Foster City, Calif. — Gearing up for the holiday selling season, Sony’s Computer Entertainment unit released an updated version of its popular PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld video game player, the PS-3000, as the corporate parent boosted worldwide PSP sales forecasts by 1 million units for the year.
Like the most recent version of the device, the new unit offers a compact, lightweight form factor that was significantly reduced from the launch iteration, but adds a built-in microphone and higher-resolution screen, which is said to produce a wider color gamut, a deeper contrast ratio and anti-reflection technology.
Sony launched the new $199 suggested retail version Oct. 14 in a bundle called the Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP Entertainment Pack. The kit includes a limited-edition silver version of the new player, a copy of the game Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, a copy of Nicolas Cage’s “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” movie on UMD, a voucher to download EchoChrome from the PlayStation Store, and a 1GB Memory Stick PRO Duo for download storage.
Sony said it plans to offer the PS-3000 player in a standalone package later in the year at a price to be announced.
Sony said it has also recently released a new firmware update (v. 5.00) for the PSP that brings direct access to the PlayStation Store to the unit, enabling users to download games directly to their system over a Wi-Fi connection.
Sony’s corporate parent in Japan said at the end of October that it expects to beat its sales forecast for its PSP for the year to March.
Sales of Sony’s PSP are expected to hit 16 million units this year, up from the prior 15 million unit forecast, the company said.