Rumors of an upcoming PSP redesign have existed largely since the DS saw its first hardware upgrade last June. According to sources close to 1UP, some retailers aren’t happy with the soft selling PSP, suggesting they may pull the system unless Sony revitalizes its sales with either new hardware or a price drop. Sony’s PSP hardware shipments were down 72% from the same period last year according to the article.
While Sony has denied rumors of a revamped PSP for some time now, denials have been inconsistent at best. Just this week, Ray Maguire of Sony UK confirmed a PSP redesign saying a “smaller, lighter” version was on its way. A day later, head of UK PR David Wilson told CVG that Maquire’s statement was “blown out of proportion” and that “no immediate changes” were planned.
Though the PSP has sold well — especially considering previous handhelds up against the mighty portable king that is Nintendo — a sales boost couldn’t come at a better time. According to Bloomberg, “slower-than-expected PSP sales” and PS3 losses are both to blame for the current decline of Sony profits. In Japan, the DS outsells the PSP by about three to one, though sales of PSP in North America have been slightly better. So as the PS2 cash cow takes its final bow, if the PS3 can’t step it up at the moment, then perhaps it will be the PSP’s job.
GigaGamez has contacted Sony for comment. We’ll update as soon as we hear more.