State of the Download: PSPGo! and Mini-Downloads, Should we take them seriously?

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The PSP is Go!

The PSPGo! has been announced and as such, it’s already stirring up a huge commotion. Sony has announced today that their system will no longer have a removable battery, as that promoted too much piracy in previous iterations of the system. To which, I respond that no matter how they try or what they do, I give it a matter of weeks before pirates have software running on the machine. It’s a futile battle, and one that they should be giving up to the homebrew community which has long supported the ailing PSP because of its unique position to be a dedicated homebrew machine.

However, the battery is only a recent development, Sony has announced as well that they plan on selling Micro-Games through the PSP’s store. These would be iPhone-style games that are smaller and easier for the developers to create and distribute rather than the large scale games of years past.

But are these Mini downloads a blessing or a curse? Let’s look at both sides

Mini Downloads are Great!

As we’ve seen through the iPhone’s development, mini games can not only be profitable, but highly entertaining and a value proposition. Games like Rolando have even spawned highly anticipated sequels for people to play on their phones, so the same style of logic could be applied to a PSP model of downloading. As long as the games are good, the flow of money to Sony should not only be substantial, but also frequent.

It’s an everybody wins scenario, in which the audience gets greater access to games, the developers who are largely unknown can manage to get their names out there while still making a profit, and Sony also gets their end of the deal - all in all, a sound proposition.

Are you Kidding Me?

The flip side of that coin is that PSP Mini downloads could occupy too much of a development team’s valuable time that could be otherwise spent on polishing a release that would be of more substantial profit than these mini games.

The quality of the games is also at stake here – because for every game like “Rolando” on the iPhone, you have 10, if not 20 different fart apps that are useless and brainless. If Sony attempts to adopt this business model, they’ll have to bring to the table hits like Fat Princess and PixelJunk, but in a more palatable and reasonable form. $5 for a downloadable game sounds perfectly reasonable, after all, if it turns out to be bad, I can always just part ways with my money. However, bump the value up to $10, and the same sort of easy parting becomes much more difficult.

Overall, Sony is stretched as it is with different development teams working for stores on both the PS3 and PSP – how can we expect them to turn out quality titles for a console that has yet to prove its viability in the market? If Sony expects things to turn around, they’ll have to change their ways to something more like the $299 PS3, a value proposition that is a good idea for all.

What do you think? How will PSP Downloads end up? Let us know in the comments below.