Sony says the successor to the PSP, known as the Next Generation Portable, won’t be too expensive. In fact, it says it deliberately avoided putting as much stuff into it as it wanted, in order to keep the cost down.
The company appears to have learned a lesson from the PS3. The home console device was originally priced as high as $600. Even still, Sony was taking a huge hit on every PS3 sold.
But even though gamers were getting quite a deal when they bought a PS3, many just couldn’t afford a $600 game machine. So, Sony had to strip away PS2 backward compatibility and two USB ports to bring down the price. And now, the PS3 is finally starting to sell formidably against its competitors.
Those decisions – to remove expensive parts of the product – are being made BEFORE the NGP hits the market this time.
This means stuff like having in-game XMB, which Sony could do, won’t be happening.
“There’s no point putting everything you want into a device and doing the math later. We always had the price and consumer in mind. We had to sell something that people could buy,” said Sony Computer Entertainment president Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Edge magazine.
Sony hasn’t officially announced the price of the NGP, but GameStop and other retailers have listed it at $300, which would be $50 more than Nintendo’s own upcoming handheld system, the 3DS, and the same price as a PS3.
$300 is still a barrier for a lot of money-conscious consumers, but it is stomachable. That’s not an unheard-of price for a video game device, like the PS3 had.
It’s good to see Sony learning from past mistakes. Although there will surely be gamers who would have paid $500 for an NGP with all the trimmings who will be disappointed they have to settle with the more mass market-friendly device.