Sony’s PSP hits US stores March 24, Europe has to wait
Posted on : 2005-02-04| Author : Mike Burns
News Category : Technology
With all the hype built around Sony’s PlayStation Portable, gadget-geeks and gamers from Europe are looking forward to getting the system.
However, sources at Sony confirmed that the launch on March 24 was for the US markets, particularly North America. The company would make an official announcement about the European launch in the coming weeks.
The media wrote paeans of praise for the gadget when it was debuted at the CES last month. Sony projected the product as much more than a gaming machine – ‘a portable entertainment device’.
Its many features include Memory Sticks, on which music downloaded from Sony’s online musicstore.connect.com, could be stored, and a 4.3in widescreen display on which one can watch movies and videos.
The handheld device also has wireless capability which has greatly excited gamers because they can now have interactivity between the PSP and Sony’s PlayStation-2. Games such as Twisted Metal: Head On will make use of this capability.
The value pack with which the PSP will be launched will include a 32-megabyte memory card, headphones, a sampler disc with songs, movie clips, at least two dozen games and game demos. The launch stocks (first 1 million units) will also have a UMD version of the movie Spiderman-2 home unit. The price for the value pack is set at $249.
Gaming enthusiasts in North America are not sure how many PSPs will be released on March 24. The marketing people have ensured that the product will have a waiting demand. Stores in some parts are even taking deposits as advance against the purchase of the gadget when it arrives.
European retailers speculate that Sony may not have the capability to mass produce such a complex electronic device.
Some insist that it’s purely a commercial choice – the US is the second biggest market after Japan for such products. Europe is much behind in demand numbers. Hence Sony probably thought it wiser to concentrate supply in the US, to begin with.
Sources at Sony too seem either tight-lipped or ignorant about how many units of the device will be delivered to the market in the US.
It is expected that other game-makers like Nintendo will feel threatened by the arrival of Sony’s PSP. A senior staffer from marketing said “The company did not want the PSP to compete with other handheld gaming devices. That is the reason we positioned it as a portable entertainment device with lots of features. As we did with the PlayStation and PlayStation-2, and before that with the walkman, this time too, we are offering consumers a completely new world, a whole new concept.”