updated 09:25 am EDT, Wed April 29, 2009
PSP Go Launch Rumor
The long-rumored Sony PSP slider has gained further support with a new but detailed rumor that points to the handheld competing more closely with the iPod touch as well as Nintendo's DSi. Now given the title of the PSP Go!, the game console is still said by 1UP to move the controls from the sides to a slide-out panel but is now believed to be coming in versions with 8GB and 16GB of flash storage, letting them hold several games or more at once. Accordingly, Sony will shift to a more App Store-like model and put at least 100 old and new PSP games online as downloads.
Whether or not the Memory Stick slot will still exist isn't certain, but no mention has been made of it being removed. Consistent with past rumors, however, the UMD optical reader will be scrapped. Companies under pressure to sell retail copies won't necessarily need to include physical media, as Sony itself has said that boxed versions of Patapon 2 will only involve coupons to download the game later.
Again elaborating on past leaks, Sony would announced the PSP Go! at the E3 event in June but wouldn't ship until months later. The company's native Japan would get the system first, in September, while North America would receive the system in late October or early November. Pricing isn't known.
Given the shift to an Internet focus, the report also includes speculation that Sony may attempt to salvage the effort put into its poor-selling Mylo 2 communicator and roll the device's touchscreen technology into the PSP Go!, though at least one rumor has explicitly said it wouldn't occur.
The launch of an updated PSP in the near future is widely regarded as essential for Sony. Sales have continually been outpaced by the generally less expensive and more compact Nintendo DS line and are now under threat from Apple, whose iPod touch is more powerful than the PSP for 3D and attacks the PSP's niche of a hybrid game and media player device. The iPod touch already depends solely on downloaded games and in many cases has less expensive titles than for the PSP.