updated 07:55 am EDT, Mon October 25, 2010
PSP Go price cut to 199 in US in iPod fight
Sony today confirmed late rumors and dropped the price of the PSP Go to $199 in a likely bid to fend off the iPod touch. The cut from the original $249 is taking effect in both the US and Japan (at an equivalent of $207) and will take effect Tuesday, October 26. It came less than a year after the new version went on sale.
The company didn't provide a direct explanation for the cut but timed it just as it entered a holiday season with competition not only with Nintendo but with Apple. Until the NPD stopped reporting sales figures in public, Nintendo DS sales had been dropping along with Sony's in a slump that has been credited both to economic worries but also the presence of the iPod touch. Apple has increasingly promoted the iPod as a game system and has gone so far as to claim that it has been outselling both the DS and PSP lines combined.
The new PSP Go pricing makes the handheld less expensive than the $229 iPod and holds twice as much at 16GB with a larger, 3.8-inch screen. However, Apple has continued to claim a faster processor and now has a higher resolution display and cameras, all of which have led to more visually intensive games as well as more general-purpose apps.
Sony had originally designed the PSP Go with the iPod touch in mind as it dropped physical discs and put an emphasis on Internet based game downloads like the App Store. However, the high original price, along with game titles roughly four times as expensive as iOS equivalent, had led customers to either keep to the cheaper original model or to switch to an alternative. Sony also faced a backlash from its legacy of game retailers who in some cases would refuse to stock PSP Gos in retaliation for the lost software sales.
The company has recently tried to spin the lack of sales by characterizing the PSP Go as an experiment rather than a successor. However, the performance and the price drop may also be to help clear the path for an Android-based PlayStation phone that may be the true successor.