With Grand Theft Auto: Vice City stories just weeks away, people who never considered purchasing a PlayStation Portable before are giving the platform a second look. For many, the main stumbling block is price. The bare-bones version of the handheld costs $199--$70 more than its rival, Nintendo's DS Lite. It is also available as part of the $250 PSP Entertainment Pack, which bundles it with ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, the UMD movie Lords of Dogtown, and a 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo.
Given that the DS has been outselling the PSP all year, rumors have percolated that Sony might cut the device's price. However, the company has consistently denied any such move is in the offing, with the latest repetition coming this week, courtesy of John Koller, a product manager at Sony Computer Entertainment America.
"We don't necessarily see the need to cut the price," Sony Computer Entertainment America product manager John Koller told Reuters. "We need to offer broader value and introduce new consumers to what the PSP can do."
Besides the PSP's connectivity with the PS3, Koller feels that the "value" will come in the form of a new wave of games for the handheld. He told Reuters that "there will be about 110 new titles available by the end of 2006, bringing the roster to about 230." GameSpot's own release schedule has approximately 80 titles coming to US PSPs before year's end, including Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, Brothers in Arms D-Day, Medal of Honor: Heroes, Call of Duty 3, and Lumines II.
Reuters also mentioned the PSP's oft-touted multimedia functions--including video and music playback--which Sony has used as a selling point for the handheld. However, film studios' support for the PSP's Universal Media Disc format has been waning, and the promised relaunch of a PSP-compatible Connect download service has not yet occurred.