Thursday, June 11, 2015

Perceived Value

Those of you watching my Twitter account will know that I recently bought a PSP Go from eBay for about $25, give or take a five dollar power cable I had to purchase separately. This micronized version of Sony's first handheld game system wasn't well received when it was first released in late 2009, thanks to an eye-watering retail price.

It's pretty good! Just not $250 good.
At $250, it would be hard to recommend the PSP Go to anyone with a budget and an ounce of common sense. At one-tenth the price, however, the system becomes a lot more compelling. I've paid more than that for Game & Watch systems back in the 1980s, and this is capable of so much more. After hacking the Go with custom firmware, I've got it running not only PSP games, but software for a handful of other systems as well. While it hasn't topped the PSP-3000 as my favorite model of the console, the PSP Go is more convenient thanks to its compact size and sliding display. Waking it up from standby is as simple as flipping up the screen. When you're done, slide the screen back down and the cross bar icons are swept away, replaced with a handy clock.

Another memory card format?
Seriously, Sony?
Speaking of handy, the PSP Go has its own built in storage. While the machine has support for memory cards, you'll never need to buy one because the 16 gigs of internal storage offers plenty of room for games. It's a good thing too, because in that grand Sony tradition, the PSP Go uses a proprietary memory card that's incompatible with previous PSP models and frustratingly expensive besides.

Look, I completely understand why people didn't like the PSP Go. At its original price, I wouldn't have touched it either. However, it's a cleverly designed little machine that improves drastically once it's been hacked. It's just hard to see this when you've been blinded by sticker shock.


  1. Well, I certainly can't disagree with anything you've said here. Of course, I also haven't actually used or even held a PSPgo yet, so how could I disagree with you (or agree with you, for that matter)?

    Seriously, though, I've always found the PSPgo's design appealing. That alone made me want one around the time of its release. What stopped me from going ahead with the purchase, though, was the fact that it doesn't play UMDs. That's a big deal to me because I pretty much don't own any digital PSP games. Nearly all of my PSP games (and I now own quite a few of them!) are UMDs. Oh, well.

    Still, I'm glad you nabbed one for just $25. What a steal!

    1. Well, there are ways around the UMD problem if you know where to look. I bought four UMD games at GameStop a few days ago. All but one of them are on my Go right now, because the ISO files are readily available online.

      Nevertheless, if you're not willing to go to the trouble of hacking the system, it probably wouldn't be worth your time. Once the Go loses its new toy smell, I'll likely go back to the PSP-3000, with its larger display and less cramped controls. Still, it's so small... and cute! It might take a while for the novelty to wear off.