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The E3: Sony's worst-kept secret confirmed

Sony's PlayStation Portable range has a funky new addition - the PSP Go - which was announced at the E3 Expo yesterday.

"Given this industry's ability to keep confidential information.." started Sony Computer Entertainment of America president Jack Tretton's presentation, as the thousands-strong crowd of media fell about laughing.

Tretton was referring to massive leaks that saw details of the smaller version of the handheld device pour out across the internet in recent days.

The new device, toting a slick slide-out keypad, will not replace the current 'slimline' version of the PSP (PSP3000), which will continue to be sold he said.

PSP Go will release in the US and Europe on 1 October - priced at US $249 or 249 euro. It is not yet known when the device will arrive in New Zealand.

Like its stablemate, the Go will feature WiFi, but will add Bluetooth and a micro card slot, plus 16 gigabytes of in-built flash memory.

It features no UMD drive (Universal Media Disc) as per the first-generation PSP - this has been eschewed in repsonse to game buyers' acceptance of downloaded content. While games will primarily be offered for sale online via the PlayStation Network, there is still a core of gamers who preferred a more tactile disc-in-hand experience, so UMDs will continue to be marketed and sole.

Another string to the PSP bow will be PC Access Media - a Windows-based application to download and manage content for the device via a direct connection to the PS store.

Sense Me is another new tool, which will check music in the device's library and suggest alternative tracks that may appeal to each gamer.

Games on the Go

One surprise announcement game-wise for the handheld at yesterday's press conference was that Gran Turimso - the highly-evolved driving simulator exclusive to PlayStation - will be released at the same time as the new PSP.

The successful franchise's creator, Polyphony Digtal boss Kazunori Yamauchi assured the crowd via an interpreter that the game would not be a "shrunken down subset of the series".

It will run at 60 frames per second, and will feature a massive 800 cars and 35 tracks. Up to four players can compete in Ad Hoc mode, and will be able to trade and share cars in each of their garages.

A comprehensive trailer of Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker was presented by legendary creator Hideo Kojima, filling in the "missing link" after

MGS3. It is set in the 1970s where MGS3 ended. Kojima was also quick to assure the crowd that PSP version would lose nothing in translation: "This is a true sequel of the Metal Gear Solid series, it is not a spin-off or a side story," he said.

The game - not expected until 2010 - looks to make use of the Ad Hoc instant network feature of the PSP.

Other PSP titles on the horizon include Resident Evil Portable (2010), Little Big Planet, a SOCOM title, MotoStorm Arctic Edge, a Harry Potter title and - for tween girls - a Hannah Montana game that comes bundled with an alarming purple version of the device.

Matt Greenop is a guest of Sony PlayStation at the E3 Expo

Taken from the New Zealand Herald