The UK High Street has expressed reservations over Sony’s PSPgo, but the platform holder has moved to reassure retailers that they still matter to its handheld business.
Play, HMV, ShopTo, CHIPS and Asda have all admitted to MCV that the machine’s digital-only model is a concern for them, and that PSPgo’s success could hinge on the console’s reportedly high price.
“From E3 we all thought that the PSPgo looked like a great new console at a size that makes it truly portable,” said HMV’s commercial manager for games Jonathan Hayes. “Our concerns are obviously with the non-retail model of downloading games.
“However even if Sony do give retail a solution there are still questions to be answered on the RRP which needs to be below £200.”
CHIPS joint-MD Don McCabe added: “Customer reaction to PSPgo is currently a no-go. I can’t see anybody going for it if Sony confirm a high price tag. If we get customers through the door we will sell it, but that remains to be seen.”
PSPgo is due for release on October 1st, with full launch details expected at Gamescom.
Despite their concerns, UK retailers have welcomed news that Sony remains committed to UMD releases for PSP 3000.
“Sony have been re-affirming the message of how important PSP is to them for some time now and I have no qualms about that,” said Play.com’s games buyer Keith Sharpe.
“There are a number of exciting things coming to fruition on the format and it feels like Sony are almost re-launching it. Potentially the next two years could be very good for PSP, especially with titles like GT5 and LittleBigPlanet on the way.”
ShopTo’s Igor Cipolletta added: “Despite the levels of piracy on the machine we still manage to do small business on the PSP and we’re thinking that the majority of our current users won’t upgrade to the new model. So we do hope that Sony keep their word and support boxed UMD product.”
A Sony spokesperson reiterated the company’s commitment to retail: “In terms of the 3000, we’re undertaking an unprecedented amount of activity throughout the summer and Christmas periods, highlighting the new range of colours, and for the first time in a long while, a range of first and third party software titles that really showcase the power and full potential of the PSP hardware.
“I’d argue that this commitment, from a marketing, sales and PR perspective, demonstrates our long term investment in the platform, and we see retail as a key part of these plans.”