Sony Announces PSP Handheld for 2004 [5/13/03]

As reported at Gamespot and IGN, Sony has finally revealed their long-rumored portable console, which is to be called the PSP (which we assume to mean PlayStation Portable). Below is the press release on the new device:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT READIES FOR MARKET EXPANSION WITH CREATION OF A NEW HANDHELD ENTERTAINMENT PLATFORM

Company Unveils Plans to Extend PlayStation- Family of Products with "PSP."

LOS ANGELES, May 13, 2003 - Enhancing its strong platform strategies, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today plans to expand its in-home entertainment to outside the home with a new, all-in-one portable entertainment platform, "PSP»"

The introduction of "PSP" highlights the company's long-awaited foray into the portable entertainment market. With unmatched advantages of the Sony Group, such as global brand awareness, superior technologies in the most advanced semiconductor processes, "PSP" further broadens entertainment experiences into the portable arena.

The foundation of this new platform is Universal Media Disc (UMD), which comprises of a 60mm optical disc (1.8 GB) in a cartridge, developed by the Sony Group, utilizing its latest disc technologies. Compared to the out-dated mask ROM cartridge, optical disc has huge advantages such as shorter turn around time for manufacturing, larger data capacity and lower media costs. The latest copy-protection technology will be applied to offer content developers and publishers a safe and copy-protected environment.

"PSP" will be equipped with a wide screen 480 x 272 pixel (16 by 9) TFT LCD monitor with a backlight, and powered by super chipsets utilizing the latest 90 nm semiconductor technology. For graphics, 3D rendering will be enhanced by the employment of curved surfaces (NURBS) along with conventional polygons. Video quality will also be enhanced with MPEG4, which delivers quality equivalent to DVD video at a low data rate.

"PSP" will have an USB 2.0 port for further expandability and connectivity to other devices, such as "PSP," PlayStation 2 and many other systems, along with a Memory StickTM slot for network applications and data transportability in a wireless environment.

SCEI will offer PC-based development tools starting from fall 2003 for the preparation of a new range of computer entertainment content. A new license scheme for "PSP" software development will be announced in summer 2003. Pursuing the founding principles of the PlayStation business, Sony Computer Entertainment will expand its efforts to support content developers to create new forms of computer entertainment.

Together with its business partners, SCEI aims to aggressively promote this new platform to further broaden the arena of entertainment.

"Just as PlayStation and PlayStation 2 revolutionized in-home computer entertainment, we aim to become a new driving force in the portable entertainment platform arena," said Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "The world of PlayStation encompasses hundreds of millions of users worldwide, most of whom view computer entertainment as part of their everyday lives. We look forward to extending the experience through a portable entertainment platform, and are excited about the possibilities and impact 'PSP' will have on the market. Along with game applications, 'PSP' will have a huge potential for delivering other forms of entertainment as well as live entertainment through the network, anywhere, anytime. This is the 'Walkman' of the 21st century."

"PSP" Specifications
Platform name: PSP»
Display: Wide screen (16:9) TFT LCD with backlight (480 x 272 dots)
Disc medium: "UMD" 60mm optical secured ROM disc with cartridge (1.8GB)
Video CODEC: MPEG4
Graphics: 3D Polygon/NURBS

Sound: PCM (built-in stereo speakers, stereo headphone output)
I/O: USB 2.0, Memory StickTM slot
Battery: Rechargeable (lithium-ion)

About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Recognized as the global leader and company responsible for the progression of consumer-based computer entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) manufacturers, distributes and markets the PlayStation- game console and PlayStation-2 computer entertainment system. SCEI, along with its subsidiary divisions Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd. and Sony Computer Entertainment Korea Inc., develops, publishes, markets and distributes software, and manages the third party licensing programs for these two platforms in the respective markets worldwide. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. is an independent business unit of the Sony Group.

PlayStation and the PlayStation logo, PS one and PS2 are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Sony has commented that the handheld will be more powerful than the original Playstation and will feature 3D graphics with a backlit screen. The game medium will be a mini-disc format that holds about 1.8 GB. Throw in a memory-stick (which acts like memory cards) and rechargeable battery and Sony may have a worthy portable.

While Sony hasn't revealed any potential titles or even revealed the design (as of yet), there's a good chance that it'll feature analog control and probably a flip-top cover for inserting media.

- - Kinderfeld

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