Ooh err! We’ve seen disappointing console launches before, but when shops say they’re not going to stock a new machine before it’s even out, you know you’re in problems. And that’s exactly what’s happening in Australia and Holland with the forthcoming PSP Go.
First off, Eurogamer revealed that Nedgame, Holland’s largest gaming chain, were refusing to stock the forthcoming handheld, and rumours are swirling that they’re not the only Dutch chain to do so. Then whispers started that something similar might happen in Spain. And then Kotaku discovered that EB Games, Australia’s largest gaming retailer, wouldn’t be stocking the machine either.
Why? Well, Nedgame’s first reply was that the price of €249.99 – €80 more than the PSP-3000 – wasn’t justified by what the console offered. But it seems the main reason is that the PSP Go is a download-only machine. No physical software to buy means the loss of game retailers’ largest profit generator. And games are tied to PSN accounts, meaning that the thriving second-hand market suddenly doesn’t exist any more.
Michael Pachter, analyst for investor Wedbush Morgan Securities, talked to Eurogamer, calling the situation “ridiculous”.
“It’s just silly for a retailer to say that they won’t sell a big ticket gaming device because they can’t sell the games,” he said.
“Consumer electronics stores sell refrigerators and not food, everyone sells iPods and not the music for them; this position is just ridiculous.”
Igor Cipoletta, head of ShopTo, said that while his site will be offering the machine, they won’t be pushing for sales, as he expects it to flop.
“I have the feeling that as a format it is almost dead before it has arrived, and it relies far too heavily on a customer base that is prepared to pay more for download content than the equivalent disc based product, and I suspect this market will soon dry up based on the technical limitations of the hardware,” he told Eurogamer.
At any rate, the PSP Go is out on October 1 for £224.99, so we can but wait and see what happens.