E3 2009: PSP Go! Confirmed? PS3 Slim Really Coming?

Sony's PSP Go! will be lighter, less expensive, and less power hungry, says a "mole" dropping hints to tech-talk site Ars Technica. That, and Sony's rumored PS3 Slim is real, it's coming in August or September, and it'll only be spotted behind closed doors at next week's E3.

For the UMD-no-more PSP Go!, see "Sony PSP Go! Reportedly Scooped, But What's Missing?" and our own little scoop, "Exclusive: Sony PSP Go! Storage Tech Revealed." Aside from the more or less predictable bits about weight, price, and power in the latest scuttlebutt, the only thing new is that Ars is saying its debut at E3 next week is virtually certain. Actually scratch that: We knew it was certain when our own source said as much weeks ago.

Regarding the PS3 Slim, that rumor broke last week, sounded like bunk, but culminated in a "leaked" picture takedown request. That, as you'd expect, simply fired the breathless speculation, lent a trifle more credibility by this latest claim to the model's autumnal existence.

Why no PS3 Slim announcement at E3? Product Sales 101. Sony needs to clear the channel of its existing big-fat-anvil-sized PS3 stock. Also the same reasons Sony's PSP and PS2 "slim" iterations took time to appear after rumors of their existence percolated.

The PSP Go!'s (or whatever it's actually called) rumored lack of a second analog nub pretty much curbed my enthusiasm for the part, to be honest. So what can Sony do to regain its "gotcha!" momentum next week? Focus on the stuff no one's guessed at in any meaningful detail, e.g. its media (including games) download services and PS3 interoperability angle. Also: If there's a price drop, say from $170 down to a DS-competitive $130, that could very be highlight of the show, given how much more penetrative handheld unit sales have been in recent years. Microsoft's Xbox 360 just broke 30 million units worldwide, but Sony's PSP is nearing 50 million. You're talking a piece of portable tech that debuted just a few months prior to the Xbox 360, and which for the last year or so has only been a couple hundred bucks cheaper. The 360's sales are impressive. The PSP's sales are that much more so.

My pricing bet? $150 (or in stupid market-speak, $149.99). Why? Because it's a nice round number, quite possibly round enough to make Nintendo extremely nervous.

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