Newly promoted Sony Europe boss Chris Deering has revealed that the company is planning to roll out the PlayStation Portable worldwide by the end of the year, with a global launch aimed at November 2004.
Speaking in an interview with official site PlayStation.com, Deering said that there was no official date for the unveiling of the handheld device, but added that he expected it to be announced widely well ahead of the November launch.
Most commentators had previously expected that the system would roll out in Japan only in late 2004, with launches in the USA and Europe following in early 2005. This is the first time that Sony has announced plans of a global launch for one of its consoles, with previous members of the PlayStation family arriving on a staggered basis in different territories.
Deering expanded slightly on other plans for the PSP in the interview, mentioning that as well as music, video and gaming content, other features involving GPRS connectivity, GPS positioning systems and messaging services are in the pipeline, and also hinted that there may be some interoperability between the PSP and the new PSX home media centre, via the Memory Stick interface. He described the device as "a very handy thing to have and something which will be very fashionable to be seen with."
Speaking on the topic of the PSX, Deering expressed his hope that the device would help to bring TiVo style functionality to the mass market, commenting that the system makes the use of high end features such as digital video recording and DVD burning "very simple," and hinted that the system might be able to download PS2 game demos or videos of forthcoming games as part of its functionality.
Deering's promotion is important on a number of levels, not least because it may hint at future moves higher up in the company, with SCE boss Ken Kutaragi widely expected to become the next president of Sony in the coming years. Deering hopes to bring about greater co-operation between the different Sony companies in Europe thanks to his new role; "I think there'll be more collaboration, and hopefully more fun, shared between the companies, and even between the music and movie companies eventually," he commented, going on to suggest that "we can lead the way and show the world how Sony can make the best of its resources by better co-operation in Europe."