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Sony to ship PSP on 1 September - official

European release announced

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Sony's PlayStation Portable will launch in the UK and the rest of Europe on 1 September, the handheld console's maker revealed today.

Ending months of speculation fuelled by ever-slipping availability dates on a variety of retailers' websites, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) finally named the date.

From 1 September, European consumers will be able to get their hands on a PSP for £179 in the UK or €249 in the Euro zone. That's for the Value Pack, which includes not only the handheld console itself but also a 32MB MemoryStick, carry-case, earphones with remote control, battery pack, power adaptor, wrist-strap, game sample disc.

In a bid to drum up interest - as if it really needed to - SCEE said early adopters can get a free copy of the Spiderman 2 movie in UMD format if they register their console on yourpsp.com. It didn't say how many copies of the movie would be on offer, or when the giveaway will come to an end.

The new, official release date comes more than five months after Sony originally intended to ship the PSP in Europe. Initially held off to allow the company to increase the number of units made available to US buyers, the European launch was delayed first a month, into April, then to early summer and now late summer/autumn.

The delay, though disappointing, will allow Sony to push the PSP at a time when consumers are generally more likely to buy electronics kit than they are during the summer. And with a firm release date in place, Sony is less likely to lose to rival console vendors those buyers who might otherwise simply become fed up of waiting. Hanging on is easier if you know how long you'll have to wait. ®

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