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ShopTo: PSPgo "almost dead" on arrival

Retailer boycotts "foolish", says Pachter.

ShopTo has empathised with European retailers boycotting PSPgo, and reckons the format "is almost dead before it has arrived".

Analyst Michael Pachter, on the other hand, thinks they're all being "foolish", and calls the entire situation "ridiculous".

"It's just silly for a retailer to say that they won't sell a big ticket gaming device because they can't sell the games. Consumer electronics stores sell refrigerators and not food, everyone sells iPods and not the music for them; this position is just ridiculous," Michael Pachter, analyst for investor Wedbush Morgan Securities, told Eurogamer.

"I think that it's foolish for a retailer to be selective about what they carry, unless they truly don't believe it will sell well."

A much better course of action, he argued, would be to buy limited stock and then re-order if appropriate. "Refusing to carry them subjects them to the risk that Sony will bypass them for Gran Turismo or Uncharted, in which case they lose," he said.

The ball began rolling when Dutch outlet Nedgame publicly opposed the PSPgo for being too expensive and for not featuring a UMD drive, thus providing no opportunity to sell games. And controlling all sales via PSN gives Sony a "monopoly" on software sales, argued the shop.

Media Markt, a German retail chain that spans Europe, took up a similar position, with Spanish and Italian (and no doubt other regions) outlets prohibited from selling the device.

ShopTo will not follow suit, but agrees with the sentiment. "We do have it listed on the site, but we are not concentrating any big marketing behind it," boss Igor Cipolletta told Eurogamer.

"Sony has decided to cut publishers and retailers for the software of the PSPgo and deal direct with developers, giving them a 70 per cent margin for any items sold on Sony PSN. I believe if they had lowered that to 50 or 60 per cent, and given the opportunity to online retailers, it would have enjoyed greater success and retailers would attempt to promote the console to the market."

Cipolletta, however, feels the damage may have already been done, and the format - which launches here on 1st October for £224.99 (€249.99) - will be a flop.

"I have the feeling that as a format it is almost dead before it has arrived, and it relies far too heavily on a customer base that is prepared to pay more for download content than the equivalent disc based product, and I suspect this market will soon dry up based on the technical limitations of the hardware," Cipolletta shared.

But, Pachter added, while retailers wield "some power" now, their foot-stamping won't be entertained for long.

"As far as the argument that 'it's about time' retailers received their comeuppance: I think that will occur soon enough anyway, as the large hard drives in the PS3 and 360 (and the larger ones coming) will encourage a greater number of downloads in the future," he offered.

"Retailers have to face the fact that games will be increasingly offered over Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and cope with the outcome.

"To draw a line in the sand," Pachter said, "is wrong."

Sony, incidentally, has not responded comment on the matter.