Sony formally announced it will launch its PlayStation Portable Player (PSP) in the United States on March 24 at a $249.95 suggested retail price.
The price will be $100 more than what Nintendo is asking for its very successful Nintendo DS handheld game system, which launched prior to the 2004 holidays.
Sony is billing the device as being more than a portable game console (see TWICE Jan., 17, 2005, p 8). In addition to playing video games, the PSP can be used to play digital music files, and feature movies produced on new Universal Media Discs.
The price will include a copy of Spider-Man 2 on the PSP’s Universal Media Disc (UMD) optical medium, along with a bundle of accessories, including earphones, remote control, carry case and a 32MB Memory Stick.
Sony will target an older audience than Nintendo, a practice that it used successfully in marketing its home-based PlayStation consoles.
Sony said the PSP will be supported with the release of 24 titles within two weeks after the hardware launch, from such game publishers as Electronic Arts, Activision and Konami. Titles will include “FIFA 2005,” “Metal Gear Acid,” “Need for Speed Rivals” and “Twisted Metal: Head On.”
Sony said it expects to ship 1 million units in the United States for the launch.
On Dec. 12, Sony first launched the PSP in Japan, where sales are rapidly catching up to the Nintendo DS system. There the PSP is sold without accessories for approximately $189. Sony has not announced such an option for the United States.