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Sony: PSPgo always part of the plan

UMD a stop-gap until tech was in place.

Sony Computer Entertainment chief product planner Naoya Matsui has revealed that a UMD-less PSP was always part of the handheld plan.

"We'd planned to release a PSP model without a UMD drive since the very beginning," Matsui told Develop, raising the question of why Sony developed the Universal Media Disc to begin with.

"But if we'd simply released the hardware, there wouldn't have been much for everyone to enjoy. We needed to prepare the right environment for it first - things like the transferral of content with the PS3 and PSN, and PC software to manage content like music and movies such as 'Media Go'.

"We wanted to release it when the delivery of digital content was on par with the delivery of physical media," he said. "That's what we've been working on these past two years. We'll be selling the PSPgo alongside the existing PSP models, because it's a product targeted at those people who are more accustomed to digital content."

Sony plans to both digital and physical versions of PSP games in the future. How much longer the niche UMD format can survive for depends on the uptake of Sony's new handheld.

The PSPgo launches simultaneously in Europe and North America on 1st October. The 50 per cent smaller handheld, with sliding screen and more on-board memory, will cost GBP 250, EUR 250 and USD 250. It's easy to remember, at least (and moan about).