It looks like gaming fans will have another gadget to add to their Christmas list as Sony today announced its new, improved handheld games console, which is being called the PSP-3000.
With over 1.6 million PSPs sold in the US so far this year, Sony’s portable gaming device is already quite popular but hasn’t quite reached the dizzying heights of the Nintendo DS console, which is officially the fastest-selling handheld games console to date having reached the 50 million mark one year ago.
“Last year at this time we announced PSP-2000, which was Slim & Lite, and we said then that we would continue to enhance PSP. As new technology comes along and we get feedback from consumers, one of the suggestions we had was for a built-in microphone, so we decided to build that in,” said SCEE president, David Reeves.
As for the improved LCD screen, Reeves said: “When you look at it in daylight, it looks brighter, it looks more intense and you get a better feeling when you’re looking at the pictures.”
The new PSP with improved LCD screen and built-in microphone – which will be at the same price point as the current model – is not exactly looking to take on the DS in functionality because it is now being touted as a ‘lifestyle tool’, with the improved screen pushing it as a viable alternative for viewing photos and movies as well as gaming, GPS Sat Nav and wirelessly accessing the web on the go.
“The PlayStation Portable can be called a PlayStation Personal,” a Sony senior executive told journalists at today’s press conference.
Another addition to this is the forthcoming ability to hook up several PSPs through an internet-connected PlayStation 3, but this will only be made available in Japan for now.
The PSP-3000 is expected to go on sale on 15 October throughout Europe, Australia and the Middle East. It will come as part of a software bundle – either the Go!Messenger video chat package or games bundles that will include Buzz!: Master Quiz, FIFA ’09 and Harry Potter.
By Marie Boran
Pictured: the PSP-3000, available from 15 October