Ok, so against my better nature, I stumped up for one of these on day one. The question is, was it worth it?
First of, I suppose it helps to make it clear where I'm coming from in terms of what I want from a handheld. I'm essentially a MAG (no, not Massive Action Game: Middle Age Gamer, well I'm 32 anyway...) I spend a good 10hrs a week commuting, so use my portable systems a lot.
Things PSP Go does well:
Some of the interesting things the psp go is doing, that I've not seen covered off so far are:
PS3 Controller Tethering
This could easily be a novelty, but I'm thinking this could make the psp go usefull when at home - i.e. you hook up video out to your tv, connect the ps3 controller and you can play games on TV like a normal console. You can still pair bluetooth headphones at the same time meaning you could do this with TV volume all the way down and the sound in your ears should you wish.
I must state, I don't have TV out cables though, so can't say all three definitely work together.
I've even spotted settings in the PS1 emulation menu's talking about how it would handle the analogue controls - was playing FFVII at the time, so couldn't really play around with this however.
Live "Pause" of Games
What I mean by this is that pressing the PS Home button now pops up two menu options: Pause Game, or Quit Game.
Selecting the Pause game option will cache a little save point (which you can re-access under the game menu on the xmb later on). Why is this handy? It means that if you are ever interrupted while playing something, but are nowhere near a save point (I'm sure you've ALL had that happen to you), you can use this feature. This means you can do anything you like - fully power down the console, go and watch videos / listen to mp3s, surf the internet, even play a different game should you wish, and then come back and pick up exactly where you left off.
I already use this when I commute, "Pause" the game just before my train stop, then I'm free to use the psp to play mp3s for the walk from the train to my office. But you could also be using this to queue up cool game moments you want to show a friend or something I suppose. A small feature, but it addresses one of my niggles with the previous PSP iterations - nice one Sony.
More sensible PSN Game Prices
I know this isn't really a PSP Go feature, but I'm really pleased to see Sony is setting the bar around the £23-£24 mark for a lot of the new titles (though I'm noticing some 3rd parties still value their software above the £30 mark (Need for Speed Shift, I'm talking to you here), which just means I wouldn't bother with them.
If you're going digital only, you need to appreciate what the used game market was doing for your sales - you sell more at a premium, because people know they can sell them on and get money back once they've taken their value out of them, and the reduced used prices lower the buy in point for other people who would not otherwise purchase.
With digital, you need to know the game you're looking at is something that's worth what you're asking for it, and is something you'd be happy to keep playing for the forseeable future. Lowering the initial price means you sell more copies directly, and the good chance is you'll still be making more in sales that you are on the physical media anyway.
Ok, I touched on it above, but one of the main deciding factors for me in moving to the Go was Bluetooth. I use bluetooth headphones with my iPod, and generally am not a massive fan of those moments when you garrotte yourself with headphone wires while commuting (which often ends up in you flailing around like you would when you've just walked through a spider's web). I'd thought about getting a 3.5 jack bluetooth adaptor for a brief moment, then realised the processing time to convert audio to a bluetooth signal would be awful (and I'm bad enough at Patapon to begin with).
The addition of bluetooth is another excellent move, but that now means I'm also on a countdown until I buy a set of the Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800. But such is life.
Mobile Phone Tethering
- You can also use the bluetooth to patch your psp to a 3g enabled mobile phone. I'm guessing (subject to data allowances) you can now get into the PSN wherever you are, meaning you can make purchases while out and about, but not near anywhere with wifi access. PSP Mini's anyone? Again, another small but nice touch.
The Not so Good:
I knew that the smaller screen on the Go was as much about balancing battery life as it was the overall form factor, but I managed to burn through a full charge after a few hours play last night while I had my bt headphones paired. I'll have to see how this goes I suppose, but realistically it should see me through a day of use so it's ok really.
Ok, maybe I just don't get it yet - I'm new to Media Go - but I didn't find this to be the easy solution Sony says it is. Number one gripe if that on installing the software from the disc in the PSP Go's box, I had to install an update from the internet which said it was allowing Media Go to work with the PSP Go. Then when I tried to download some of my previous titles from the PSN I had to quit the lot and install "a new downloader". In practice this meant quitting the software and downloading a full new version of Media Go from the Playstation Europe store. At which point I was wondering why Sony had bothered incurring the expense of putting the CD in the retail box in the first place. It would make more sense for them to just take the Apple route and do dowload only of the most recent software.
Installation issues aside, I still just didn't imediately see how the software was going to pair and sync with the PSP. I plugged it in, and it popped up, but in the end I found it much easier for me to add mp3s / mp4s directly into the system folders:
This works exactly the way the previous psp memory sticks did. Windows explorer recognises the storage on the PSP Go as a regular removable storage device allowing you to drag and drop as you please.
I must say that PSN downloaded titles I dragged and dropped would not activate for security mismatches even though they all related to my same PSN account and had been paired with the same PS3 unit.
I'm sure a bit of practice would make Media Go perfectly useable, but I think I'll either be using my PS3, or the PSP directly for my downloads (I've got more HD space on my PS3 anyway after bunging a 320gb unit in there).
Ok, that was about 1000 words longer than planned, has anyone else got any observations?
Oh, the new analogue stick actually feels really nice too btw.