E3 09: PSP Go revealed

After months of speculation, company denials and fan hopes, a new PSP has finally been leaked via Qore on the US PlayStation Network. Some questions have been answered immediately. It is not PSP 2. It does have a sliding screen. It doesn't have a UMD drive. By now you've probably read the news from our homepage and seen the images. But just in case, here it is again - the PSP Go. Have a look and see what you think.

Above: A highly unflattering press shot, complete with rippled face metal

You've probably come up with a few reservations - and to be fair, we probably had the same ones. But after a little thought, we reckon they're unfounded. Here's why:

Complaint: You can't play your old UMDs on it
We say: Although Sony's strategy is unknown at this time, it seems unlikely at first that there will be a method of transferring your UMD games to your PSP Go. However, we reckon the possibility is there. Perhaps you'll be able to do it via PS3, or maybe with a serial number sent to Sony.

Or perhaps you'll be able to rip a game from an old PSP onto a Memory Stick Duo using new PSP firmware, then transfer the file to a Memory Stick Micro on a PC, ready for use in your PSP Go. It's definitely possible.

And besides, we're ready for full digital distribution. It is the future.

Complaint: It looks like it's going to be hard to hold
We say: There has been much consternation on the internet so far regarding the position of the analog nub. Surely the weight distribution is going to make it impossible to hold with fingertips only? Well, actually that's not true. If it were as big and heavy as the existing PSP models, then yes this would be hopeless. But look how small it is when it's being held. It looks practically weightless, with buttons accessible by even the smallest thumbs. If you've ever played a Game Boy Advance SP, you'll be able to play this.

Complaint: It's still only got one analog nub
We say: This was sadly inevitable considering this is stillthe originalPSP at heart. Adding another stick would have been useless for existing software, and using it only for PSP Go-specific titles would alienate the existing userbase (although DSi's exclusive WarioWare camera game isn't available on DS Lite and nobody seems to mind that).

Looking at the picture, it seems the nub has more room to move around in this time, which will make gradual analog movement easier, so at least it's improved.

Complaint: It looks cheap
We say: We'll admit - the ripples in the faceplate of the PSP Go in the picture do not scream 'quality'. But, having seen the Qore video, it looks like that really was just a 'bad hair day' for the new machine. Seeing it in context, in a person's hands, it looks magnificent. Look at the video:

Complaint: The screen's smaller
We say: Tiny screens are beautiful. Ever played a GBA Micro? PSP's large screen can easily lose a cm or two and still look gorgeous. And if the screen resolution remains the same, this is only going to result in a sharper image. 3D games will look better as angular graphics will be that much less visible. In short, it's going to be the best PSP screen yet.

There will obviously be much more about PSP Go in Sony's conference tomorrow. But we're already really excited about it. The first one should have made our lives complete, but it didn't. We know not to get our expectations up too high these days (Sonic taught us that), but we can't help it when new hardware looks so irresistably sleek and sophisticated. Day one purchase, for us at least.

Have we put your mind at rest? Let us know your thoughts on the new model in the comments below.

01 June 2009

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine, Traxion.gg, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.