Why do Sony NEED to give away PSPgo games?
Sony will soon implement a scheme whereby anyone who registered their PSPgo after 1 April 2010 will be able to grab themselves (or digitally grab them, at least. Digi-grab) ten games for the system. Now they’re not just talking the off-cuts of the PSP’s catalogue, a bunch of minis or some other rubbish you just don’t want, no. While the full list isn’t yet available, names mentioned in an MCV article include the likes of LittleBigPlanet, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Gran Turismo and the really-very-new FIFA World Cup 2010. Which is a good thing, right? Right.
But does this mean the PSPgo is now a system worth buying? You get ten free games, and even if I was to artificially knock their prices down to today’s standards you’re still looking at £100+ of free stuff. This is undoubtedly a Very Good Thing. But I can’t help but be suspicious of Sony for even feeling they have to offer this package – we all know the PSPgo hasn’t sold very well and I’m pretty sure I know why that is: it’s too expensive and the digital-only system actively limits what PSP games you can and can’t have.
Buying into a PSPgo, even with ten free games, is an interesting situation to get yourself into. If you find you don’t like any of the games, there’s no returning or swapping them. If you play through them and decide you want to use them to help fund the purchase of another game via trade-in or eBay sales, you can’t. You’re stuck with what you have. And you’re stuck with how you have to purchase new games, with only the PSN available for your shopping spree – and the less said about the hilarious pricing of new games on there, the better. Why a game that doesn’t need to factor in packaging and distribution costs or the mark-up a shop puts on its price to make some profit costs more than a shop-bought copy of a UMD-based PSP game we will never be able to understand.
But maybe Sony will get their act together – I believe there’s an ad campaign to launch around the time of this promotion, so the increased focus the company are putting on the console could mean a change in strategy when it comes to the games. Could. Maybe. Possibly. I don’t know. I just hope I’m right, because £32 for Chinatown Wars when it came out – when you could buy it from any number of retailers on UMD for £20 – was an absolute joke. No wonder Sony have to give away free games.