February 3, 2005 11:47 AM PST

PlayStation Portable coming next month

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Sony is set to launch another battle in the emerging handheld-game war when it brings its PlayStation Portable to North America next month.

After months of speculation, the electronics giant on Thursday set a stateside time and date for the device. The PSP will go on sale in the United States and Canada on March 24 for $250.

That price buys a bundle with several extras, most notably a copy of the Sony film "Spider-Man 2" loaded on the new 1.8GB Universal Media Disc (UMD) format Sony has debuted with the PSP.


What's new:
The speculation is over. Sony has pinpointed March 24 as the North American arrival date of the PlayStation Portable.

Bottom line:
By packaging the PSP with such extras as the movie "Spider-Man 2," Sony is seeking to promote the device as more than just a game box. Will that blur the company's marketing message?

More stories on Sony PSP

Jack Tretton, executive vice president for Sony Computer Entertainment America, said that while the PSP has primarily been designed as a game device, Sony wants to make it clear from the start that it can do more.

"There's no question from a corporate standpoint that this is a true convergence device," Tretton said. "Having the movie content right in the box will show consumers that from Day One."

Schelley Olhava, an analyst for research company IDC, said the inclusion of "Spider-Man 2" in the PSP package is a surprising choice. "Sony has to walk a very careful marketing path now," she said. "People are going to buy this to play games. When you start packaging other things with it, that kind of blurs the message."

The strategy is particularly risky, Olhava said, if Sony is unable to get other music and movie companies to quickly support the UMD format.

"They're definitely putting a stake in the ground saying, 'This is not just a video game system,'" she said. "The question is how quickly they're going to have other content available. If all you have is 'Spider-Man 2' for the first year, that's not going to be very persuasive."

Sony revealed plans for the PSP last year, positioning it as potential breakthrough machine that would do for digital media what the Walkman did for analog music. Besides the new UMD media format, the device includes built-in wireless networking and 3D graphics capabilities.

But the PSP has been a difficult birth for Sony, with the company dogged by development and production issues that pushed back the device's North American introduction and limited its Japanese launch in December to 200,000 units.

The PSP brings Sony into a tough market long dominated by Nintendo's Game Boy devices. Nintendo is looking to expand its lead with the new DS, and advanced handheld-game players with capabilities such as wireless networking and touch-sensitive screens.

Nintendo launched the DS in North America in late November, and the gadget quickly became the hot item of the holiday shopping

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There really is such a thing as love at first sight.
I've never been into portable gaming in any big way. I own an original Gameboy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Adv. All of them are fun but *shrugs* Not that big of a deal.

Last week a friend of mine let me touch his precious. NO you sick perv! ;-) I'm talking his Imported PSP. Honestly its probably one of the sexiest portables I've ever played with. (And I've played with just about every one out there from the Lynx to the Nomad.) The form alone screams supermodel of the portable world. The the clear sidebuttons were a really nice touch. The analog thumbstick is its best feature. Second is its ultra sharp widescreen display. The only down side I saw was load times. In some cases it took something like 5-10 seconds to load, which is somewhat of a buzzkill. Other then that Sony has a serious contender on its hands.
I still think the Game Boy will still remain on the top of the heap simply because of price. $250 is a whole hell of a lot of money for a portable gaming system but you are getting one hell of a system for that money.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ayup, she's a beaut'
As an avid console and game collector, I'm an easy sell. I'm greatly looking forward to bringing along my DS and my PSP on business trips. Since they both seem to get pretty mediocre battery life, when one dies, I'll just switch to the other. Of course, we'll just have to wait and see.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Looks like a another winner
This Looks like a another winner for sony
play station game players... I like it a
whole not more then the nintendo duel screen.
me for one, I have a little trouble with 2
screens at one time...from denny
Posted by dennis e (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$250, not bad at all
Many are complaining on the price saying it won't be able to compete with other portable gaming devices. Well, it's not really competing straight out with other gaming devices, it's the first true portable media device. I've never bought any of the other gaming devices since to me they were too expensive for the graphics quality of the games and size of the screens. Now that this one is coming out, I can have ONE device to carry with me on my trips, giving me all my needs in one package.
1. I want music, but since I don't play AS much as most others, 512MB - 1GB is more than enough for me. Great sound in this one.
2. I of course want nice graphical games with better bigger screen. This one has that, finally.
3. I've always wanted a small portable device to watch movies on. This one is handy for that. Fits one 90min movie with quite good quality on around 600-700MB on a mem stick.
4. I need a portable device to check out my digital camera images on the road. This one's size of screen is perfect for that and give good and accurate picture quality.
All that for $250. Creatives portable media center, with worse image quality, costs more than that. So the rest is for free :)
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Business Trip >> Extra Battery!! (Unlike iPod)
hey people don't be misled about short on battery life!!
This is not an iPod, you can take out the flat battery and swap with an extra one for another 4 hours. The extra battery only cost about 40 dollars.

