Sony perplexes with budget PSP E-1000 for Europe

Sony introduces a bare-bones PSP that is more retro than the full version PSP 3000 for the European market this holiday season. But you won't believe where they cut the fat.

Not only did Sony reveal new prices and an Infamous 2 bundle for the PlayStation 3 at Gamescom 2011 in Germany today, it also surprised by announcing a new PSP for Europe this fall, with no plans to bring the device to America at all according to ThisIsMyNext.

Priced at a budget-friendlier €99.99 (approximately $144 US as of this writing), Sony clearly wants to win the handheld console game this holiday by offering a cheaper alternative to the newly discounted Nintendo 3DS. With the PlayStation Vita delayed until 2012, Sony is expecting the redesigned PSP E-1000 to save its hide this year in the mobile gaming market. But the company may have trimmed the fat in all the wrong places.

One of the features that Sony feels the E-1000 can do without is built-in Wi-Fi. Yes, this budget model lacks Wi-Fi, which means no online play for titles like Killzone: Liberation, and no direct connection with the PlayStation Store to download new games, to stream movies from the PS3 to enjoy on this PSP, or to check emails. To access Sony's online services, you would have to link the e-1000 up to a computer with 'net connection via USB. Loading new PlayStation Store games onto the E-1000 would require downloading the games to a computer using Sony's Media Go software, before transferring the files to the PSP. Perhaps Sony is aiming for a retro device with first-gen iPod feel?

It's undeniable that this redesigned PSP looks the most refined yet, with a Charcoal Black matte finish that references the slimmer PS3. The fact that it is backwards compatible with the full PSP catalog of games (including UMDs) actually makes this version a better choice than the upcoming Vita, which has no UMD slot.

I guess such a bare-bones PSP could appeal to gamers who don't care for the device's online entertainment options and only want to play by themselves, but the convenience of being able to access the Web directly on the device -- a feature that is almost second-nature in most new gadgets -- outweighs the minor cost savings, in my opinion. Considering the full, Euro-version of the PSP 3000 costs just $68 more than the E-1000, I think the more flexible user experience that the PSP with Wi-Fi affords is a better value than the so-called budget version. What do you think? Would you prefer the E-1000 over the full version PSP?

[Source: Sony Europe PlayStation blog via ThisIsMyNext,]