I know that the Japanese market is not the end-all-be-all barometer when it comes to videogame sales data, however the continued abysmal numbers for the PSPgo are worth noting. The Sixth Axis just posted some data for July.
Across the month the Wii beat the PS3 (89,899 vs. 77,315), the DSs beat the PSPs (202,082 vs. 108,695) and the PS2 continued to beat the PSPgo (6,134 vs. 4,056). Overall shares of the month’s hardware unit sales are little changed from June with Nintendo stealing a percentage point from both Sony and Microsoft. Out of the 509,108 consoles sold Nintendo accounted for 57% (291,981), Sony 38% (192,144) and Microsoft 5% (24,983).
I don’t think anyone is surprised with the continued success of the DS over the PSP; same for the Wii over the PS3. Was anyone really expecting the PSPgo to be a complete failure? I don’t think this is just a case of consumers wanting physical media (UMDs) over digital downloads. So what is wrong with the PSPgo?
- Overly expensive hardware: I am not sure about in Japan, but $222 (discounted from $249 on Amazon) is still $100 too much.
- Inadequate digital library: The selection of game available for digital downloads is vastly inferior to physical UMD products. In other words, all UMD products are not available on the PlayStation Store.
- Digital library price relief: In some cases the UMD counterpart to a digital download actually cost less. Why? There are no traditional distribution costs, no physical manufacturing costs for the product (case, UMD, manual). Ridiculous.
- No upgrade path: Sony has decided not to provide a UMD to digital format trade-in program or otherwise provide some mechanism to convert UMDs to digital format for the PSPgo.
I could probably go on, but I think Sony screwed the pooch with the PSPgo. I am guessing that Sony will try to continue to play up the PSPgo, but until they come out for the next PSP (PSP2, PSP Phone, whatever), Sony is probably better off offering incremental improvements with a PSP-4000 at an enticing price in over to keep in the handheld game.