Ask me what the best videogame console of all time is. Go ahead. Just ask.
It's the PlayStation 2 - hands down. I suppose a solid argument could be made for the Super Nintendo, NES, or the classic Atari 2600, but for a variety of reasons, I think Sony's absolutely superior console topped them all with room to spare. There's a good reason that after almost nine years on the market, major publishers are still releasing key franchise games on the system. It's a monster, a high watermark in home videogames.
For the life of me, I don't understand how they could have screw it all up so badly in such a short time.
I don't offer my PS2 love as some kind of evidence that the following opinion is objective and unbiased. It's not. It's chock full o' bias, a seething frustration at Sony Computer Entertainment that, to my mind, has engaged in a scorched earth retail strategy of endless error that has been matched only by their absolute arrogance. And, with the recent announcement of the PSP Go I can only conclude that they've learned nothing.
I'm a big fan of digitally provided gaming, so my beef with the new PSP is not a fundamental one. I know that for some people there is a genuine concern about the growing shift away from physical media, and there is no question that Sony has an eye toward marginalizing the continued growth of the used games market. I don't blame them in the least for making a compelling business decision like that.
But, in a return to form that harkens back to the PS3 launch, Sony seems completely oblivious to the fact that humans have an aversion to giving up one thing without getting another. You would imagine that a hemorrhaging loss of market share would have finally convinced the bullheaded company that there is a correlation between price point and sales, but the reveal of the PSP Go is a study in 1999 mentality applied to a 2009 market.
I realize the natural enemy for the PSP in the wild is considered to be the Nintendo DS, but I think that has become a gross short sightedness. Aside from the fact that I don't think the new PSP has equipped a proper strategy to make any kind of dent in Nintendo's historic dominance of portable devices, nor has it made a compelling case to build a new market, the real threat is actually the growing dominance of Apple in the market. Between the iPhone and iPod Touch, remaining market share to be had is being gobbled up by a far more savvy competitor.
What's interesting here is that both the PSP Go and the iPhone suffer from a massive price point barrier to entry, yet where Apple succeeds I suggest Sony is poised to fail. Again.
While everyone is legitimately up in arms about Sony's announced $250 cost ($350 in Europe) for the PSP Go, it is in reality a roughly equivalent price to the iTouch and iPhone without the additional headache of a cell phone plan or 2 year contract. So, what's the difference? Both are advanced media players. Both provide a purely digital and on-the-go experience. Both provide compact convenience with a nice aesthetic. Why shouldn't people be expected to cough up fewer than a trio of Benjamins for a better game player when the iPhone is so popular in a tough economic climate?