The PSP Go! Artist's impression. We're pretty confident on this one.

The PSP Go! Artist's impression. We're pretty confident on this one.

The web has been alight today with rumours of the “next” PSP, which is, so they say going, to be announced or unveiled by Sony at E3 this year. First things first. Is it the PSP 2? No. Can’t be. Commercial suicide. Sony has just got Rock Band, Assassin’s Creed 2, Tekken 6, LittleBigPlanet, Motorstorm and more announced for the PSP. They would be insane to have convinced developers to come back to the platform that they had all abandoned for the DS, just to pull the rug out and say, “Oh, by the way, we’ve got the PSP 2 coming out in Q3, but thanks for some games for our old platform.” Not beyond the realms of possibility given some decisions that have been made, but let’s be honest, much more likely that Sony managed to tempt developers back by giving them a sneak peak at some sexy new iteration of the PSP and promising a big marketing campaign to make it the “must have Christmas item”.

So, what is the Go! going to be? Well, as you can see from our impression, it will be very sophisticated. OK, will it have a touchscreen? Unlikely. This would be a completely different control system and would mean that compatibility between the PSP and this device would be impossible, so you’d have to convince the developers to create two versions. Given the PSP isn’t seen as a massive success by third parties, this wouldn’t happen. Also, it would mean a software OS rewrite, which seems unlikely. More likely that the PSP Go! will include the same basic specs as the PSP.

One exception: loss of the UMD. Almost a certainty, because they’re expensive. Probably cheaper to stick games on cheap memory sticks if you still want to sell them in the shops, if digital isn’t enough for you. Given that this would require convincing the likes of GAME to give over more shelf space to a format they don’t make money off, this could be an uphill struggle, but is the world ready for digital only distribution? Forget the iPhone. It has iTunes behind it and a method of payment. Most people still want to buy a product – look at the physical release of the Fallout 3 DLC and that’s just add-on content, not a main game. It will be interesting to see how Sony handles game distribution, because despite all this, the UMD has been a disaster and it’s a battery drain, so I reckon, it’s gone.

Sliding screen – maybe. Why not? It would look cool and it doesn’t affect the internal specs. Dual analog – unlikely, as again, it would be too different from the original PSP and mean two games from developers.

So, what is the PSP Go! going to be? Maybe some of the extras released for the PSP will be bundled or built in? Either way, it’s going to be a nice revision of the hardware, in yet another attempt to kickstart the market. Will it work? Maybe, I’ve got a PSP and a DS and I prefer the games on the PSP; there just haven’t been enough of them. Graphically it’s miles ahead and actually quite satisfying as a gaming platform. The DS is fun for quick spurts, but I actually play some PSP games through. Its integration with the PS3 is a very cool idea, though flakey. When it works, I can play videos from my home PC, streamed via the PS3 and transcoded on the fly wireless on the PSP, even over the internet. It’s incredibly cool technology. The hardware in the PSP remains a great spec. There’s no need to enhance it. Like the Wii and the PS3, the PSP still outspecs the DS, Sony just needs to find a way to convince people it’s worth having.

PlayStation Lifestyle has an interesting article on the PSP Go, and take on today’s rumours, if you want more, but can the Go! reignite the PSP market? Have you got a PSP doing anything other than gather dust? Traded it in for a DS?