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Sony: PSP will ship by year's end

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Sony has once again reiterated its plan to ship PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Japan by the end of the year and in Europe and the US during Q1 2005.

Sony Computer Entertainment CTO Masa Chatani - interviewed by Japanese gaming site Famitsu, with a translation coming courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz - said last week that the handheld console will ship by the end of 2004.

"Our plan to sell the PSP within the year is secure as well," he said, "so please be at ease."

Sony's proposed ship date has certainly been called into question. Analysts have pointed to the relative late arrival of PSP software development kits with console hardware, and the knock-on effect that will have on the availability of games for the new machine.

Games developers are believed to have been working with emulators, so the arrival of quality titles may not be as much of an issue as previously thought. Sony may well have enough games of its own up its sleeve to ship the product to gadget-hungry Japanese. That would give it up to three months to build up sufficient titles to win over European and US buyers.

Questions remain over aspects of the PSP's design, including battery life - just two hours, claimed a Nintendo executive last week - its size and the availability of content on the handheld's Universal Media Disc format.

It has to be said, most of the folk mentioning these potential pitfalls are Sony competitors. The manufacturer itself is keeping very quiet about it, presumably after having last year to drop a number of promised PSX features in order to meet its ship date. ®

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