Sony called the PSP Go an experiment, and it probably helped bring them to the following conclusion:
The world isn't quite ready for a download-only platform. In a recent Edge interview , SCEE President Jim Ryan and Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida spoke about why they didn't ignore physical media for their new portable device, the PlayStation Vita.
Basically, while all-digital may be the way to go for some consumers in the modern world, the time is "still not right" for everyone. Said Yoshida:
"We believe, for some consumers, the time is , but for other consumers, the time is still not . So we believe the time is still not right to go download-only as a platform.
Some PS Vita titles, like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, will be close to 4GB in size, which could be too large to download for consumers who do not have a fast broadband connection."
Yoshida added that some consumers do enjoy shopping in retail stores, and speaking to knowledgeable store clerks. …okay, we're not too sure about the latter these days, but we get his point. Ryan adds that high-tech US consumers shouldn't be too narrow-minded on the issue:
"There are consumers in parts of the world – this is a global device – where the digital model has not yet fully been embraced."
That's a simple enough explanation, and certainly quite true. If you're marketing a product to the entire world, you have to realize that the vast majority don't have the super fast Internet capabilities that we have. Furthermore – and we've said this before at PSXE – many fans are actual game collectors, and none of them would count a digital file as part of their hard-earned collection.
Expect the Vita to arrive in North America some time during the first quarter of next year.