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Sony 'would like' to launch PSP in Europe during March

Ken Kutaragi comments on the PSP's Western launch, while SCEA CEO Kaz Hirai shows off UMD movies, media transfers and games in Las Vegas.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Sony is still hoping to launch the PlayStation Portable in Europe during March, president Ken Kutaragi told a gathering of executives in Tokyo yesterday, while SCE America CEO Kaz Hirai told journalists in Las Vegas that the PSP had shipped 510,000 units in Japan by the end of December.

Having organised a press event alongside CES 2005 in Las Vegas this week, the platform holder had been expected to announce the PSP's US launch date and perhaps even pricing, but frustratingly Hirai was only able to say that it will "most likely release the PSP in late March 2005" in North America, echoing comments made by Kutaragi earlier in the day and picked up by Reuters, in which the Sony president said the company "would like to launch in Europe during March as well".

Neither exec made any mention of pricing. The PSP "basic" pack currently retails for 19,800 yen in Japan, which is around €145 at today's exchange rate.

Sony's Las Vegas event was short on launch details, then, but it did give the company a chance to show off a few clips of UMD movies running on PSP (no word on when we'll see those, mind), and demonstrate how easy it is to transfer music and video to the handheld. Sony dragged out rapper and MTV presenter Xzibit to show off the music transference, and also demonstrated how video can be piped onto the PSP direct from Sony Cybershot digital cameras - all of which sounds a lot easier than the convoluted approach Western importers have been struggling with over the past few weeks.

SCEA concluded its presentation with a showreel of games including the likes of Coded Arms, Dynasty Warriors, Metal Gear Acid, Wipeout Pure and Ridge Racers, but it looks as though we'll have to wait a little bit longer to find out exactly when the PSP will be available in the US and Europe.

That said, it's worth remembering that Sony didn't confirm precise details of the PSP's Japanese launch until late October, less than two months prior to the system's launch on December 12th - and took even longer to confirm the software line-up.

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