Two strikingly similar announcements came out of Gamescom over the past two days. During a press conference yesterday, Sony unveiled the PSP-E1000, a discounted PlayStation Portable that can still run UMDs but lacks WiFi. Today, Nintendo revealed a new Wii bundle featuring a slightly redesigned console that will not be compatible with GameCube software or accessories.
The PSP-E1000, currently priced at €99.99, is the fifth version of Sony’s handheld and follows the company’s track record of trimming features as it lowers prices (most notably, Sony has removed PS2 compatibility, two USB ports, and the OtherOS feature from the PlayStation 3 since launch). The PSP Go, discontinued outside of North America, launched without a drive for Sony’s proprietary UMD format. E1000 owners will be able to enjoy their UMDs just fine, but without WiFi, they’ll have to rely on Sony’s Media Go software (which is incompatible with OS X) to make any game purchases from the PlayStation Store.
The new horizontal-sitting Wii (above picture courtesy Eurogamer) will launch in Europe for the holiday season and will replace the original Wii model. While Nintendo often iterates rapidly on its handhelds, this is the first major redesign of the Wii. The removal of GameCube compatibility is unfortunate, but the core audience looking for this feature has likely purchased a Wii already. Nintendo’s new model is aimed at rounding up the last of the casual market, seeing that it’s being bundled with Wii Party and Wii Sports.
Neither company’s talking about releases outside of Europe, but a cost-friendly redesign could help extend both products' lifespans in any market.
Source: Nintendo, Sony