Sony Puts PSP on a Diet

Dennis Faas's picture

Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) has fared worse against Nintendo than its PlayStation 3. And, that's saying a lot.

In release for a few years now, the PSP's once-glowing potential has been lost amidst the sticky goo of good intentions from Sony's executive branch. Although the stylish black handheld boasts a far more attractive appearance and superior graphics, the PSP has been thoroughly trounced by Nintendo's handy DS.

What's so "handy" about the DS?

Well, it is extremely portable. The most recent edition of the DS, the DS Lite, is un-surprisingly lightweight and durable for a handheld that boasts "dual screens" (hence the name, "DS"). Sony believes this is a critical reason for Nintendo's thumping of the PSP.

And so, the latter has been shuffled off to Jenny Craig. If all goes according to plan, a slimmer, thinner version of the PSP will be released in September, just as the kids head back to school and demand a distraction from algebra and English homework.

According to Sony Computer Entertainment Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, the differences will be instantly recognizable. "It's actually 33 percent lighter than the current PSP. It's also 19 percent slimmer," said Hirai. (Source:

Thin in all the wrong places...

Unfortunately, it seems Sony is missing the point. The real PSP "slim pickins" have been at the local video game shop, where games for the handheld remain few and far between. They're also far from impressive, as the PSP has, for much of its existence, acted as a home for mediocre PlayStation 2 ports. That's not the case with the Nintendo DS, which (although graphically inferior) has been the recipient of some challenging and entirely unique titles.

Cost is also an issue. The new, slimmer version of the PSP will still retail for at least $170 USD, with some estimates placing it even higher at $200. The competing DS Lite sells for $130. (Source:

Lighter on games, yet still heavier on the wallet? Sounds like Sony's gaming division has an eating disorder.

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