Following Sony's pre-release charity auction of Sony PSP handhelds, with proceeds benefiting those affected by the Mid-Niigata Earthquake, several Hong Kong-based retailers have received Sony PSPs ahead of the December 12th Japanese release date.
Although no playable games are yet available for the console, there are detailed impressions of the hardware unit available from both Play-Asia
and from Lik-Sang
. The sites seem impressed with the large, detailed PSP screen, and the UMD movie disc included with the hardware, which shows in-game footage for many of the launch titles.
It's also been confirmed that the PSP will play MPEG-4 video files copied onto a Sony Memory Stick, apparently without any specific rights protection, although Sony has yet to release the official MPEG-4 conversion tool.
However, Lik-Sang passes along concern from pre-release Japanese PSP users that loading times for the handheld, specifically related to the UMD disc technology, may be excessive. The site references Ridge Racers
loading times of 16 seconds from start-up to title screen, and another 14 seconds from race selection to race start. It's unclear, however, whether this average for all PSP games, or particular to Namco's launch racing title - some other quoted titles have long initial loading times, but relatively little in-game loading.