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Sony PSP takes off on schedule

First run sold out in a day

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Although Sony's PlayStation Portable will sell this year in such small numbers, expected to be around 500,000 in total, and as such could have no real effect on Sony's numbers for 2004, the PSP still had the potential to adversely affect the company's share price.

If no one had wanted the device in its native Japan, Sony would have been staring at a 2005 devoid of a big profit maker.

Instead, when shops selling the device opened in Japan his week, there were long queues, and inside a day the first production run of 200,000 was more or less sold out.

This still doesn't give us a clue about whether or not Sony has displaced Nintendo as the favorite handheld games device, and it would be unfair to expect that to be clear one way or another until well into the second half of 2005 when they are no longer manufacturing-constrained. But Sony has avoided its first banana skin in a new market.

It is more than likely that Sony will hit its 3m device sales in the first quarter that it is aiming for and Nintendo DS will hit its 5m sales by the same timeframe, having come out slightly earlier. But there is already chat on Internet sites which suggests that gamers like the PSP more than the DS, so anything could happen.

The PSP supports MP3 playback for music, video playback using tiny DVD-style disks, USB and Wi-Fi links and gaming close to the quality of a PS2, all for around $180.

Copyright © 2004, Faultline

Faultline is published by Rethink Research, a London-based publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter is an assessment of the impact of the week's events in the world of digital media. Faultline is where media meets technology. Subscription details here.

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