Sony has finally announced the launch date of the PlayStation Portable (PSP) console in Europe, setting a pan-European date of September 1st and a price of €249/£179 ($323) for the PSP, which has already launched in Japan and North America.
The European release date is later than many previous estimates - Sony had originally targeted the launch for March 2005, and sources suggest that Sony is still having trouble manufacturing enough consoles to satisfy worldwide demand.
No indication has been given of how many PSP units will be available at launch, although it is assumed the late launch is to ensure that stock problem will not be an issue - a Sony spokesperson has commented with regard to Europe: "We've always said we would launch it when we had sufficient quantity for the initial launch period and for continuity of supply thereafter."
The €249/£179 price tag is for a 'Value Pack' containing a carry case, 32MB memory stick, headphone unit, ACE adapter, wrist strap and demo UMD. Unlike the North American launch, free copies of the Spider-Man 2 movie will not be made generally available at launch, although those early adopters that register their console's serial number via the official YourPSP website
will receive the UMD movie for free.
With regard to the price point, as in the North America, the PSP is priced significantly higher than the price of the Nintendo DS in the UK (£99.99), as well as the Game Boy Advance SP (£69.99). For further reference, the PlayStation 2 is currently priced at £104.99 in the UK, the Xbox at £99.99, and the GameCube at £79.99.