Details about Sony's PSP Go leaked out over the weekend, ahead of the expected release at this week's E3 video game con. Photos reveal that the much-reviled UMD is gone, and the sliding design turns it into a media device as much as a gaming handheld.
The Go is styled very much like Sony's strange little MYLO smartphone/PMP device, with a rounded design that even extends to metallic roundels circling the main control buttons. These are only revealed when you're gaming, though the top two shoulder buttons are always exposed.
As predicted, the UMD drive is gone, sealing the coffin on Sony's universal optical disc format. The only way to get games onto the Go is by connecting it to a computer, or wirelessly over your home network. The device is also much more slim and pocket-friendly as a result—though there is no info yet on what impact the reduced profile will have on the PSP's battery life. It's also expected to gain Bluetooth, for gaming and music playing, and it's got 16GB of memory aboard to store media and games. There's the option to supplement that with a memory card, but it's not clear whether it'll be solely compatible with Sony's proprietary MemoryStick cards or much more convenient microSD cards—different commenters are claiming different options. Gamers excited by rumors it would carry a second analog stick will be disappointed, but I'm not surprised—such a big redesign may have impacted on compatibility with already-written games.
The most interesting thing is that the new slim profile and hidden game controls have turned the PSP Go into much more of a media playing device than the previous PSP versions. It will be interesting to see how Sony positions the device in the market at launch.