March 14th, 2007, 22:04 Posted By: wraggster
Something needs to happen with the PSP, ASAP.
That's the message retailers have, according to our sources, sent Sony. With sales of the PSP lagging (Sony's PSP hardware shipments to retailers last Fall were down 72 percent over the year before, only a meager 10,000 units in the U.S.), word is that a few big name retailers have given Sony a mandate: drop the price or they'll drop the system from their stores. Entirely. With shelf space at a premium, the expectation is for Sony to do something substantial to keep its hardware moving -- or else.
Coming up on the second anniversary of the PSP (March 24th), a price drop seems possible -- after all, the price was lowered by $50 two days before its first anniversary last year. But according to Sony, that's not yet in the cards. Speaking with John Koller, the Senior Marketing Manager for the PSP, at the Game Developers Conference last week, 1UP learned that a price drop was not announced to retailers at Sony's Destination PlayStation retailer event last week.
But something else was.
According to Koller, Sony did share plans that got retailers excited. Of course, what these plans were exactly, he wouldn't say. Could they be new PSP colors that have been previously shown and released in Japan and Europe? Or could they be the redesigned PSP with 8 GB of flash memory that's been rumored for ages? Or could they be the launch of some new PSP video/music download service? We'll likely have to wait a few more weeks to find out.
And whether it's coming soon or later down the road, a redesign for the PSP is in the works. According to Koller, Sony is in the process of reducing parts and potentially adjusting the size -- similar to what's been done with the PS1 and PS2. "I can at least say this much, the screen won't be changing in size," he said.
It seems that Sony hopes to repeat the success Apple has had with the iPod's pricing structure -- thanks to new colors and models, the iPod's price has largely remained the same over the years. Koller also admitted that Sony paid close attention to the spark in sales the DS Lite iteration of the Nintendo DS caused once it released.
One thing is clear, though: something will happen with the PSP soon. Now, we just need to wait.
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