Sony has surprised the gaming industry by announcing a new budget model of its PSP handheld console.

The new console, called the PSP E-1000, was unveiled at the Gamescom conference in Cologne last night. The PSP E-1000 will retail at 99 Euros (a UK price has yet to be announced) but to make the new model hit that budget price, Sony has stripped back some of the console’s features.

Unlike the ill-fated PSP Go, which would only play digital download titles, the PSP E-1000 will feature a UMD drive compatible with all of the PSP’s disc-based games. The new model will not feature Wi-Fi, but gamers will still be able to download digital titles onto the new console by connecting to a PC through Sony’s Media Go service. The new console is reportedly heavier than other PSP models, and will come in a matte black finish. The console will release thie autumn.

The announcement caused some confusion among some, with questions over why Sony would be releasing a new model of the PSP when its hi-spec successor, the PlayStation Vita, will be released soon. The PSP has sold over 71 million units worldwide in its various guises already.

Also at the conference, Sony announced that its home console, the PlayStation 3, will receive an immediate global price cut, with the UK RRP falling to £215 for the 320GB model, and £199 for the 160GB version.



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