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Sony PSP in 'popular' shock

Brits queue round block; Aussies more casual

Sony's PlayStation Portable arrived - officially, at least - in the UK last night to cries of joy from the hundreds of would-be buyers who had queued up buy one.

The handheld console also launched in Australia today, though punters down under will have got their hands on the machine many hours ahead of their British counterparts.

Sony Computer Entertainment UK chief Ray Maguire was this morning quoted as saying he expects 100,000 or so of the handheld consoles to ship during the first day, though a good proportion of those will be the pre-orders most retailers have been taking since April.

According to Maguire, store stock is available "only in pockets" - almost all of each retailer's allocation has gone to service pre-orders, he said.

Maguire, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, said Sony "should" be able to keep up with demand for the PSP as retailers cope with the launch and then the run-up to Christmas.

"We've got more stock coming in, obviously, on a daily basis all the way up to Christmas," he said, "so hopefully there should be sufficient, there or thereabouts, to satisfy the demand."

It's taken a while for the PSP to arrive in Europe. Originally, scheduled for a late March launch, alongside the US debut, the UK arrival was subsequently put back to April, then June before finally being pegged to 1 September.

When Sony launched the PSP in the US on 1 April, some 500,000 units were sold in the first two days.

According to the Australian newspaper, some 25,000 AUD400 PSPs were on pre-order ahead of the launch, with Sony anticipating some 15,000 further sales across counters and online during the first four days of availability. ®

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