PSP garners massive third party software support

Nearly 100 companies signed up already.

Software support for the PlayStation Portable is set to get off to a flying start, with almost 100 developers and publishers having already committed to making games for the Sony machine.

31 European companies have already signed up, including Ubisoft, Codemasters, Eidos, Atari, Acclaim, Argonaut, Criterion, Team 17, Revolution, Warthog, Kuju, Rebellion and Ignition. And Japanese support is predictably impressive, with Capcom, Konami, Square Enix, Namco, Sega, Tecmo, KOEI and Bandai among the 34 companies set to make titles for the PSP. North American support includes Activision, Electronic Arts, LucasArts, Midway, Rockstar/Take Two, THQ, and Factor 5.

The list, however, cheats a little by - for example - naming five different Konami divisions, and bolstering the figures by naming individual developers alongside the publishers that will distribute the games. 10 South Korean companies are also listed, but not one of them is a recognisable name: Cinepix anyone? Expototato? Seed9? No, we hadn't heard of them, either.

Still, the list bodes well for a fleshed out launch line-up that has every chance of allowing the system to hit the ground running and carve Sony an impressive niche in the handheld gaming market.

How many of those companies will be using the machine as an excuse to engage in the usual shovelware tactics is open to question. Judging by the quick-fire video of numerous familiar titles at the Sony press conference yesterday, it's unlikely to be a machine you'll see too many new and original titles emerging in the early stages as publishers aim to play it safe and produce games the are cheap to develop and more likely to have mass market appeal.

Although we caught fleeting glimpses of titles such as Metal Gear Acid, GT, Formula One, Wipeout, Ape Escape and Dynasty Warriors, the only titles actually talked about came from EA, which has a four-strong launch line up featuring Need For Speed Underground, NFL Street, NBA Street and Tiger Woods PGA Golf.

Initial impressions are that the games look astonishingly close to PS2 quality, but whether those titles work within the confines of a small screen remains to be seen - and question marks have been raised over the battery life claims Sony is making.

We'll bring you the full list of titles later today, along with our impressions of the PSP itself and the games shown off at the event.

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