TOKYO--After months of analyst speculation that the Sony PlayStation Portable might not make it out this year, Sony Computer Entertainment today dispelled these notions when it announced that it will, in fact, release the PSP in Japan on December 12. The next-generation handheld gaming device will be priced at 19,800 yen ($185), which is fairly close to the already-announced price point of the Nintendo DS, which is slated to hit Japan on December 2 for 15,000 yen ($140).
Of further note, the PSP will be available in a number of different packages. The normal edition PSP package will include the handheld itself, an AC adapter, and a battery pack. The PSP will also be offered in a value pack that's 5,000 yen more at 24,800 yen ($232), which, in addition to the accessories included in the normal package, will come with a 32MB Memory Stick Duo, a set of headphones with a remote control, and a carrying case.
The accessories, of course, will also be available for purchase separately. The 32MB Memory Stick Duo and headphones with remote will be offered at 2,800 yen each ($26), and the carrying case will be offered at 2,000 yen ($19). Additional rechargeable batteries will cost 4,800 yen ($45), and a spare AC adapter can be purchased at 3,500 yen ($33).
In addition, today Sony Computer Entertainment finally made an official statement concerning the battery life of the PSP: The handheld's rechargeable Lithium Ion battery will allegedly last for four to six hours for gameplay, on average, and four to five hours for movies, on average.
Also, the PSP's wireless connection, which follows the IEEE802.11b standard, can allegedly reach up to 30 meters indoors at 11Mbps, and 91 meters at 1Mbps. Outdoors, it can reach up to 120 meters at 11Mbps and 460 meters at 1Mbps. The range will decrease if there are obstacles in the vicinity or strong electronic frequencies nearby, such as from microwave ovens or power lines.
Twenty-one PSP titles will be released during December, although SCE hasn't clearly stated as to how many of those games will be available precisely at launch of the PSP. The titles scheduled for release by the end of the year are as follows:
Electronic Arts K.K.: Tiger Woods PGA Tour R, sports
Electronic Arts K.K.: Need for Speed Underground Rivals, racing
Capcom: Vampire Chronicle: The Chaos Tower, fighting
Koei: Shin Sangoku Muso, action
Koei: Mahjong Taikai, table
Konami: Mahjong Fight Club, table
Konami Computer Entertainment Japan: Metal Gear Acid, strategy
Cyberfront: Kollon, puzzle/action
Sega: Puyo Puyo Fever, action puzzle
Sony Computer Entertainment: Dokodemo Issho, chatting game
Sony Computer Entertainment: Minna no Golf Portable, golf
Taito: Puzzle Bobble Pocket, puzzle
Namco: Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Daijiten, puzzle
Namco: Ridge Racer, racing
Hudson: Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory, SF action RPG
Bandai: Eiyuu Densetsu Gagharv Trilogy: Shiroki Majo, RPG
Bandai: Lumines, sound and light action puzzle
From Software: AC Formula Front, mech simulation
Marvelous Interactive: A.I. series Igo, table
Marvelous Interactive: A.I. series Shougi, table
Marvelous Interactive: A.I. series Mahjong, table
GameSpot will continue to bring you the latest updates on the PSP's imminent launch as they become available.