Sony Computer Entertainment America today announced a price reduction for the PlayStation Portable. Starting February 27, 2011, the system will be available for $129.99, down from its current price of $169.99.
This move takes place one month to the day ahead of the North American launch of Nintendo’s 3DS, which will retail for $249.99. Of course, Sony has their own next generation handheld on deck, the NGP, due to launch later this year at an as-yet undisclosed price.
At $129.99, the PSP represents a substantial value, allowing users to play games, listen to music, watch movies, and browse the web. Sony recently detailed its intentions to have the NGP and PSP peacefully co-exist, noting that they will continue offering and supporting the PSP long after the launch of the Next Generation Portable. The $129.99 price point is a demonstration of that commitment, as it leaves the company some room to drop the system’s price further (likely to $99.99) at some point in the future.
Many will recall that this is exactly the same pricing strategy Sony used with the PlayStation 2, to great success — that system having recently celebrated sales of 150 million units. The PSP currently stands at 67.8 million systems sold world wide, and the price drop is sure to drive that number ever higher.
Tim Bender, Senior Vice President of Sales for SCEA, seems to agree:
“The PSP system set the standard for complete portable entertainment and continues to be the premiere destination for gamers on-the-go.”
“Nearly six years after its initial launch, demand for the PSP remains strong. This new price point enables us to broaden the PSP platform to a larger group of consumers who are looking for best-in-class handheld entertainment.”
Though the quantity of software developed for the PSP is not what it once was, the system nevertheless boasts an impressive back catalog of games, including last year’s excellent God of War: Ghost of Sparta and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
While some may argue that iPhone and Android are the future of mobile gaming, there remains something uniquely gratifying about playing games on a device designed to do just that. And while 3DS and NGP are unquestionably exciting prospects, gamers on a budget may well find that there is a lot of fun to be had with the PSP, particularly if the rumor that PS2 classics will be released for PSP via PSN turns out to be true.
Ranters, what do you think about the PSP’s new price point? Can it help the system survive for several more years, or is this the beginning of the end for the PlayStation Portable?