Way back in the fall of 2009 Sony introduced the PSP Go. Before releasing the system, they touted the all-digital system based on the appealing physical form, the removal of the slow & noisy UMD drive, the ease of using the PSN store, and the new PSP Mini games. With the rumored UMD-to-PSN trade-in system, the system looked appealing despite being much more expensive than the PSP-3000.
But then suddenly, shortly before the system launched, Sony killed any sort of ‘UMD to PSN’ transition system, killed any pack-in games for North America, confirmed that many games wouldn’t arrive at the same time in digital as retail UMD, and basically solidified the system as a really poor value.
Over the last several months it has become clear that not only is the PSP Go an abysmal failure, it has led the PSP into the abyss with double-digit year over year sales and market share losses. The PSP library is growing slower than ever, PSP Minis still come out but are very much a tiny niche market, and there is no compelling reason to buy a new PSP.
Of course, now Sony wants us to believe that the PSP Go was not in fact a new product launch that they were hoping would be a major success, but was instead ‘a test’.
SCEE president says UMD-free handheld was a test of consumer behavior, saying:
“One of the reasons we launched PSPgo was to understand where that consumer behaviour was going. We were getting signals from consumers that this was the kind of device that they wanted. But we need to recognise that consumers like their packaged media library.”
As for the abysmal sales and general tanking of the platform?
“It was introduced in a mature lifecycle to learn more about what the consumer wanted and we’ve definitely learnt a lot.
“Is that measured by success in sales? I don’t think it is.
Of course, this IS Sony, so we already know how they view the world and their customers … and I am sure that the subtext to these statements was that they over-estimated the customer’s sophistication.
As a reminder of how Sony views customers we consult the web comic: