PSP hits Oceania and Europe

After months of delays, Sony's handheld tackles new markets; now more than 9 million PSP games and 8.2 million UMD movies sold.

It may be just past five in the morning in Australia, but it's already a "G'day" for Aussie gamers. At midnight, Australian Eastern Standard Time, gamers in Sydney lined up outside stores much like gamers did in Japan in December and in the US in March. The global connection? The regional launches of the PSP, Sony's first contribution to the portable gaming market.

The PSP has already launched across all of Oceania and will hit its next area, Europe, when August rolls over to September at midnight tonight. The launch comes after several delays, which were reportedly designed to give manufacturers time to produce enough units to satisfy demand.

According to Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, 25,000 PSPs have been preordered in the continent. The PSP sells for $399 Australian dollars ($301), and games retail for $79 ($60). Over in Europe, gamers will be shelling out a tad more for their PSPs, which will cost 179 pounds ($323) or 249 euros ($307). European PSPs will come outfitted with the latest system firmware, which includes an Internet browser that takes advantage of the unit's wireless capabilities.

Some gamers in Leicester Square may have already seen fellow Brits wandering the streets with the portable. The delay of the PSP to an already thirsty market in Europe led some retailers to import PSPs from other regions so they could resell them at bloated prices. Sony eventually took several of them to court and won injunctions to stop the entrepreneurs from selling the units.

Though the European launch comes more than five months after the March 24 US launch, there will be only six more launch games available. However, those who use the multimedia machine for video will be pleasantly surprised to know that 30 UMD-formatted titles will be on sale tomorrow, with 100 expected by this holiday season.

The success of UMD movies is a great victory for the PSP, which was originally considered to be game-centric. The format, which was met cautiously by film studios, is breaking expectations. According to a report on tomshardware.com, Sony has boasted that 9 million PSP games and 8.2 million UMD movies have been sold. The company projects that movies will make up 60 percent of UMD sales in the future.

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