PSP takes North America by Storm

Sony’s much-hyped hand-held gaming and personal entertainment device, the PSP (PlayStation Portable), made its North American retail debut last night at midnight. Eager early adopters lined up outside of stores for as long as 24 hours to be the first to get their hands on the $250 gadgets. Initial sales have been so good that Sony is reportedly worried that the current supply will soon run out.

Released in Japan during the holiday season, the PSP has been inducing drool among U.S. techies at consumer electronics shows and gaming conventions like E3 in Los Angeles and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Today’s buying frenzy is further provoked the notion that consumers who don’t buy now may have to wait a month or more when then next shipment arrives.

The device allows users to play games, watch movies, play music, view photos and surf the web via Wi-Fi wireless LAN. The first one million Value Packs shipped even include a special UMD video release of the Sony feature film Spider-Man 2. A line-up of 24 game titles is available for the machine, with an additional 100 titles currently in development worldwide.

Sony Computer Entertainment America celebrated last night’s PSP rollout by hosting special events at Sony Style Retail in Manhattan and the PlayStation Store at the Metreon in San Francisco. Carson Daly, host of NBC’s Later with Carson Daly, served master of ceremonies at the New York event, where attendees were treated to sneak peeks at new games, giveaways and surprise appearances.