Sony said Monday that it would drop the price of the PSP Go in Japan from 26,800 yen, or about $332, to 16,800 yen, or roughly $208, the Reuters news agency reported. In the U.S., gamers would also see a price cut this month, with the PSP Go selling for $50 less at $199.
Sony won't say how many of the portable gaming devices it has sold since its release a year ago. When it was introduced, the PSP Go was seen as a new direction for Sony, which had dumped the use of a separate optical disk for playing games. Unlike its predecessors, the PSP Go only played games downloaded from either a Wi-Fi connection or the PlayStation 3 console.
Other features meant to differentiate the PSP Go included a more compact design that cut its weight by 43%, when compared to the previous model, the PSP-3000. The latter, however, has a slightly larger screen.
Nevertheless, sales of PSPs in general have failed to keep up with their rival, the Nintendo DS. In August, Nintendo sold more than four times as many DS portables than Sony sold PSPs.
But the growing competitor to Sony and Nintendo in the portable gaming market is the smartphone and other Internet-connected devices. Paid and free games available for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch; and devices running Google's Android operating system have diverted many would-be players away from the PSP and the DS.
The number of game-capable handsets far surpasses that of dedicated gaming devices, and the gap is expected to grow even further in the future, according to iSuppli. By the end of this year, phones with gaming platforms are forecast to reach 1.27 billion units worldwide, up 11.4% from last year. On the other hand, portable consoles, such as the PSP and DS, will reach 38.9 million units, a decline of 2.5% from 2009.