It appears the idea of console exclusives is over with the recent announcement of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for PlayStation Portable.
The Nintendo DS version has been out on the market since March 17, 2009, plenty of time for the Grand Theft Auto fanatic to either purchase the game for the DS or go and buy a Nintendo DS just so it could be played.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the third GTA title to release on the PlayStation Portable after GTA: Liberty City Stories and GTA: Vice City Stories. It makes sense on a business level for Sony to start pushing for more titles on the PlayStation Portable, and even more so the upcoming PSP Go.
Sony needs to properly support the PSP Go from launch. They cannot afford to release the new PSP and leave it on the market for a couple months before properly supporting it. This is primarily because of the PSP Go's lack of UMD drive.
Granted, gamers could use the PlayStation Store to download PSOne Classics or even some older PSP titles onto the PSP Go, but where will the money be at? The new downloadable titles. With Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars releasing around the same time, there is a title that will help sell the PSP Go for early adopters.
Pushing digital downloads is one of the smartest plans that Sony has come up with in recent years. Considering the constant news of GameStop's never-ending record profits, mainly in used games, all consoles publishers need to find a way to get away from the secondary market. Digital downloads are the key.
Sony is also smart by not pushing this on the PlayStation 3 with full speed. They have been careful about what titles they are releasing as PS3 digital downloads, but using the PSP Go as the front runner is the best idea.
PSP titles already have a lower retail price point than its big brother, and digital downloads can also reduce the price of the game itself because there are no costs in packaging or printing of materials.
Of course, many gamers enjoy the physical product, myself included, but if a game costs less on the digital side than the brick and mortar purchase, I'll go with the digital copy.
Sony might be onto a new revenue stream with the PSP Go, a flash memory based portable gaming system with a possible library of all previously released titles and digital download of all new titles. The only thing Sony needs to do is open the codec library on the PSP. Even just being the same as the PlayStation 3 would be a big step.
October is not that far away in a business sense, being the third quarter and the start of the holiday season. Sony will likely push the knowledge of the PSP Go at the upcoming gaming events and through the media. But the first day sales will really tell if Sony marketed something correctly or just wasted a lot of money.
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