After months of speculation, Sony has announced that the PlayStation Portable will launch in Japan on December 12th 2004 priced 19,800 yen excluding tax (around €145), with 21 games due out before the end of the year.
The December 12th date puts the PSP on stores shelves in Japan ten days after Nintendo DS launches in the region. The rival handheld is due on US store shelves even earlier on November 21st, and will cost less at just $149.99 (€117). Nintendo has yet to clarify how many games will launch alongside the console.
However, early high profile PSP software will include the promised EA titles (Need for Speed Underground Rivals and Tiger Woods PGA Tour), Dynasty Warriors from KOEI, Metal Gear Acid from Konami, Vampire Chronicle from Capcom, Puyo Pop Fever from SEGA, Hot Shots Golf from Sony and Ridge Racer from Namco.
Sony has also clarified the battery life situation, stating in its press release this morning that the rechargeable Li-Ion battery will last "between four and six hours for game titles and continuous four to five hours for video viewing," based on the firm's own measurements. Those measurements assume display luminance is set to maximum (180 cd/m2) and minimum (80 cd/m2), while volume is set to half of the maximum level, headphone is in use and wireless LAN not in use.
The console will launch alongside a clutch of accessories including an AC adaptor, battery pack, Memory Stick Duo (32MB), headphone set with remote control, soft-case and hand-strap. We imagine the Memory Stick Duo may be a prerequisite for using the console - it'll cost 3,500 yen (€25) on its own.
Sony will also release a "PSP Value Pack" for 24,800 yen (€182) featuring the console and all of the above accessories in one box. There are no console-plus-game bundles mentioned in this morning's announcement.
Looking further into the future, Sony says that more than one hundred games are in development for the system, and that, "Entertainment software of an entirely new category mixing game, music and video on a single UMD is expected to be released in spring 2005, further enriching the world of PSP."
Sony has yet to comment on when the PSP will launch in the States and Europe, but the expectation now is that the company can stick to its "early 2005" estimate, having proven itself to analysts who had already written off the console's hopes of making it out this year.
The full list of games due out in Japan this December follows:
- Lumines (Bandai (Tetsuya Mizuguchi), puzzle)
- The Legend of Heroes: Gagharvtrilogy White Witch (Bandai, RPG)
- Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (Capcom, fighting)
- Kollon (CyberFront, puzzle)
- Need for Speed Underground Rivals (EA, racing)
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA, sports)
- Armored Core: Formula Front (FromSoftware, Mech simulation)
- Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory (Hudson, A-RPG)
- Dynasty Warriors (KOEI, action-strategy)
- Mahjong (KOEI, board game)
- Metal Gear Acid (Konami, turn-based strategy)
- Mah-jong Fight Club (Konami, board game)
- AI Go (Marvelous, board game)
- AI Mah-jong (Marvelous, board game)
- AI Shogi (Marvelous, board game)
- Kotoba No Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten (Namco, puzzle)
- Ridge Racer (Namco, racing)
- Puyo Pop Fever (SEGA, puzzle)
- Dokodemo Issyo (Sony, "misc.")
- Hot Shots Golf (Sony, sports)
- Puzzle Bobble Pocket (Taito, puzzle)