Wi-Fi Free PSP: Too Little, Too Late

A few years ago, the concept of a Wi-Fi free PSP would have made sense. UMD based games were in plentiful supply, and Sony could have offered this new unit as a low cost alternative to gamers disinterested in downloading media from the company’s PlayStation Network.

Flash ahead to 2011, and the idea sounds ludicrous, yet that’s what Sony plans to support in the near future with a newly designed and Wi-Fi less model that will sell alongside the publisher’s fully featured PSP 3000.

While no official U.S. launch was revealed, the unit (known as a the E-1000) will sell in Europe for 100 Euros, which equates to roughly $144 U.S. dollars, a figure we think Sony will adjust, since the PSP 3000 Core Pack costs $129.99.

Why is it a bad idea? Well, have you seen the amount of PSP games at stores recently? Places like GameStop have plenty of used titles, most of which a.) lack a manual, b.) feature a beat up UMD (how people scratch the actual disc escapes us) and/or c.) come with a beat up case that may or may not feature the original artwork.

No Wi-Fi means no online multiplayer. Ever.

New games exist, but consumers may need to do some investigative work to track them down, and even then, we’re talking about a handful of copies, or perhaps just one. At the end of the day, we have to wonder if bouncing from store to store in order to locate that last copy of God of War: Ghost of Sparta is worth the effort.

Nixing Wi-Fi also means gamers will be unable to connect online with friends for some multiplayer. We can’t imagine the system selling well in Japan, where Capcom’s online enabled Monster Hunter series continues to dominate.

Bottom line, the new PSP would have served a greater purpose in 2008, and not today, when the world continues to embrace broadband and social networking.

To be fair, Sony re-launching PSP games like Invizimals at budget prices is commendable, but we need more than that. Clearly, the publisher is a bit out of touch with the current situation in stores like Best Buy and Target.

Message to Sony: Just release PlayStation Vita and give PSP a good old-fashioned Viking burial.

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