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Retailers Give PSP go Major Push at Launch

Sony holds demo events at two Tokyo hot spots.


If a downloads-only game system gets a retail release on a Sunday, does anyone hear it?

The answer appears to be yes. Sony made quite a bit of noise with the PSP go's launch here on Sunday, sending out reps to at least two major Tokyo retailers for demo events.

Doing the honors were the two expected retail hot spots: Bic Camera in Yurakucho and Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara. These are regular venues for official launch events.

Bic had a small demo event in its game section, which was recently moved from the basement to the third floor. Sony reps were on hand in full game show booth babe clothing to assist visitors in sampling the new system via LocoRoco Midnight Carnival and Gran Turismo.

Outside, the shop was giving PSP go a major push, with a special register, and some of its most prominent sign space. Major shops often have an employee or two on a blow horn trying to lure people into the shop for a newly released item. PSP go was the topic for today.

The Yodobashi Camera outdoor event was larger. In addition to PSP go demo kiosks, Sony had PCs set up for sampling its Media Go multimedia software. A central stage featured periodic appearances by comedy duo Dainao.

As you can see in the above pics, I showed up as the event was coming to a close. Here are some links to Japanese sites covering the launch, in case you want to see the above scenes filled with people.

Famitsu forced its reporters to hit the Yodobashi shop early in the morning. The shop opened 30 minutes early for the PSP go's launch, and at that time, there was a line of about 30.

The site managed to get some stats on the Yodobashi crowd. It seems that many already owned a previous PSP system. At this particular Yodobashi, the PSP go's Piano Black color variation was particularly popular.

The shop told Famitsu that there were plenty of systems to go around and there was no concern over a sell out any time soon.

So why exactly do retailers seem so intent on pushing a download-only game platform? Some of the signs at Yodobashi Camera could provide clues:

The sign to the left promotes a variety of accessories that one might want to use to enhance their PSP go experience. The ¥5,040 Accessory Pack item was, according to the sign, sold out.

The sign to the right is a bit more curious. It promotes the PSP go's downloadable games library. What's odd is that, rather than showing any of the PSP spec games like LocoRoco and PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe, all it lists are Game Archive games.

The downloadable games sign is, of course, a method for the shop to sell PlayStation Store pre-paid cards, so perhaps they're trying to show how many games you can get with one card.

Back in July, a manager at Tokyo game shop Games Maya complained that retailers don't get any take on PlayStation Network Cards. For retailers to actually be pushing the cards, I would imagine this has to have changed.

We'll find out later this week just how much PSP go sold in its first day. When new hardware hits, Famitsu usually provides a flash report in its Tuesday update. Tuesday is a holiday this week, so it's possible the sales data will be delayed to Wednesday.

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