Sony has now opened the official Japanese website
for its PSP handheld device, as the company prepares for a December 12th release in Japan, ahead of an American and European roll-out in 2005.
Although Nintendo's DS has been getting significantly more press of late, due to its earlier Western release, the near-final software release schedule for Sony's handheld, given fresh updates due to the PSP website opening, shows some promising titles launching in Japan before the end of the year.
In particular, Namco's Ridge Racers
debuts on December 12th, with the compilation of racing tracks from multiple previous titles in the series likely to be a hit with hardcore fans. Koei's PS2 semi-conversion Dynasty Warriors
and Konami's brand-new 'card game' Metal Gear Ac!d
debut on December 16th, with Electronic Arts' Need for Speed Underground Rivals
also likely to debut in December. A number of these titles also feature wireless WiFi multiplayer modes, with Ridge Racers
allowing 2-8 people to play on the same tracks.
With some Japanese retail chains now allowing PSP pre-orders, although quickly becoming sold out, it's likely that the PSP's launch period will demand outstrip supply, similar to the imminent Nintendo DS launch. When the dust settles early next year, however, it should be easier to see the relative fates of the machines in Japan, whether the handhelds claim to be competing on the same playing-field or not.