The PSP has finally launched in Europe. With stock spread thin across the UK on day one, most of the initial allocation has now been snapped up, and retailers claim you'll be hard pressed to get hold of one until Sony ships the next batch in a few weeks' time. But, as is so often the case with the launch of new console hardware, there were a few units kept aside for those determined enough to spend most of the day camped outside high street stores. In London, HMV's midnight opening drew a crowd of around 300 people. At the front of the queue were Londoners Paul Arneil, and John and Louise Brock.
Eurogamer: How long have you been waiting here?
Paul Arneil: A very long time. I started queuing here at midday, and the launch is at midnight, so I've been here about 11 hours.
Eurogamer: Didn't you consider buying one on import?
Paul Arneil: I did. I've got a couple of friends that bought them from the States. Personally, I want my machine from the UK. If there's a problem with it it's a lot easier to get it sorted out, and I want to prop up our economy, so I'm quite happy to buy the UK version.
Eurogamer: How do you feel about having to wait so long for it to come out over here?
Paul Arneil: It's quite annoying, actually. I'm not sure why the UK and Europe is always last to get stuff. They must have a very good reason, but I don't know what it is.
Eurogamer: Have you got a DS?
Paul Arneil: No, I avoided buying a DS, mainly because I knew the PSP was coming out, and I looked at the two of them and said, Well which one do I want? I'm not going to buy both.' The DS has a massive back catalogue, but I don't like the look of the machine itself. I don't want to spend all my gaming time twiddling with my thumb and finger on a screen. It's a nice idea, but to me it's a bit of a gimmick. I don't think they're going to bring out quality games that utilise it in a major way. I want a larger, more impressive screen, which I get with the PSP. Games look more impressive on the PSP.
It's hard to decide which console to go for, but the PSP looks like such a fantastic machine. It's up there with iPod in terms of desirability. And that's why I'm prepared to wait 12 hours and then probably collapse when I buy my PSP.
Eurogamer: How long have you two been here?
John Brock: I've been here since 12 noon, 12 hours.
Louise Brock: Since 2 o'clock.
John Brock: The UK always has to wait last for everything. Japan gets everything first, then America gets it, and then we get it last six or 12 months later. It's just the point of having to get it now; I just want to get it. I could have bought one online, but if you get dead pixels or something, then you can't go back to them and get a refund.
Eurogamer: Are you that bothered about the possibility of dead pixels?
John Brock: Yes. I don't want it. I want it perfect. I don't want to have to wait so long for a product and then have it faulty.
Eurogamer: Have you bought a DS?
John Brock: No I haven't, I avoided buying it because I knew the PSP was hot on its heels. I mean, it's a lot better to look at.
Eurogamer: What do you think of the price point?
John Brock: I think it's ridiculous, and I think the deal HMV's offering is ridiculous as well, but I'm going to buy it because I want it! I haven't queued up for 12 hours for no reason!
Eurogamer: What games are you going to get for it?
John Brock: I'm going to get Ridge Racers and Wipeout Pure, because they look amazing. I was going to get Metal Gear Ac1d, but I've got a friend who's got one, and it's crap. Every time you do three moves you've got to use cards to do it. That's not Metal Gear Solid.
Eurogamer: Do you think £180's a lot of money for it?
Louise Brock: I think it's a hell of a lot of money. I mean, it does a lot of other stuff that you wouldn't normally get on a handheld, but at the same time it's pretty bad.
Eurogamer: What made you queue up for 10 hours for this?
Louise Brock: He did, my brother! I wanted to keep him company.
Eurogamer: Don't you think this is all a bit odd?
Louise Brock: It's a bit mad, but everyone's got to have a hobby.