PSP Video Calls on the Cards

Plus GPS and e-distribution announced.

Posted by Staff
PSP Video Calls on the Cards
With Sony, it never rains news, it pours. Not content with finally dishing the details on the PS3, Ken Kutaragi opened the PlayStation Business Briefing 2006 conference in Tokyo earlier today by announcing some pretty interesting PSP news ? including news on a PSP camera, a GPS add-on and a new digital download service.

To kick things off, Kutaragi announced that there will be a significant price-cut for the PSP, with a $199 PSP 'base unit' hitting U.S. shelves by the end of March, and a ?199 (140) package launching in Europe on March 22. Japan meanwhile will get "...a new white PSP SKU as of April 15, priced at 19800 Yen ($168 US).

The base unit, we assume, will not be bundled with headphones and other accessories ? much like the one currently available in Japan. This is great news for all those gamers who were toying with the idea of buying a PSP this Easter to play Outrun: Coast to Coast online with their mates.

Kutaragi then announced what could well develop into a real killer add-on feature for PSP in the long run ? a new USB EyeToy-style camera, set to launch in September, enabling both motion-tracking EyeToy style games on the PSP plus video-chat/video voice-over IP, which Kutaragi claims will be available in October. So you may well be able to use your PSP as a video communicator later this year. More details on this as we get them.

Kutaragi also revealed that the PSP?s GPS receiver will launch this autumn and will be incorporated into games, with Hot Shots Golf being the first game supported. Sony also plans to deliver original PSone games via a digital distribution service, to be played on a PSP PSone emulator.

Finally, Kuturagi released details of an upcoming software update, to include Macromedia Flash and improved RSS support, for playback and saving of net-broadcast radio and video. The PSP it seems has the potential of being all things to all men. Let us hope that this is not also it?s downfall, as casual gamers who have not yet bought into the PSP may well just be confused by the wide range of services on offer, whilst the hardcore may well stick with the tried-and-tested games on the Nintendo DS, unless the PSP?s line-up is seen to move away from PS2 ports to more original titles.

Since its launch in Japan in December 2004, North America in March 2005, and Europe in September 2005, the PSP has already shipped more than 15 million units worldwide. While dwarfed by the sales figures of Nintendo?s remarkably successful DS, Sony is continuing to push the PSP?s ?overwhelming? power as its USP. And while Nintendo?s strategy for DS is 100% game-focused, Sony is flogging the PSP as a handheld entertainment device, which will, according to today?s release, ?...create and develop a new world of computer entertainment through the fusion of game, music, movies and broadcasting.?


Hank 15 Mar 2006 21:52

And don't forget, the PSP will bring handheld gamming out of the ghetto while cleaning the lint from your belly button.
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