Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PSP Go! Suggestions for Sony

A few colliding thoughts reminded me of an overheard conversation in a store between two ladies. The attention-grabbing phrase was PSPGo! the new handheld console from Sony that is released this Thursday they were browsing the game aisles looking for something to buy him.

This proved to be a problem as the PSPGo! is a media-less format; it doesn't take cartridges, or discs for its games. Instead you buy them from the online store and download them to play. Now this is great if you've got a credit card, but if you're too young you're kind of stuck unless you run to Mommy or Daddy all the time.

Well there is a way around that in that they can buy PSN Cards, buy a £20 or £50 voucher enter the code in the store and get £20 or £50. Problem one is that so far they only come in these denominations, problem two is that little Johnny now has a £50 in store to buy whatever he wants including Blood Bath 3: The Goring unless you've managed to set the parental guides or are watching him constantly.

So I offer Sony these two suggestions

1. A Top-Up card similar to those used by Pay-As-You go phones, tied to a user account simply top-up with any amount and the amount is credited to the store account. Nice and simple to use and even the young can use it without Mom or Dad around. (Basically the addict gambit, spend money in small amounts and you're likely to spend more than you would plonking down one large lump sum).

2. Sell the downloadable games in stores. Yes sounds mad, but this would simply be an extension of the existing PSN Cards but tied to a specific game. Buy the 'game' enter the code at the store and you get to download it. Allows Mom and Dad to keep an eye on both purse-strings and monitor which games are being played.

So suggestion one allows for Birthday/Holiday gift money to be spent in store without having to wait for a set amount, and suggestion two allows those who feel the giving of money or gift vouchers to be a cop-out to buy a full game there and then.

Suggestion two also adds in the bonus that packaging and storage would be minimised (though not to the zero of digital download) while also allowing for the impulse buys that occur when in a physical store.

Basically it means more money for Sony, which I think they'd be interested in.


Dan H said...

One of my colleagues was telling me a few months back that Rockstar sold a GTA game for PSP in this manner: you go to the shop, buy a PSP game box off the shelf (not having read the small print), get it home, and find it contains a code and instructions to download the game onto a Memory Stick. So I guess someone else thought of your idea of selling game-specific vouchers in the shops.

You mention what Mummy and Daddy think, but it's also worth mentioning that the independence is more important to slightly older children. Kids learn to 'sell' the game they want to their parents from about the age of 7, and they start getting worse at it as they grow old enough to feel they shouldn't have to do that.

What this all neglects, of course, is that the market for grown-up gamers is much bigger than for children. I would be disappointed if Sony decided to leave the kids out in the cold, but from a short-term perspective I could understand them doing that. Not everyone can achieve Nintendo's coup of having a core range of games that really are family-friendly: entertaining to kids and grown-ups alike. My first memory of games is like that, a family activity, but since then it seems that games either exclude children or are too trivial for children to enjoy.

Sorry if the above is a little incoherent: I didn't have a point to make, so I just rambled a bit :)

FlipC said...

I rarely object to rambling.

But yes the grown-up market is large, but this method can also appeal to that market too. Buy your groceries and swipe your PSN top-up card while you're at it. Promote the eco-friendliness of the reduced packaging needed to sell the games in this format - use recycled card and a minimum of plastic wrap.

Everyone's a winner, you know except those without an internet connection.

As for family games, the Wii has that down cold whereas the other consoles seem to be concentrating on single player experience over network.

Saying that Little Big Planet is still the Bratii's favourite.