The US and European release date of Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP) has been pushed back until the early months of 2005, the company confirmed yesterday.
The Japanese launch is still on track for the end of this year, with the North American and European release set to emerge before the end of the company's fiscal year (2005), which ends March 31, 2005.
At SCEA's Destination PlayStation conference, the following statement emerged from the company: "We have received an overwhelming amount of support from the software development community with regard to PSP. In order to ensure that the launch timeframe is well supported, we want to allow developers and publishers sufficient time to optimize content for our new portable entertainment platform."
Another official quote emerged on various newswires attributed to SCEA’s Teresa Weaver, stating: "we wanted to be sure there's a reasonable amount of software titles to launch with hardware."
Finally, a spokesperson for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe issued the following statement to journos this morning: "The response to PSP has been overwhelmingly positive from content providers throughout Europe, and it is our intention to launch PSP in Europe at the same time as it is launched in the US. We wanted to make sure that a reasonable number of software titles are released together with the hardware launch, and considering time necessary for US/European third parties as well as SCE first party to develop the titles, we have decided to adjust the European launch by a couple of months."
The delay won't come as a huge surprise to industry watchers, with Sony already pushing things close to the wire by reportedly delaying the machines final technical specs to the development community and already optimistically pinning its hopes on a global launch - something Sony Computer Entertainment has yet to pull off since its emergence 10 years ago. Also the Christmas launch date appeared to leave the company little room for manoeuvre should anything go wrong - and so it has proved.
Still, importers won't be too concerned, and online retailers will no doubt do a roaring trade in the run up to Christmas. Nintendo will also be mightily pleased that it will have no competition for its forthcoming DS machine - not to mention the fact that it will be under less pressure to reduce the price on the GBA this Christmas.