While the Tokyo developer conference yesterday was used primarily to discuss the release date of the PlayStation 3, Sony Computer President Ken Kutaragi also discussed the future of the PSP – announcing a number of new hardware and software features.
The first new feature mentioned was support for video voice over IP (VVOIP), which Kutaragi indicated would be available from October via a webcam peripheral which he described as an EyeToy – although no suggestion was yet made that it would be used to play games, such as those for the PlayStation 2 device of the same name.
Kutaragi also confirmed rumors that support for Macromedia Flash games would be added to the PSP’s Web browser, as well as support for RSS feeds and global positioning satellite (GPS) functionality, although no timetable was given for these additions.
Perhaps the most unexpected announcement, though, was for an “E-Distribution” based emulator for the PSone, which would allow users to download original 32-bit era PlayStation games and play them on the PSP. No further details were given on the service, with a launch date yet to be set, and no information given on how games would be adapted to play with one analogue controller.
In addition, with the current PSP bundles only coming with a 32 megabyte memory card, it's unclear whether the download service implies a forthcoming larger capacity storage device for the portable, such as a hard drive, or whether the consumer is expected to buy larger storage mediums himself.
Finally, and most immediately notably, the most vital change for the PSP was a U.S. price cut from $249 to $199, announced by Sony Computer Entertainment America. However the newer cheaper bundle does not appear to include the 32MB Memory Stick Duo, soft case, remote control or headphones currently included in the value pack. No indication was given as to whether the price cut would be mirrored in Japan or Europe.