Sony will launch a slimmer model of its PlayStation Portable
handheld game player in September, in an latest attempt to
compete better with Nintendo's DS.
Both Sony and Nintendo released their handheld gear, the PSP
and DS, respectively, late in 2004, but sales of the PSP,
which can play movies, music and games, have recently been
outshined by the DS.
"From a distance, this PSP might not look very different
from the current model ... but when you have it in your
hand, the difference becomes quite clear," Sony Computer
Entertainment Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai said. "It's
actually 33 percent lighter than the current PSP. It's also
19 percent slimmer."
The new PSP is also 19 percent slimmer than the current
version. The system will also have a thinner, more efficient
battery, 64MB of system memory and video-out capabilities
allowing consumers to enjoy their games at 480 x 272
resolution and movies at full standard-definition resolution
on any progressive scan TV. It's CPU will be clocked at
333MHz and wireless LAN 802.11b connectivity will be also
In addition to the "Piano Black" model launching in
September in the Core Pack, the new PSP will also be
available in two new limited edition colors in North
America: A collector?s edition "Ice Silver" PSP will be
included in the Daxter PSP Entertainment Pack in September;
and a limited edition "Ceramic White" PSP, including a
Darth Vader silk screen on the unit, will be featured in
the Star Wars Battlefront PSP Entertainment Pack launching
in October. SCEA plans to make more than 140 new software
titles available this fiscal year for PSP, in addition to
the other great entertainment content coming on UMD (
Universal Media Disc ).
Hirai, who replaced Ken Kutaragi, known as the "Father of
PlayStation," as head of Sony's game division earlier this
year, made the PSP announcement during a presentation at the
E3 video game exposition, the industry's biggest event.
Sony said the slimmer PSP would retail for about $170, the
same as the current PSP. Nintendo's newest DS model, the DS
Lite, sells for $130.
Nintendo sold 23.6 million DS units in the year ended March
2007, outpacing PSP shipments of 8.4 million.
Like Sony, Nintendo last year launched the lighter version
of the DS, accelerating already white-hot demand for the
handset. The DS Lite has two screens, opens like a book and
allows gamers to control play with a stylus, instead of
manipulating a keypad.