Game consoles were typically that which were connected to the TV and not mobile at all. But Sony changed that when it developed the PlayStation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) in 2003. This handheld device, while created in 2003 was technically unveiled on May 11, 2004 and released in Japan on December 12, 2004. It didn’t reach America until March 24, 2005.
The PSP was the first handheld video game to use an optical disc format. It’s primary storage medium was based on Universal Media Disc or UMD.
While the PSP has been popular, it has continued to struggle against its main competitor, Nintendo DS, another handheld game console. The two companies have competed for better graphics, sleeker design and more gadgets.
Now, with Google contracting with Sony to create a PlayStation gaming device powered by Google’s Android 3.0, PlayStation may have its chance to take the lead.
So how did the concept of the PSP start? Although the machine wasn’t released until 2004, the idea of it began in 2000. Sony came up with a machine that had flat buttons and no analog stick. While some were concerned over the lack of a joystick, the concept took hold. Sony got support for the idea and moved forward.
The first PSP sold in Japan sold for $181 or ¥19,800. Over 200,000 units were sold the first day. The company sold the device in a variety of colors and bundle packs, which added to the price. By the time the PSP hit America, the price had climbed to $249. Some were concerned that the price point was too high, especially with the recently launched Nintendo DS. Despite the concerns, the launch of the PSP was a success. Sony stated that 500,000 units were sold the first two days.
Releasing the PSP into other regions, such as the PAL region would be delayed. The PAL region (PAL being short for Phase Alternating Line) is a video game publication territory which covers most of Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Western Europe. It is so named because of the PAL television standard traditionally used in those regions, as opposed to the NTSC standard traditionally used in the United States and Japan, which publish a large chunk of video games.
Because of the high demand of the game in Japan and North America, it wasn’t until September 2005 that people in the PAL region would get their chance at purchasing the game. Not only did this region have to wait, they also had to pay more money for the game, nearly $100 more than consumers in North America. Despite all of this, more than 185,000 units sold in the UK alone and Sony sold out of all of its stock in the UK within three hours of launch.
The first PSP launched was the PSP-1000. It came with 32 MB of RAM and used the 1.00 system software. This was followed by the PSP-2000 which came out in September of 2007. This system had 64 MG of RAM and ran on a 3.60 system software. It also had video out and mic ports. In 2008 came the PSP-3000. This unit would have 64 MG of RAM still but the software would jump to the 4.20 and it had a clamshell case. It also has an advanced LCD screen and Sony claims it has the highest-level contrast ratio, best response time and the widest color gamut possible on an LCD screen.
With the PSP-3000 one can do more than play games, they can also Skype and watch movies, listen to music or surf the Internet.
In 2009, Sony released the PSP Go model. This model runs on 5.70 software and has Bluetooth capacity. With Bluetooth, one can connect a wireless headset to their system. Games can be downloaded and played.
What will Sony come up with next? How many more gadgets can one attach to their PSP? We shall see.
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