Also I don't like what the story says about packaging the Spiderman Movie is a bad thing.

People has never been able to experience what it is like to watch a film using the PSP quality screen. It's like a chicken and egg question.
If people doesn't know if they like it or not, then no content provider will release media using the PSP. If no media on the PSP, then of course people will not use it as a multimedia device.

This is a new thing. But, once 1 million people have watched the PSP and thinks that the PSP is generally good enough for watching a movie on the go, this would be the first step for the Sony PSP multimedia plan. Then other content providers will seriously start thinking using the PSP to show movies, music videos, etc.

Gaming wise, I don't think people will be confused whether the PSP is for games or for multimedia devices since the PSP's hardware technically is far superior than its closest competitor, NDS.
Games like Ridge Racer on the PSP play and looks far better than NDS, and people knows that if they want a 3D sophiscated game to play on the go, they don't have to bother searching through the NDS titles.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wow your posture must be aweful
I don't quite know how people will feel sitting 90minutes holding
this thing in your hands peering at a small screen. I will use
mine for short gaming sessions but nothing longer than 45
minutes. It's unhealthy for the eyes and your spine. One more
thing the iPod is buit as an all in one enclosure so if people
wanted to buy a device with removable battery they would buy a
fugly zen (with a user interface straight from the iPod). As for
batteries they are harmful to the environment so the fewer
around the better.
Posted by Filip Remplakowski (91 comments )
Link Flag
Reasonable price and strong software lineup. PSP is going to be a winner in portable game industry :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DVD-->UMD? If not, UMD=DOA
will there be an easy way for the "mom/pop" consumer to copy dvd's to the umd format (i'm sure there will be hacks, but i mean something the movie companies wage legal war on)? if not, umd is doa. very few folks will be interested in buying a copy of a movie that's restricted to viewing on a technically inferior (for movie watching) device that can't be played in their home theater. Sony should have learned this long ago, but they're always trying to lock up their customers with new, unproven formats.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who cares?
Don't forget the reason why PS2 and XBox have to fight for pirated software is because they use "standard" format. And why watch DVD on such a small screen?
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Older Audience
For those of us older than the age of 15 or 16, I personally would not use this as a gaming device on my flights. Most of us that go on flights would have a laptop and why not just use that for viewing movies and playing games. The screen is 4 to 5x bigger and the batter will last the same amount as the PSP. In my opinion a very nice device that does have many nice features, but will not be as practical as Sony suggests.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Be aware of this products' flaws.
There are major flaws with this product, mostly engineering flaws with the casing and placement of the components.

Look around on Google. You'll find *tons* of people discussing the issue with discs ejecting "randomly", the digital pad actually pushing on the TFT display (yes, that's right, pushing on the right directional pad puts pressure on the TFT), and the famous stuck-square-button problem.

Avoid this product until Sony is able to release a 2nd generation version -- that is, IF they do. The CEO of Sony has justified the flaws by saying "But it is the most gorgeous thing ever created!" Yes, that's an exact quote.

Buyer beware.
Posted by katamari (310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Please Don't Forget
When people receive good service, they tell 10 people. When people receive bad service, they tell 100. I totally understand why people are screaming for those flaws because they want to complain (ow whine, for that matter.) And what do you mean by "major"? Is it "major" under your definition, under those angry customers' definition, under happy customers' definition, or under Sony's definition? Moreover those people who complain about major flaws, are they really have PSP on their hands or they just complain because they can? Don't forget, Sony already sold over 800,000 PSP units in JP, and the demand is still going strong. It is still a powerful, sleek, and innovative portable console, and the competition will be fierce.
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Link Flag
Ipod givaways a scam--NOT
Those free ipod givaways are not a scam. <a href="http://*******.com/3nq6r">Gratis Networks</a>, the site owners, actually earn a living from the sign ups (which are easy to cancel). They were featured on a recent edition of NetTv. Check out these stories:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://*******.com/3nq6r" target="_newWindow">http://*******.com/3nq6r</a>
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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