PSP redesign confirmed

Smaller and lighter, says Maguire.

SCE UK managing director Ray Maguire has confirmed the platform holder's intentions to release a redesigned version of its PlayStation Portable handheld.

Speaking yesterday afternoon at the national launch of Sony's PSP in Education initiative, Maguire told an invited audience of press, teachers and education specialists that the current PSP is just the "first iteration".

In line with the firm's strategy for previous consoles, a "smaller, lighter" system will be introduced in the future.

Responding to a query on Sony's plans for redesigning the system, Maguire added that any changes to the industrial design would not affect the size of PSP's screen - widely seen as one of the system's key strengths - which is "fixed". He did not offer any suggestions as to when the new iteration might be released.

A reworked PSP has been rumoured for months, but this is the first time a Sony executive has gone on record to confirm the company's plans. Aside from a reduction in size and weight, Maguire did not suggest any additional changes to the hardware.

If the cost of components for the reworked PSP is less, the machine itself could also carry a lower price tag. It currently retails for GBP 179.

Cutting the size and cost of console hardware has been standard practice for Sony since it introduced PSone in 2000, five-and-a-half years after the Japanese launch of the original PlayStation. The slimline PStwo launched four years after PlayStation 2.

Following the PSP in Education event, a Sony spokesperson told GamesIndustry.biz that while there are no "immediate changes" planned for the handheld other than new firmware updates, "In the longest term, of course we are always looking at ways to continue our platform development, and this normal business practice is what Ray was referring to."

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