Sony Reveals Japanese PSP Price, Battery Life Details

Officials from Sony have finally revealed details of the PlayStation Portable’s price for Japan and battery life. The Japanese price is a surprisingly low ¥20,790 ($195),...
Officials from Sony have finally revealed details of the PlayStation Portable’s price for Japan and battery life. The Japanese price is a surprisingly low ¥20,790 ($195), far lower than most analyst estimates of between $250 and $500. Although this low price implies that Sony will be making a considerable loss on the hardware, it does compare far more favorably with the ¥15,000 ($140) Nintendo DS than was expected. However, the ¥20,790 price tag does not include a memory stick, which is thought to be essential for taking full advantage of the console’s functionality, and costs ¥2,940 ($28) separately. In response to this, Sony will also be promoting the ‘PSP Value Pack’ which includes the console, AC adaptor, battery pack, Memory Stick Duo, headphones and case for ¥26,040 ($244). No pricing or bundle options for North America or Europe have yet been announced. Although the pricing for the PSP will be a welcome surprise to most, the company’s estimates of battery life are more ambiguous. Official figures put the battery life at between 4 to 6 hours for games and between 4 to 5 hours for video viewing. These figures have, by Sony’s own admission, been arrived at by limiting the display luminance and volume, as well as using headphones rather than speakers, and ensuring the wireless LAN is not in use. This could suggest that a less careful use of the console would result in a battery life closer to the 2 hours previously suggested by some observers. Even so, these long awaited revelations are likely to give the format, which has suffered a stream of criticism from industry analysts in recent weeks, a considerable boost. This is especially true since Sony are insisting that the console will still be launched this year in Japan, on December 12th. Sony's Ken Kutaragi, speaking to the Associated Press, indicated that the company plans to sell 200,000 PSP machines in the initial Japanese shipment, 500,000 by the end of 2004, and 1 million by March 31th, 2005 in Japan alone. Western release dates have still not been confirmed, and are stated only as being in “early 2005”. The company expects 21 titles to be released by the end of this year in Japan, with over 100 new titles currently in development. The titles to be released this year include Vampire Chronicle (Capcom), Need for Speed: Underground – Rivals (EA), Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA), Armored Core: Formula Front (From Software), Dynasty Warriors (Koei), Metal Gear Ac!d (Konami), Ridge Racers (Namco), Puyo Pop Fever (Sega), Hot Shots Golf (SCE), Puzzle Bobble Pocket (Taito), and no less than three different mahjong titles.

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