updated 10:45 am EST, Fri February 13, 2009
PSP Hits 50m as PS3 Slumps
Sony today reached an unofficial milestone with news that it has sold its 50 millionth PSP. The achievement comes just over four years after the handheld PlayStation's launch in December 2004 and after two minor revisions to the design that have slimmed it down and added functionality, including a built-in mic in the PSP-3000 for game chat and Skype calls. The game system has also since gained direct access to a download store for PSP and PS1 games that has put increasing reliance on flash-based Memory Stick storage instead of the UMD disc format Sony initially pushed not just for games but for movies.
Regardless, the news comes on the heels of a poor January for Sony, which sold only 172,000 PSPs during the first month of the year. This and PS3 sales of 203,000 represent about a 25 percent drop versus the same month in 2008 and contrast sharply with the Xbox 360, which jumped a full third year-over-year to 309,000 consoles sold in the month. Sony's normally reliable PS2 has also plunged in sales and managed just 101,000 console sales, a 62 percent drop from the start of 2008.
Both the PSP and PS3 have had their sales struggles attributed to their high prices, which at $200 and $400 respectively cost more than the $130 and $250 of Nintendo's DS and Wii. Most Xbox 360s also cost significantly less than Sony's offerings. Sony has acknowledged the problems with the PS3 but has said it first needs to be profitable with the high-cost Blu-ray console before further price drops can take place.