Sony Computer Entertainment's (SCE) next generation handheld gaming device will go on sale in Japan on 12 December for RRP ¥19,800 ($250).
The device, dubbed PSP, is Sony's first handheld multimedia device. PSP features high quality 3D graphics and is capable of displaying high resolution images and video. Its 4.3-inch screen features a 480 x 272 resolution and can display 16.7 million colours.
PSP enters a market dominated by Nintendo's Game Boy range of handhelds. PSP will be the first dedicated gaming device to threaten Nintendo's stranglehold.
Nintendo has a new gaming device in the wings. The DS ("Dual Screen") is expected to be released to the Australian market in Q1 2005, according to PR and Promotions for Nintendo Kate Wright.
SCE has made clear its ambition to replicate the PlayStation's success in the console market with the PSP.
Michael Ephraim, managing director at SCE Australia and New Zealand, said: "We aim to expand the market by offering a completely new handheld video game system, PSP will bring the world of PlayStation outside of the home, allowing users to enjoy games anytime, anywhere."
The Japanese announcement signals SCE's battleplans for the hotly contested Japanese market. Nintendo's DS is expected to market earlier than PSP, and Sony's late appearance in the critical Christmas shopping period could affect sales.
The PSP launch will be bolstered by at least 21 game titles. Over 100 extra titles are under development by SCE and third party developers and publishers.
Local pricing and on sale dates have not been announced. SCE Australia PR manager Adrian Christie said, "Our announcement regarding price and availability will be made in due course. We are very excited and remain committed to the first quarter of next year."
Further, SCE Australia has set 29 October as the on sale date for its new look PlayStation 2 console. The RRP will be $249.95.
Australia will be the first territory in the world to see the new console hit retail, if only by a few days.
The new console features integrated network support, but is otherwise functionally identical to the original PlayStation 2.
Sony expects the reduced size of the new console to endear it to new and existing PlayStation 2 fans. The console has been reduced in size by over 75 percent and weight has been halved.
Production of the original PlayStation 2 will now be phased out and replaced by the new model.