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Sony selects 25 March 05 for Euro PSP launch

How close will it be to the DS debut?

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Sony will launch the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in Europe on 25 March 2005, according to the company's own retailer-oriented sales and marketing documentation.

So notes UK website Spong, which claims to have seen said "official" information.

That Sony has been planning to ship PSP over here by the end of Q1 2005 is no great surprise. Certainly, the company's recent annual strategy meeting featured a company roadmap which clearly pegged the handheld's US and European release to late fiscal 2004 - Sony's current financial year ends 31 March 2005, six days after the European launch date cited by Spong.

That said, back in May this year, reports were pointing to 18 March 2005 as the date for PSP's European debut. Both dates are Fridays, a traditional release day for games consoles. The new date is only a week after the old one, giving Sony seven extra days to punch out more PSPs from its production plants.

Sony rival Nintendo will announce the European release date for its DS handheld console early next month. Again, DS' launch date was previously reported as taking place on 18 March 2005, so Sony may well have moved its own date to avoid a clash.

Spong claims that Sony is already pitching PSP to retailers and is touting the idea that they give over shelf space exclusively to the new console. What Sony is offering in return - if indeed it is proffering such a plan - is not known.

Nintendo launched DS in Japan yesterday, and said that the US launch, which took place on Monday, 29 November had seen 500,000 units sold within the first week. ®

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