Gamers feast your eyes! We’re a few short days away from the official launch of the renovated PSP-3000 and the first unboxing images are upon us. We already know that the blazing new screen is tremendously better than the current model and now we know what the initial retail package has in store for us. The bundle shown above will ship complete with a 1 GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters and a copy of National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets. There is also an Entertainment bundle expected in November followed by the lone model which will be available sometime later this year with $30 shaved from the $199 bundle prices. Let’s all hope that the battery on this puppy is indeed no worse than the current model as Sony claims.
Gamers get your plane tickets now. The new PSP-3000 will be available On October 16th in Japan. Retailing at 19,800 yen ($184), the new PSP system will debut in three basic colors of “Piano Black,” “Pearl White” and “Mystic Silver”. For gamers with a flair for fashion (admit it, you’re out there), additional colors are expected soon. The PSP will come bundled with a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo, a pouch, hand strap, and a wipe cloth for all those inevitable and annoying greasy fingerprints. Some new peripherals and accessory packs will also be available on release. No further details on release dates in other countries though it is still expected for the upcoming holiday season. Some cool new online services are also set to be launched this fall in conjunction with the release of this new device. PSP users will now be able to connect directly to the PlayStation Store and download entertainment and game content without piggybacking through a computer or PS3. Available for download on the launch date will be a PSP version of the Japanese PS3 game, Mainichi Issyo. Own a previous version of the PSP and feeling a bit left out? Rejoice as an update will extend this service to you too! Another online service will launch that “enables users to play PSP software titles featuring ad-hoc mode over the Internet through PS3 with other online players. PSP software titles such as “MONSTER HUNTER PORTABLE 2nd G” from CAPCOM Co., Ltd. will be compatible with this new online service.” A footnote says “Titles and the detailed information of the service will be announced in due course.” Hmm, not really sure what that means (PSP vs PS3 online games?) but it sounds interesting.
Sony officially announced the PSP-3000 this week and gamers found themselves asking a question that really didn’t bode well for the updated system: “Is a new button, a mic and a new screen really worth an upgrade?” Well kids, a quick gander at the image above might help you come a little closer to answering that conundrum. All we can say is WOW. The striking resemblance between the PSP-2000 and the PSP-3000 comes to a grinding halt the second you turn that sucker on. The new LCD display has five times the contrast ratio, twice the color range and responds twice as fast as its predecessor. To put it another way, it kicked the PSP-2000 display in the shin and stole its lunch money. So far only the European pricing is known (€199) but we can say that the PSP-3000 is supposed to hit US shores in mid-October around the same time as the European launch. So gamers, what do you think? Does this comparison shot have you singing a different tune or is it still not worth the (probable) $250 – $300 entry fee?
Navigation, maps and GPS-supporting games are coming soon to a PSP near you. Yesterday’s revelation that the next-generation PSP will likely be equipped with a mic for Skype calls really didn’t seem to impress anyone. We don’t post often about PSP-related news but we thought we might give it one more shot. Word on the street is that Sony is currently putting some serious work into the development of a GPS attachment for the PSP. As soon as next year in fact, gamers may be able to start enjoying a new breed of portable gaming that ties location in with game play. There are tons of possibilities that we can think of right away and we’re sure that game labs will come up with plenty that we would have never even considered. In fact according to Senior Marketing Manager John Koller, Sony is already working on GPS gaming in its own labs as well as talking to third-party labs. Of course GPS-equipped PSPs will also support mapping and navigation, potentially replacing in-car units and even navigation on mobile phones. Navigating with that nice big screen should be a nice change for those who have been using Windows Mobile or S60 handsets for the past few years. Pricing and timing are both still a mystery at this point of course but we look forward to seeing the PSP get some GPS love sooner rather than later. We have to also wonder if the upcoming PSP 3000 will an internal GPS integration. It would certainly be nice to avoid having to worry about an external attachment.
Hot off the press in China, a few pictures are currently working their way west that supposedly depict what will eventually be a new PlayStation Portable. There hasn’t been a huge amount of information about Sony’s upcoming third generation PSP, but these pics are actually pretty telling. Apart from the fact that the unit pictured is silver and pretty damn sexy, the top picture is of particular interest. To the left of the volume buttons is a restyled home button with the PlayStation logo on it. More interesting however, is what appears to be a built in microphone opening to the right of the volume buttons. Skype calls? Yes please. In-game audio chat? Sounds like a plan. The PSP 3000 case is also reportedly a bit thinner than the current model and includes some more restyled controls beyond the home key. According to the original source of the pics, Sony already has the new PSP in production and is shooting for a holiday release this year. Sony hasn’t commented yet and we’re pretty sure it won’t respond to leak-related inquiries. All the same, if we are looking at a holiday release then an official announcement should be coming up pretty soon.
While the upcoming 4.00 firmware update for Sony’s PSP isn’t the sea change we’d expect from a .00 software release, it certainly adds an attractive feature to the mix. The handheld gaming device will now be endowed with a native Google Search client, allowing you to search the web to your heart’s content, storing up to 20 searches in your device’s history in the process. Great, but what about, you know, more features? The addition of Google Search is certainly appealing, but with something as momentous as firmware version 4.0 hitting the table, we’d sort of expect a bit more excitement. This is still relegated to the rumor pile, so we suppose Sony might have a bit more up their sleeves for the official release, but until we hear anything to the contrary we’ll remain just a bit disappointed.