PSP Go!

According to 1UP.com, a new PSP is underway and will drop the UMD format and gain an internal flash drive. Still no second analog stick though. It will be first shown to gaming industry folks in this year’s E3 conference in Los Angeles.

The PSP Go also known as the PSP-4000 is a major update to the handheld and will be released in Japan in September. North American fans will have to wait until November. With the loss of the UMD drive, it is also expected that Sony will unveil in Playstation Network store with 100 PSP games ready for download.

The public hasn’t been kind to the PSP over the years. After a hotly anticipated launch in 2005, the price of the handheld and quality of games pretty much held back its growth compared to that of the Nintendo DS. The PSP was almost left for dead until recently where a revamped game lineup and a lower price tag is giving life back to this once promising console.

The past year hasn’t been that good to Sony. The PS3 is getting it’s sales figures kicked by the Wii and the Xbox in North America while the PSP is almost holding it’s own against the DS in Japan but it now has to compete with the iPhone/iPod touch in the handheld gaming landscape. Piracy of the console is quite high. Maybe it is time to release a new PSP.

This PSP cannot be like the ones released in the past 12 months. They were just lighter, video out, built in microphone and so on. But not really a big jump from the original model. Which is why I’m still using the same PSP I bought four years ago compared to when the DS Lite came out which I got right off the bat. I hate the UMD format. It breaks easily and there’s no cover for the part where the disc is going to be read. The UMD is worst kind of portable medium ever created. It’s something you buy and give to your child.

This new PSP in my opinion is pretty much a risk for Sony. They are releasing a new handheld in depressed economic situation, dropping of the UMD (even though is a good thing), and no backward compatibility. Unless they plan on an exchange program for you to trade in your UMDs for a downloadable version or an add on for us early adopters to play these games. There must be something big under the hood of the new PSP for me to drop my soon to be legacy version for this one.

Rumor puts this announcement in E3 to be held in the summer.

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