There's also the ability to tether the Go to a Bluetooth-enabled phone. That would potentially allow Web browsing and online gaming via a tethered phone with a 3G data connection when Wi-Fi access isn't available. Another possibility (though pure supposition) is that you could pair a Bluetooth-enabled PlayStation 3 controller with the Go.
At Sony's press conference, the company confirmed new PSP versions of many of its most popular franchises. Notable titles -- many of which will be released in 2009 -- include LittleBigPlanet, Gran Turismo, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, MotorStorm Arctic Edge, and SOCOM Fire Team Bravo 3. The first Resident Evil game for the PSP is scheduled to appear next year as well.
PSP games will be available for download directly from the PlayStation Store over the console's Wi-Fi connection. In addition to direct download, Sony says that 'all' new PSP games will continue to be available on UMD, too. We have to wonder how long that'll last, given that the company seems to be embracing digital-only distribution on titles such as Patapon 2. But, since older PSPs can also access and play download-only titles, the eventual death of UMD shouldn't make them obsolete.
Digital media support
The Go boasts the same support for music, video and photo files as earlier PSPs, so you should have no trouble transferring gigabytes of media from a PC or via the M2 flash media card. Downloadable movies and TV shows can be purchased directly from the PlayStation Store over Wi-Fi -- there's no more need to use a PS3 or PC as an intermediary. Despite early rumours of a PSP-centric music store, Sony's instead opted for a partnership with eMusic. In other words, users can purchase DRM-free tracks from any online music store (Amazon, iTunes, eMusic and so forth) and simply copy them over to the PSP.
Sony will be releasing software called Media Go to help users manage the PSP's content on their PC. This replaces the older, and not terribly useful, Sony Media Manager software. The company is also promising a feature called 'Sense Me' that will analyse your music library to play music based on the mood that you choose.
Again, it appears that the existing interoperability between the PS3 and the PSP line will be carried over to the Go. That includes the ability to cross-load some games and media, as well as the remote play option that allows you to access PS3-based content from the PSP over the Internet.
We're hoping to get more details on the Go in the weeks and months ahead. Chief among our unanswered questions are: does the Go support video out like the 3000? What's the battery life like? Does the screen have the same weird interlacing issues that bothered some users of the 3000?
Is it worth waiting for?
The PSP Go isn't the PSP 2, to be sure -- it's more like the PSP 1.5. Like Nintendo's done with the DSi, Sony is extending (and, it hopes, revitalising) a portable platform that's sold tens of millions of units worldwide. Considering that this is an evolutionary product -- the only real appeal is the smaller form factor -- the high price is certainly going to be a barrier for those who already own and enjoy a PSP.
On the other hand, owners of the older and heavier PSP 1000 and 2000 may find the Go to be the upgrade they've been waiting for. The PSP 3000, currently £140, will stay on the market, incidentally. But, with the DSi and iPhone/iPod touch competing for the time -- and pockets -- of casual gamers, the ultimate deciding factor may be the quality and desirability of the Go's games.
Additional editing by Nick Hide and Charles Kloet