Update (June 2, 2009, 2:25pm PT): We have an updated first take of the PSP Go, based on Sony's official announcement.
Details of Sony's new PSP Go have leaked ahead of the company's Tuesday press conference in a big way, with photos and videos now widely circulating on the Internet. And while we don't yet have a comprehensive list of the new PSP's feature list, the leaked info gives us a pretty good idea of what we can expect--including hints of several new games.
The leaked Qore video is embedded below. Host Veronica Belmont talks to John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, about the forthcoming PSP Go. (Note: The audio is out of sync and exhibits a buzz, but it's watchable enough--though we wouldn't be surprised to see it pulled off YouTube soon.)
From the video, here's what we can glean so far:
Form factor: The PSP Go has a 3.8-inch wide screen (versus 4.3-inch on all previous PSP models). It's said to be 43 percent lighter than the PSP 3000, which means it would tip the scales at about 3.8 ounces. The PSP Go design is very reminiscent of the Sony Mylo--the screen slides up to reveal the controls.
Storage: The Go will offer 16GB of built-in flash memory, and it's expandable via a Memory Stick Micro slot. There is no UMD (Universal Media Disc) drive on the PSP Go. While that no doubt allows for the smaller size (and, we hope, the potential for better battery life), it also means there's no way to play existing PSP software you might own on the PSP Go.
Controls: While the layout may be different, the control scheme on the PSP Go looks to be little changed from earlier PSP models: a 4-way d-pad on the left, the standard quartet of geometrically coded Sony controls (circle, square, cross, triangle) on the right, select/start buttons in the center, and the PlayStation "home" button to the left of the screen.
A second analog control is always at or near the top of wish lists for PSP redesigns, so its absence is all but certain to get a thumbs-down from gamers. The single stick's placement--closer to the center of the control deck rather than the outside right, where it sits on earlier PSPs--could also be problematic. (That said, the Go control layout is more closely aligned to that of a traditional full-size PlayStation controller.)
None of the leaked info mentions touch-screen support, leading us to assume that the feature is not present on the PSP Go.
Wireless: In addition to certain Wi-Fi support, the PSP Go adds Bluetooth capability to the Sony handheld platform for the first time. In addition to support for standard Bluetooth headsets (and, presumably, A2DP headphones and speakers), Koller also specifies the ability to tether the PSP Go to a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone. The advantage of that isn't highlighted, but that would potentially allow Web browsing and online gaming via a tethered phone with a 3G data connection (when Wi-Fi access wasn't available).
Games: On the leaked Qore video, Koller specifically mentions PSP versions of Little Big Planet, Jak and Daxter, Gran Turismo, and "a new Metal Gear Solid." Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier had been previously announced and a PSP Gran Turismo was originally shown off way back at E3 2004. A PSP-optimized Little Big Planet has been all but confirmed, and a new MGS game will likely be welcomed with open arms (assuming it's more like the action-packed Portable Ops and less like the bizarre Metal Gear Acid).
Koller also emphasizes casual games in the interview, implying that Sony would like to see the PSP platform become home to shorter, simpler "pick up and play" games that can be downloaded from the PlayStation Store on a whim.
As for the downloadable titles: a wide selection already exists on the PlayStation Store for existing PSP owners, and it's long been clear that Sony has been moving away from UMD. The recent high-profile Patapon 2 game, for instance, is download-only.
Digital media support: Presumably, the Go will have at least the same baseline media features as the existing PSP models, which includes ample support for music, video, and photo files. Koller also mentions downloadable movies and TV shows (already available for purchase from Sony's existing iTunes-like PlayStation Store). Despite rumors of a downloadable music store, an online music option is notably not mentioned.
PS3 integration: Again, it appears that the existing interoperability between the PS3 and the PSP line will be carried over to the PSP Go. That includes the ability to cross-load some games and media, as well as the Remote Play option (access PS3-based content from the PSP over the Internet).
Price and availability: Koller says that it's coming in the fall of 2009; price isn't specified. He also confirms that the PSP 3000 will stay on the market concurrently. That, at least, is comfort for those of us who like to buy cheap used UMD-based PSP games, which are widely available.
Final thought: It's worth pointing out that the earlier leaks on this product--right down to the name--have been remarkably accurate.
But I'm more interested in what you think. Share your initial thoughts on the PSP Go in the comments below.