Friday, August 20, 2010

Sony PSP2 to be an incremental improvement?

It appears that Sony has decided to take a very unique approach to hardware upgrades with its handheld consoles.

Reported in, the vendor has apparently been showing off a new PSP model, similar to the PSP-3000 in specs, but adding in a few new fetures, such as a touch sensitive control area at the reverse of the console, and flash storage.

The same report suggests Sony has shown the device (and assoicated business model) to publishing partners, and there is a tentative release date of 2011.

From these snippits (Sony has not come out and announced the device itself), it seems the new PSP is not a 'PSP2,' but rather yet another incremental improvement to existing hardware. With Nintendo showing off the 3DS, another PSP model rather than an entirely new console seems a bit strange at first.

But perhaps Sony is essentially creating a new console through incremental updates, rather than going for the 'wow' factor of a whole new console. Each new PSP version adds something new to the console's capabilities. Not all of the ideas work (see the PSPGo), but piece by piece, Sony is turning the original, unweidly console into something very sleek indeed.

If you compare the original PSP to the models available today, they are worlds apart... and with a few more small improvements, and a PSP-4000 or PSP-5000 would indeed be a 'PSP2' - one developed on years of market feedback from the previous editions.

It would be taking the original strength of the PSP (the relative power of the console's processor), and refining it. While Nintendo is demanding consumers buy an entirely new console, and developers create games for an entirely new console in the 3DS, Sony is not denying existing PSP owners and developers anything with the new console, while at the same time encouraging subtle updates and refreshes.

It's a strategy that worked when the PlayStation 3 was updated to be 3D-ready, and interested consumers were not asked to invest in a new console. However, the downside to that is the new PSP model will really struggle to gain traction in a handheld market that is currently being driven by hype for the 3DS.

What is clear, though, is an actual 'PSP2,' should it ever happen, is clearly a long way off yet.

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