For most of 2011 I debated getting a PSP, specifically the PSP Go; the main value proposition for me was having access to the respectable library of PlayStation Classics that I had purchased on my own or ended up having access to because of my immensely valuable PlayStation Plus membership. It wasn’t until January of this year that I finally pulled the trigger on a white PSP Go, and it was actually the launch of the PlayStation Vita that pushed me over the edge.
When you do the math, a fully-loaded PS Vita is going to run you well over $350, mostly because it lacks any internal storage and swapping memory card sucks, so you might as well shell out for a 32GB proprietary memory card out of the gate… plus you’re going to want to protect your investment with an OEM case and cradle. Many people have cited a lack of AAA titles at launch as the main reason they skipped on picking up a Vita, but that wasn’t a huge deal for me. I, instead, was turned off by the price to get a fully tricked-out Vita, as well as the immense size of the unit which sometimes makes it hard to call it a portable; it’s definitely not fitting in your skinny emo jeans, especially if it’s in a case.
There are two downsides to the PSP Go, however; the first being that we all know this is as good as it will ever get. There will never be another firmware update that brings new features and squeezes out just a bit more from the PSP Go. This is it, love it or leave it. The other downside is that most multiplayer online titles are losing support and shutting their servers down, so you better be happy playing alone, which I am; the PSP Go is, for all intents and purposes, a solo gaming device, unless of course you have a friend that are willing to trek over to your place to play an ad-hoc multiplayer game… but it’s unlikely.
In the end, skipping the Vita and opting for a white PSP Go with an additional 16GBs of memory has made me a very happy gamer. I have close to 100 games on me all the time, many of which I had before buying the PSP Go, and they’re all housed on one very elegant system that cost me way less than a Vita with the same amount of memory. I’ve also surprisingly stopped just playing classics, but have found myself playing full PSP titles such as Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 and just about every single Final Fantasy PSP game you can imagine.
If the Vita has you excited, I’d say it’s almost worth the money and because of this it will, in time, absolutely be a great system and worth every penny; but if you’re on the fence about it, I’d consider picking up a used PSP Go to hold you over until the price drops, Sony releases some compelling game bundles, or redesigns the system entirely. I recommend a used PSP Go because the price has skyrocketed on Amazon by more than 50% for new units, so a used one is your best option. Special thanks to Zach Saale for agreeing to loan me his Vita, even though he knew I was planning on dumping all over it.