDs and Blu-rays are pushing digital video to the masses. For books, the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and increasingly tablets are supporting the move away from paper. Even in the video games arena there is a move to digital content. Games are supported by DLC, the iPhone relies on digitally transferred games completely, and Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all have full games on offer only in digital download form. But yet a piece of hardware from Sony relying completely on downloaded content was not successful.The reasons for this aren’t due to a fault of the hardware, but more Sony’s poor execution and judgement when marketing and releasing the device.The PSPgo was not a new generation of hardware. It was the same hardware repackaged without a disc drive. From the get go that had gamers asking questions. If you buy a PSPgo what happens to my UMD games? Why aren’t all existing games available for the PSPgo? And why is the device so expensive?All three of those are valid questions and put many gamers off buying the device from day one. Why spend that much money to get the equivalent hardware, but without the ability to play, or even buy all the existing PSP titles? Sony’s initial lack of information, or desire to offer any kind of incentive for those of us with tens of UMD titles just added to the reasons why we decided PSPgo wasn’t a good investment.That was Sony’s first mistake: not supporting the new hardware properly with a full back catalogue of titles and some form of incentive or trade-in scheme for UMD-based games. The second mistake was a complete disregard for the retail sector.When the PSPgo launched all retailers could sell was the device itself with a minimal profit margin. But what Sony may not have expected is retailers refusing to stock it. When you think about it, that made a lot of sense. On the one hand we had a PSP-3000 with hundreds of UMD games retailers could sell and profit from. On the other, there was this new PSPgo that if pushed at retail would see customers disappear as there were no physical games you could buy for it, and therefore no repeat business. No retailer is going to push the consumer away, so the handheld did not get promoted or in some cases wasn’t even stocked.A price too high, gamers with more questions than answers, and retailers not wanting to sell a device that removed potential revenue from their stores. All combined, it created a hardware platform that to this day remains unpopular compared to its disc-based equivalent the PSP-3000.Regardless of the mistakes Sony made, the company has to be commended for attempting to launch a digital-only portable gaming machine. It has clearly learned from those mistakes with the PSP 2 which reintroduces the physical game distribution model, but replaces a disc with a flash memory card. As Nintendo has shown, this offers games without long load times, without the battery drain disc drives come with, and still allows retailers to be involved and profit from a new format.The question now is, will Sony ever try to release a digital-only handheld again? I don’t think it’s a question of if, but rather of when? Apple has already proven that it can work with the iPhone and iPod touch combined with an App Store. The only difference is Sony’s historical reliance on dedicated retailers to sell its games and hardware.The other barrier for Sony is gamer’s expectation that it will release physical games because that is what it has always done. But that perception is changing as the PlayStation Network becomes an ever-more integral part of Sony’s hardware releases and consumers turn to digital downloads more and more. And with that being the cases, PSP 3 could well be the PSPgo all over again, but this time without the mistakes and a much more willing audience.last_img