PSP Go launch has become a nightmare for gamers, Sony

Sony logoSony's DRM hurts the free-game program given to European PSP Go buyers, and a Sony exec explains why the UMD exchange program has been scrapped. The company is still insisting that it plans to take care of its loyal customers, but the PSP Go's early days have been nothing short of a disaster.

Managing a download-only console may prove harder than Sony first imagined. If you are a European customer who purchased a PSP Go, you were given a voucher for your choice of three games. The problem is that many gamers use their PlayStation 3 to download PSP content, and Sony locked the downloads down to whatever system customers use to grab the content. That means that if you used your PlayStation 3 to download the games, you're out of luck. This isn't the only issue to hinder the PSP Go's momentum.

Gamers are complaining about this issue on the official PlayStation boards, and Sony released a statement about the problem. The solution? There isn't one. A community team member had this to say, "If you download your games to your PS3 first and then attempt to copy the game across to your PSPgo via USB cable you will receive [an] error. We're still investigating this error, so for the moment if you have not yet redeemed your voucher, please redeem and download your games via your PSPgo only. We're still coming up with a solution for those who have redeemed the voucher and are now receiving the error message, and we'll update you as soon as we have a solution for you."

What's amazing about this is the problem only effects Sony's most valuable customers: early PSP Go adopters who already own a PS3. Instead of rewarding the behavior the company has tried to encourage—sharing content between the systems—gamers are left with free games they can't play, and no timeline for a solution.

Unfortunately, this is not the only problem plaguing the PSP Go.

The phantom UMD trade-in program

Back at E3, when we first played with the PSP Go, we were assured that there would be a program where gamers could get some use out of their existing UMDs if they upgraded into the PSP Go. "It doesn't make sense to leave [PSP owners] behind. We're going to have a program put into place that will allow that person to become part of the digital lifestyle. We'll have details closer to launch," Sony's director of hardware marketing John Koller assured us.

Now the system has launched, and Sony has admitted there is no plan to allow customers to trade in their existing games for downloads. Although we were told that by launch we'd know what we could do with our UMDs, everyone was hoping the answer wasn't going to be "sell them to GameStop." So what happened?

"There weren't digital rights secured for all of this stuff, at no cost," SCEA director of PlayStation network operations Eric Lempel told Joystiq. "So, [there are] lots of legal issues we'd have to get through to get a lot of content cleared. And also, we'd have to protect that content. So, with a good technical process so you can't pass around the UMD or do something else with it."

The problems couldn't have been new as Sony explored distribution as they developed the PSP Go, nor are they surprising, so why did the talk of a trade-in program ever begin?

"On the loyalty side, we do lots of things for our loyal users," Lempel claimed. But that claim doesn't really hold water. Sony promised a UMD program that never surfaced. It reworked the cabling and power system for the PSP Go to make sure none of your existing peripherals would be able to work on the system. The Pro Duo memory sticks used in the PSP, which is a Sony standard, have been ditched. Players will need to buy an M2 Micro card for the PSP Go if they would like to expand their storage. The M2 is, of course, another Sony standard.

Looks like it's time to rebuy your memory sticks as well.

In terms of taking care of their loyal customers, Sony has locked down the PSP Go with all new media and standards; every customer, no matter what other Sony products they own in the PSP line, will start from zero.

The system is receiving an icy reception

Destructoid's Jim Sterling posted a long, expletive-filled rant describing his frustration in the first few hours of PSP Go ownership. "I have been in my house for an hour... an hour... and I have done nothing but download, rip, copy, install, update, install, rip, copy, install, install and install," he complained. "I just want to play some videogames! Sony, why won't you let me play some videogames? I promise I'll try to be a good person from now on. Do you want me to go to church?"

To his horror, after the Media Go disc installed both Quicktime and an update to Adobe before allowing him to install the actual software, the program needed to be updated before he could use it to manage his content.

Complaints have also been heard about the PSP Mini program. At the moment, the selection of games consists of many ports from the iPhone, although the PSP versions are significantly more expensive. Sony also does not allow Minis to use any online features, which means no updates. If a game is launched with bugs, the bugs will remain.

The guys at Penny Arcade likewise didn't mince words. "With the DS, there was confusion about the purpose of the device—the functionality was so broad that it was difficult to discern their motive," a recent update read. "With the PSP Go, the purpose is clear, and in review after review one sees the case built: the system is a campaign of aggression against both retailers and consumers."

Source: ars technica

Tags: Sony

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