PSP storms Japan

Lines start to move and cash registers start to ring as Sony officially enters the handheld gaming market.

more screens (6)
more screens (6)

TOKYO--It all started just before dawn in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. At 6am, the popular game store known as Yodobashi Camera opened early, counted down the final minute, and fired streamers into the air. Ken Kutaragi and other Sony executives donned Yodobashi uniforms and happily sold the store's first PSP to a young man who was quickly mobbed by reporters. The reporters interviewed and filmed him as he opened the box and showed off the unit for the cameras.

Like many other major retailers in Japan, Yodobashi did not take PSP preorders. As a result, more than 1,200 hopeful game fans lined up throughout the long, cold night, some taking up their position as early as 3pm the previous day. By the time the store opened, the quiet crowd snaked around two blocks. Interestingly enough, the line at this particular store seemed to continue growing even after the store started selling the PSP, the six launch games, and other assorted accessories. With overall supplies for Japan said to be in the neighborhood of 200,000 PSPs, it seems almost certain that this initial stock will disappear quickly.

The PSP is available in two configurations. One is a system-only package, while a "value pack" includes many of the available accessories, such as a pair of headphones with remote, a 32MB Memory Stick duo, and a slim carrying case. Sony is also selling AC adapters (though, obviously, both packages come with one already) and additional batteries. Third parties are already selling thin pieces of plastic film that are intended to protect the screen from scratches.

Stay tuned to GameSpot for more news and preview information on the PSP as we put the final retail unit and its launch lineup through the paces.

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