PSPgo PlayStation Portable 1

This is going to make you feel old: the PSPgo is now 10-years-old. Sony’s digital-only handheld revision released on 1st October, 2009 – a decade ago. Back then, Push Square was still in its infancy, and yours truly had some, shall we say, thoughts about the negativity surrounding the device. The thing is, looking back on it all now, it was a great handheld – but more importantly than that, it was ahead of its time.

This thing felt premium: its piano black chassis was a finger-print magnet, but it practically glistened when it caught the light; the screen was smaller than the standard PlayStation Portable, but it was razor sharp; the slide mechanism, revealing the controls behind the display, was silky smooth – you just wanted to slide that thing back-and-forth like—well, let’s not go there. The downside? You couldn’t use UMDs.

Let’s be honest with each other for a hot minute: UMDs sucked. We all know it – even Sony knew it. But even if the Japanese giant could see where the industry was heading, the PSP just wasn’t ready for a digital-only future. There were dozens of titles – some of them first-party – which couldn’t be purchased from the PlayStation Store, significantly limiting the unit’s library. Not only that, but the manufacturer didn’t mandate day-and-date digital releases at the time, so there were several new games that you simply couldn’t play.

PSPgo PlayStation Portable 2

It goes without saying that this signalled the system’s demise before it had even been brought to life, but there was also lots of scepticism surrounding digital purchases at the time. This fear is more muted at the moment, as more-and-more people turn to the PS Store to purchase software, but it still exists; the Xbox One S All-Digital – otherwise known as the Xbox One SAD – has become a bit of a punching bag for following the same philosophy as the PSPgo.

But make no mistake about it: Sony was onto something here. The company’s already confirmed that the PlayStation 5 will be able to play disc-based games, but the scales are finally beginning to tip towards digital, and there’ll be no going back once they do. With its beautiful form-factor and superb Suspend/Resume feature, the PSPgo was a fantastic failure – but it’ll be best remembered for simply being decades ahead of its time.

Did you own a PSPgo? What were your thoughts on the digital-only device? Do you think a system relying solely on the PS Store could survive today? Download your opinion in the comments section below.