PSPGo reviews nail Sony on pricing

Sony's PSPGo, though a nice piece of hardware, is a raw deal for customers: the only way to buy games is online, from Sony, and the prices are jacked way up. Ars Techinca describes it in scathing terms.

Sony's new portable is nothing but raw deal after raw deal. The complaints are numerous, the slights against consumers are many, and the hardware is flawed. On top of these issues is a price point that's so high it seems like a sick joke ... a terrible, terrible deal for everyone except Sony.

Wired gives it 6/10.

Sony is betting that you like "new and shiny" more than you like "money and savings." ... There's a lot to like, but current-gen PSP owners looking to upgrade might feel Backdraft levels of burn. The PlayStation Store is the only way to get new games for the PSPgo, and your prized UMD collection can't be converted or ported over. Since re-buying your entire library of games isn't an option for most folks, you'll just have to hold on to your old PSP if you want to play that old copy of Lumines.

It gets worse. With classic Sony perversity, the PSPgo abandons the PSP's traditional mini-USB connector, so all of those accessories you've been collecting over the years will be useless with this new gadget.

CNET declines to rate it, offering instead a hand-wringing editors note. Make of it what you will. But CNET users give it two stars out of five:

Because we've yet to see what Sony will offer as far as PSP Minis or additional nongaming applications, it's hard to pass final judgment on the Go at this time. For now it's safe to say that this is a sexy gaming handheld that's got potential but is overpriced at $250.

Engadget likes the hardware:

Sony has done some great work here. It's a sturdy, classier game system ... Long-term you're still gonna be paying more for every retail game bought digitally instead of on disc. That last bit is something that should make first-time buyers take heed, as lack of legacy support on same-generation games and accessories isn't our biggest gripe here

Kotaku sums it up well: a good machine sold with a bad attitude:

Until Sony comes up with some system to transfer over all of those purchased UMD games I can't see current owners giving up their platform. The cost, both for the system and in terms of repurchasing games, is just too high. ... If you're new to the platform and don't mind the price, than definitely pick one up.

IGN likes it, but...

By limiting accessibility, Sony has made the user experience dangerously inconsistent and makes the value of such a device questionable.

Published by Rob Beschizza

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  1. As of now, the PSP Go has 3/5 stars on Amazon. It’s pretty polarized, 7 1-star, 8 5-star. And the first discussion, if you get down that far, as of now, has the title “Analyst: PSP Go is a rip-off” with close to 300 replies.

    From where I stand, the PSP Go is great if you have the money to pay for it and you AREN’T upgrading from a previous model. If you’re a previous PSP owner, it’s not at all worth upgrading to.

  2. Well, that’s one of the criticisms – although the PSP has been around for a while, with an ecosystem of devices and second-hand games vendors, the PSP Go gives everything that came before it the cold shoulder, and makes you pay full price for everything, forever, until the day you stop using it.

    Doesn’t seem worth it.

  3. This device is good for nothing other than lining the pocket of Sony with lots and lots of money. How?

    1. No more media. So no more manufacturing, no more shipping, distro, and warehousing. But they keep the games the same price. Sony banks.
    2. No resale market. Gamestop and their ilk are out of luck making money of these games. This means everyone buys new. Sony banks.
    3. Sony has total control of pricing. Unlike retailers, Sony is more than likely not going to run games on special or drop the price as quickly or with such discounts as the game gets older. Again, Sony banks.

    Like the Kindle, you have to buy into the ecosystem just as much as you’re buying into the device. And for $250, you’re a sucker.

  4. It’s $250!

    I just bought a 360 ELITE for $300 with a $50 mail-in rebate.

    You can get an iPhone 3G for $99.

    A kindle is $299

    A DSi is $170.

    A DS Lite ie $130.

    You would think that after making the mistake of pricing the PS3 so high that they wouldn’t do the same thing again with the PSP Go. But it’s a Catch-22 for Sony.

    Retailers usually sell consoles at small margins, and then sell games to really make money. It’s about blades, not razors. By selling games only online, retailers don’t get a cut of the blades. Therefore, in order to get retailers to stock the PSP Go, they had to put a significant retailer margin on there.

    Also, making it incompatible with previous accessories was probably intentional, as that also makes the retailers happy.

    If I were Sony, I would have had some balls. I would have sold the PSP Go without the crazy margin, but ignored retailers entirely. I would have just sold it online only.

  5. @Apreche

    An iPhone isn’t actually $99. Most of the cost of the iPhone is in the cell phone contract.

    I agree with your overall point though. Lots of pretty awesome tech can be had for a lot cheaper than the PSP Go. Actually, at $250, it’s within spitting distance of the cost of a PS3.

    The accessory incompatibility sucks. Nonstandard connectors are an abomination.

  6. This thing has, by design, never been targeted at PSP-3000 owners. It doesn’t care about them; Sony does, which is why they haven’t stopped making the 3000.

    The PSP Go is to the PSP what the Game Boy Micro was to the GBA: fewer features, less peripheral compatibility, extravagant price, added cachet.

    This is for people who thought the PSP-3000 was too _cheap_, who won’t buy a netbook unless it’s $800. Maybe even, dare I say, someone who only buys top-of-the-line Macs, only the day after a spec refresh, even though all they do on it could be done on a bottom-of-the-line Mini. They gave away their PSP four years ago and bought a new iPod, which they gave away to buy the original iPhone, etc.

    This is a totally different market that isn’t interested in function, and barely even form. Sony is gouging the ever-reliable indiscriminate subset of the early adopter group. None of the complaints expressed anywhere apply to them, and selling for $100 more than its worth, Sony doesn’t have to sell very many to feel fine about it.

    The people who buy this thing won’t likely even own it long enough, or be frugal enough, for petty things like secondhand game resales or their existing UMD collection to matter.

  7. @Apreche

    “Therefore, in order to get retailers to stock the PSP Go, they had to put a significant retailer margin on there.”

    As a retailer, I’ll share 2 important facts…

    1) the Go sells at “normal” margins. meaning, we pay about $242. we ring a $250 sale. net of shipping, we “bank” about $5. rest of your points about margin hold firm.

    2) we aren’t stocking any more than preorders.

  8. I’ve been posting comments on Sony’s blog about how they need to rethink their marketing strategy big time. I’ve never seen such a backlash for a gadget as I’ve seen on the PSPGo. The hardcore fans are not buying it.

    I think the PSP is an amazing piece of hardware, and even moreso if you put homebrew on it. Sony’s really, really good at product design. But they are really, really terrible at The Marketing Concept. They’ll figure that out after it’s too late, I’m afraid.

    On the plus side, their PS3 communication strategy is a lot better this time around. Too bad it took them 3 years to hit upon it.

  9. ginshirou, how many people do you think are in that market? I can almost guarantee it’s not enough to cover Sony’s R&D on the PSPGo, much less actually make them money.

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