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PSP North American Launch Details Finally Emerge

Watch out, Nintendo. Sony has finally detailed the launch plans for its much-anticipated entry into the portable video game market--the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The new system, which debuted late last year in Japan, will be available in the United States and Canada on March 24. In a curious marketing move, Sony will make the system available only in a Value Pack for a suggested retail price of $249.99. The PSP Value Pack will include the PSP device, a 32MB Memory Stick Duo, headphones with remote control, battery pack, AC adaptor, soft case (with cleaning cloth), and a disc that contains movie, music and video game samples. The first 1 million PSP Value Packs will also include the Spider-Man 2 movie on disc. The inclusion of the movie, on Sony's proprietary Universal Media Disc (UMD) format, highlights the company's plans to market the PSP as not only a gaming device but also as an all-purpose entertainment device. In April, the company will release four additional movies on UMD: Hellboy, Once Upon A Time in Mexico, Resident Evil 2, and xXx. As detailed in the last issue of Connected Home EXPRESS, the system will also include music and personal information manager (PIM) features. The company has already shipped more than 800,000 units in Japan and hopes the extensive lists of games that will be available at the North American launch will help it garner more success. More than two dozen titles will be available on launch day, including games based on many popular PlayStation franchises such as FIFA Soccer, Metal Gear, Need for Speed, Ridge Racer, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and Tony Hawk. Games will start at $39.99. Five of the launch titles will also support online game play, making the system the first to launch with enabled online support. The PSP includes wireless-enabled (Wi-Fi, the 802.11b wireless standard) networked game play over the Internet or among multiple PSPs located near each other

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