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Sony confirms Euro PSP slippage

'A few months not a few weeks'

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Sony has confirmed that the European launch of the PlayStation Portable has been delayed yet again, to ensure the US gets sufficient units to meet anticipated demand.

Sony is usually unwilling to comment on hardware release dates, but in a rare moment of openness, the company last night told Reuters that it had put back the European launch.

According to a Sony spokesman, no firm date has been set for the European release, despite Amazon.co.uk yesterday listing 24 June as the big day. Some other retailers, such as HMV, have the date down as 6 June.

Certainly it will be "a few months rather than a few weeks", the spokesman said, working from the original late March ship date rather than the more recent late April date the launch was already believed to have slipped to.

The cause of the delay is Sony's inability to make enough consoles for both markets. It wants to launch the PSP in the US with 1m units and "continuity of supply thereafter". The US launch is still scheduled for 24 March - almost a week away.

Sony's delay will be music to the ears of Nintendo and Gizmondo, the left-field challenger from the UK, which ships its handheld console on Saturday, 20 March. That's probably why Sony is suddenly willing to talk about the delay - the last thing it wants is to risk customers getting fed up of waiting and shifting their allegiance to a competitor's product. ®

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