Earlier this week, Sony issued a statement that production of the beloved (read: sarcasm) PSP Go handheld gaming device had ceased and the product had been officially discontinued. Now Sony claims that the halt in production isn't on a worldwide basis.
News of the PSP Go's demise wasn't surprising given that the device never sold well here in the States to begin with. Immediately upon release, the handheld wasn't backwards compatible with the current library of UMD-based PSP games lining the one or two shelves (if that) in local retail chains. To make matters worse, Sony wouldn't even offer a viable solution for gamers who already owned a library of UMD-based titles, forcing them to purchase the games again in digital format.
In addition to a lack of support for current titles, the new hardware sold for a meaty $250 when it initially launched back in October 2009, driving the nail even further into the hearts of Sony fanboys (cough) nationwide. Thus, many PSP owners saw no reason to "upgrade."
Sony's statement earlier this week announcing the PSP Go's demise was originally issued to a Japanese website, and most of us only assumed that its death would take place worldwide. Sony even indicated that it was going to use the new resources to focus on the Next Generation Portable revealed back in January. It also stated that production of the bulkier, UMD-enabled PSP-3000 wouldn't be affected-- the axe was mainly falling on the PGP Go unit.
However the PSP Go isn't going anywhere-- at least not here in the United States. According to SCEA, the company is "continuing production of PSP Go for North America." Apparently the device is holding its own here in local retail chains in order for Sony to hold the axe-of-death in check. The new $149.99 price tag may even help move units of shelves even though it can't play disc-based titles.
Still, there's a good chance the PSP Go handheld will go down in flames once Sony's new Next Generation Portable arrives on the scene by the end of the year. It's probably a good thing Sony Ericsson's Xperia PLAY isn't equipped for PSP games-- that really would have driven the PSP Go out of the North American market.