PSP launching March 24

Single-SKU $249 "Value Pack" to include 32MB Memory Stick Duo; 24 games confirmed for launch, including Need for Speed Rivals, Metal Gear Acid, and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix.


After months of saying the PSP will "probably" launch in March, Sony Computer Entertainment America has finally set the launch date for its entry into the handheld wars. This morning, the electronics giant announced that its eagerly awaited handheld game system will go on sale in North America on March 24.

While the PSP's ship date fell inside previously announced release parameters, its price was higher than expected. Sony will only sell the PSP as part of a single-SKU "Value Pack" for $249 in the US, CDN$299 in Canada. The new price point is $50 higher than the $199 many industry analysts predicted; that was based on the PSP's Japanese MSRP of 19,800 yen (approximately $185).

Besides the PSP unit itself, the Value Pack will include a 32MB Memory Stick Duo (which usually retails from $24.99 to $39.99 solo), headphones with remote control, a battery pack, AC adapter, soft case and cleaning cloth, and a UMD disc with game-demo movies, and a music and video sampler. As an incentive for early adopters, Sony will include a free UMD copy of the blockbuster superhero film Spider-Man 2 with the first one million PSP Value Packs shipped.

More importantly for gamers, Sony today confirmed the launch-title lineup for the PSP, all of which will go on sale during the PSP's unspecified "launch window." "The high profile lineup includes a wide range of products that will appeal to every type of gamer--from the sports fan to the action enthusiast," said SCEA executive vice president Andrew House. While many games were previously announced, some were only confirmed as launch titles today--a full list is below:

Ape Escape: On the Loose, Sony Computer Entertainment America
ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, SCEA
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower, Capcom
Dynasty Warriors, Koei
FIFA 2005, Electronic Arts
Gretzky NHL, SCEA
Lumines, Ubisoft
Metal Gear Acid, Konami
MVP Baseball, EA
NBA Street Showdown, EA
Need for Speed Rivals, EA
NFL Street 2 Unleashed, EA
Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory, Konami
Ridge Racer, Namco
Smartbomb, Eidos Interactive
Spider-Man 2, Activision
Tiger Woods PGA Tour, EA
Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix, Activision
Twisted Metal: Head-On, SCEA
Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade, Sony Online Entertainment
Wipeout Pure, SCEA
World Tour Soccer, SCEA

Also of note was SCEA's revelation that some PSP games would sell for as little as $39.99, some $10 lower than the standard $49.99 price most retailers list PSP games for. However, the announcement did not specify which games would carry the lower price.

What do the PSP's new price point and launch date mean? GameSpot editors sound off in our Gut Reactions feature.

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