Let me preface by saying that, while I do not consider myself a video game buff, I am the proud owner of a Sony Playstation 3 (used both for Blu Ray and infrequent gaming). It is important to say this because my remarks about the PSP Go - Sony's latest version of their portable gaming device - are neither rooted in a dislike for the hardware nor the for the gaming content.
Simply put, the PSP Go is entering the market at a time dominated by mobile devices. Its two core usages are for gaming (leveraging Sony's content and game developers) and high quality video. But unless Sony's device is staggeringly better than what can be done on the iPhone (and others like the Palm Pre), users will not:
- carry another, heftier device - pay premiums for content and titles - change their viewing habits (how much better would video need to be to turn in your iPhone or iPod Touch for another small viewing screen?)
Perhaps if the Sony Go was introduced two years ago, it could have won market share during a time when consumers did not believe everything (work, phone, gaming and video) could be done in a single device. But today - we know it is possible and we know that the trend will continue:
- devices are getting better - gaming content is dramatically improving (just look at Zynga) - major gaming titles and developers are focusing their attention on mobile (currently the primary reason for gamers to want a PSP Go) - in the near-term economic climate, users appear willing to sacrifice quality for pricing (ie a <$10 game via the App Store vs. a $40 Sony title) - Apple and others are opening up to allow peripheral development / integration... which could significantly enhance gaming quality