Europe Might Have To Wait for PSP

According to rumors based on a comment from a Sony spokesperson,the company has chosen to satisfy the American market’s hunger for its newPSP (Playstation Portable) and delay the launch of the product in Europe andparts of Asia, a move one analyst said made strategic sense.

“Over the long haul, Europe can be expected to account for over 30 percentof the portable market,” David Cole, president of DFC Intelligence, toldTechNewsWorld.

“However, with the launch of a new system like the PSP, Sonyis very supply-constrained. It makes sense to do a U.S. launch first becausethe U.S. is one unified market as opposed to Europe, which is morechallenging because it is several diverse markets. Sony would probably liketo launch in all markets at once, but logistics just make that extremelydifficult.”

US Launch March 24

The hand-held console, which can play music and video files as well as games,will be available in the United States on March 24, but only as part of a$250 “value pack,” Sony said.

The bundle comes with 32 MB Memory Stick Duoexpansion card, headphones, battery pack, A/C adapter and a package of gamedemonstrations. The first million packs will also contain a copy of themovie “Spider-Man 2.”

PSP uses Sony’s proprietary Universal Media discs(UMD) for storage, and the movie will be in that format. The unit will playMP3s and MPEG4s, but files must be stored on UMDs.

Sales Figures

The PSP debuted in Japan in December, where consumers snatched up 200,000 onits first day of release. By the beginning of January, that number was abovehalf a million.

Japanese sales of the rival Nintendo DS were at 1.3million, but in a weekly comparison, the PSP outsold the DS in late Januaryfor the first time.

Nintendo’s DS costs US$199 and has been out in the United States sinceNovember.

Rumor Mill

The rumor stems from comments made by Japan-based Sony spokesperson KenichiFukunaga, who is reported to have said that “because demand for PSPs issurpassing production capacity, we are now reconsidering the timing of salesin Europe and Asia.”

It could be months after the U.S. release before the PSP is released inEurope and the rest of Asia.

“By summer, we will be able to manage to meet global demand as ourproduction capacity will be raised to two million units a month,” Fukunagasaid.

Sony said 24 PSP games would be available within two weeks of the launch.Prices for the games will start at $40. Nintendo DS game prices start at$30.

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