Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. (SCEA) announced that the much-hyped PSP (PlayStation Portable) handheld gaming device and entertainment system will be available at retail in North America on March 24. The PSP Value Pack will sell for a suggested retail price of $249.99 and the first one million customers will receive a movie disc containing the Sony Pictures blockbuster Spider-Man 2.
In addition to the hardware and movie disc, the PSP Value Pack contains an accessories and entertainment content, including a 32 MB Memory Stick Duo, headphones with remote control, a battery pack, an AC adaptor, a soft case with cleaning cloth and a movie/music/game video sampler UMD disc featuring several non-interactive game demos.
According to SCEA, the PSP possesses graphics rendering capabilities comparable to the company’s PlayStation 2 console. In addition to playing games, specially formatted movies and MP3s, the device boasts communication and wireless networking functionality through WiFi LAN.
Sony says it plans to roll out three million PSPs worldwide by the end of March. The company has already shipped more than 800,000 units in Japan since its release there in December.
The Spider-Man 2 movie is encoded on a Universal Media Disc (UMD), a proprietary, compact but high-capacity optical format. The disc is smaller than a DVD but can store up to 1.8GB of digital data, more than three times the capacity of a CD-ROM.