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PlayStation Portable to miss March date in Europe

Sony's PSP production line continues to be hit by component shortages.

Reports this morning indicate that Sony's PlayStation Portable will not launch in Europe until the second quarter of the year, with chip shortages blamed for this fresh delay to the system's arrival.

A spokesperson for the company told Bloomberg this morning that the device is now expected to ship in Europe in the first half of the year - the first time that Sony has ever indicated that it will arrive outside of the first quarter.

Speaking with the news service, Sony's Kenichi Fukunaga admitted that the firm cannot manufacture enough of the devices to satisfy demand in all three major markets - which has pushed the schedule for the European launch back.

The news came only hours after Sony confirmed that the PSP would launch in the United States on March 24th at a price point of $249.99, with around a million units of hardware expected to be made available in the launch period.

The PlayStation Portable was originally intended to debut worldwide in late 2004, but eventually only managed a limited shipment in Japan in mid-December, with just over 500,000 units shipped there by the end of the year.

The company's projections have always called for worldwide sales of three million PSP units by the end of its financial year on March 31st, and it's not clear how a delay in Europe will affect that target.

Meanwhile, the console's main rival, the Nintendo DS, is on schedule to go on sale in Europe on March 11th - and has already been on sale in North America since December 2nd last year.

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