What the PSP Go! needs to whack the DSi

A new PSP might be coming to a store near you by the fall. But will it provide all the features you would want to make you buy it over a DS?

PSP Go!
Artist's rendering of the PSP Go! 1up.com

A report from 1Up.com says the new version of the PSP will be hitting store shelves later this year. It will be announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.

1Up.com also says the new PSP will be called the PSP Go! It's slated for a September release in Japan, followed by a U.S. launch in October or November. The publication said that the Go! will sport slide-out controls. Those who were hoping for dual analog sticks will be upset to hear that the new PSP will presumably still feature a single analog nub. 1Up believes that the Go! will come in two versions: one with 8GB of internal memory and another with 16GB of memory.

Shockingly, 1Up sources told the publication that Sony will be dumping the UMD drive for digital downloads. Players looking to add titles to their handheld will be able to do so by buying games from an online store.

Sony has not confirmed 1Up's report. And it's likely that the company won't be saying much as we get closer to E3. But if the 1Up report is true, is it enough to force Nintendo from its top spot in the hand-held gaming space?

It's a tough call. While some in the industry believe that game downloads might be the future , it's still in its infancy. And there's a chance that current PSP owners will be turned off by the PSP Go! if Sony doesn't find a way to make UMD games work with its new hand-held.

We also shouldn't forget that there are many questions that have yet to be answered about the Go! What will it cost? How much of an improvement is it over the original PSP? Most importantly, why should we buy it?

Assuming 1Up's predictions are true, Pro Duo requirements are (finally!) gone, UMD is finished, and the Go! will have a slide-out control mechanism. On paper, that's not enough to make me want to buy one.

But if the PSP Go!'s graphical capabilities are superior to its predecessor, it's a good start. And if Sony reassures us that UMDs can be played on the handheld with a cheap accessory, it's made available for a reasonable price, and hundreds of games are offered at launch with titles dating back to the original PlayStation, I'll be intrigued. And I doubt I'm alone.

At this point, though, we just don't know what Sony is planning. But after using both the DS and the DSi , I can say that if the PSP Go! sports most (if not all) of the features 1Up and I have come up with, I don't see any reason why it can't hold its own in the space. It might not have dual screens, but superior graphics, a better display, and a store that makes finding and playing games much simpler than traveling to Gamestop, certainly counts for something. And a huge library of classic games won't hurt either.

I'm excited to see what Sony comes up with. It could revolutionize the industry. Who's with me?

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter stream, and FriendFeed.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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