PlayStation Portable will launch in Europe on September 1st, Sony finally announced this week. Customers will be able to buy a PSP "Value Pack" for £179 (249) from that date.
The Value Pack consists of a PSP, a spongy pouch for keeping it clean and dry, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo for storing save data and small amounts of media, a battery pack, headphone unit with remote control, ACE adapter, fake-leather wrist strap, a cloth and a video/music/game sampler UMD.
As with the US launch, a number of early adopters will also receive a UMD copy of the film Spider-Man 2, although this will have to be claimed via the www.yourpsp.com website. In the US, it was bundled with the first million units of the system sold.
To put the PSP's European launch into perspective, its main rival the Nintendo DS retails for £99.99. The PSP will also come in at a higher price than current-generation home consoles PlayStation 2 (£104.99 SRP) and Xbox £99.99).
In Japan and the US, where the PSP launched on December 12th and March 24th respectively, the handheld is currently selling strongly, although Nintendo claims the DS is still outstripping PSP sales.
However its continued delay in Europe and Sony's lack of communication on the subject has frustrated both critics and fans.
As well as playing games from its proprietary Universal Media Discs, the PSP can play back films stored on UMD, as well as MP3s and MPEG-4 movies stored on Memory Stick Duo. Photos can also be displayed.
You can read much more about the PSP's feature-set and likely launch software in our recent appraisal of the US launch here.
Sony is positioning the device as the "must-have" technology item of 2005, and is expected to announce more initiatives to drive sales, including interaction with the as-yet unannounced PlayStation 3 home console, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next month.