Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the PSPgo is the first completely digital dedicated handheld gaming system. This means players need to connect to the Internet to obtain all of their gaming content, though they do not need to be connected to play. The device also comes with a simple web browser, allowing users to surf the Internet much as they would on a computer. Common Sense Media encourages parents to engage the system’s parental controls, which are password protected and have the ability to keep children from accessing both device features -- including Internet access -- and games based on their ESRB rating. Note, too, that that while the PSPgo is essentially just an upgraded PSP with the same graphics and controls offered by its predecessors, it lacks a UMD drive, rendering existing UMD games unplayable.
What's it about?
Sony’s new PSPgo isn’t a new gaming platform, but instead an upgraded version of the existing PSP. It has the same graphics potential, user interface, and controls. It’s about half the size and weight of the original PSP with a slightly smaller screen and a hidden control console that slides out from under the screen. These changes in form make the PSPgo the first model in the PSP family to be truly pocketable.
But the PSPgo’s greatest departure from its predecessors comes in how its users access game content. Sony has removed the traditional UMD optical drive and replaced it with 16GB of onboard flash memory. That means UMD-based games are unplayable on the PSPgo. Players will instead need to connect to the online PlayStation Store to purchase games -- or buy game codes from a retailer -- and then download them. Common Sense Media does not recommend unsupervised online activity for children under age 12.
Note that this system is not replacing existing PSP models, but instead acts as an alternative. All new PSP games will be made available in both digital and UMD format, which means PSP and PSPgo owners will both have access to the same content.
Is it any good?
As the PSPgo is an alternative model to existing PSPs and not a next-generation system, we are providing a list of pros and cons in comparison to older PSP models.
• Smaller, lighter, and more pocketable
• Doubles as a multimedia player (music and video)
• Games are downloadable, so you don't have to go to the store
• Adds Bluetooth connectivity, allowing players to connect headsets and play using a PlayStation 3 controller
• Parental controls allow parents to moderate the features and game content to which children have access
• Games are stored on the device rather than separate media, so they’re always available and cannot be lost
• Eliminates game packaging and manufacturing, making it more environmentally friendly
• Costs much more than older model PSPs ($249.99 vs. $169.99)
• Forces players to purchase their game content online
• Will not play games on UMD, rendering existing PSP game libraries useless
• Players cannot lend games to friends or trade them in
• Can take an hour or longer to download a 1GB game
• Has its own proprietary charger (can't use those that came with older model PSPs)
Online interaction: Players need to connect to the Internet to obtain all of their gaming
content, though they do not need to be connected to play. The device
also comes with a simple web browser, allowing users to surf the
Internet much as they would on a computer. Common Sense Media
encourages parents of young children to engage the system’s parental controls, which are
password protected and have the ability to keep children from accessing
both device features. Parents can also set the ESRB rating so that kids are limited to downloading games by the rating established by their parents.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether the lack of a UMD slot makes this system a non-starter for existing PSP owners who have amassed a large library of games. If you still play your older games, would you consider repurchasing them in digital form through Sony’s online store? Does that seem fair?