Playstation Underground

Playstation Portable

Current Situation

To say that Sony Computer Entertainment America President Kaz Hirai is confident about the company’s chances in the portable market would be an understatement. “PSP will elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld-gaming ghetto,” Hirai said this past January. “And Sony is the only company that can do it.” While we question whether on-the-go gaming is really stuck in the slums, there’s no doubt that Sony’s slick handheld will instill a bit of high society into this sector of the biz. Thanks to the machine’s raw power and big, beautiful screen, PSP can produce some truly

incredible visuals. It also sports a plethora of nongaming features, including the ability to watch movies, play MP3s, and showcase digital pics.

The early days of PSP (which lands on store shelves March 24 for $249.99—see sidebar for more info) will be as exciting as the months to come. Expect plenty of good titles at launch from Sony and third parties, including Ridge Racer, Wipeout Pure, the strategic card-playing Metal Gear Ac!d, plus a handful of EA Sports games.

Looking Ahead

Sony’s success with both of its consoles is due in large part to the company’s overwhelming ability to attract third parties and maintain a steady flow of new software throughout every year. PSP has learned from its other PlayStation family members and adopted a similar strategy, as its ’05 release calendar is already looking full. Shortly after launch, we’ll see new installments in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto and Midnight Club series, and later this year, Sony will bring out a PSP version of Gran Turismo 4.

Also, its ’05 lineup should get even beefier after this May’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (the industry’s annual trade show), as several publishers tell us that they plan on supporting PSP as much as any home console. Let’s just hope that includes more original titles and fewer PS1/PS2 ports.

Notable Games

Grand Theft Auto • Spring ’05

So far, all we know is that you’ll grab your slim jim and head back to GTA3’s East Coast metropolis, Liberty City.

Gran Turismo 4: Mobile • Fall ’05

Hone your driving skills while on the go (but not when you’re really driving, silly).

Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition •

Spring ’05 — Pimp out high-end rides in Rockstar’s stylish street racer.

Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix • March ’05 — Activision’s skateboarding franchise grinds onto the PSP with four exclusive city levels.

Twisted Metal: Head On • March ’05

Engage in wireless vehicular combat with up to seven of your demented friends.

Wipeout Pure • March ’05 — An absolute balls-to-the-wall futuristic racer that’s brimming with eye candy and techno tunes.

PSP: The Launch

The wait for Sony’s handheld is almost over, as the company has announced a March 24 launch date for PSP. It’ll cost $249.99 and include a 32MB memory stick (which would’ve been a necessary purchase if you planned on saving your games’ progress), headphones with remote control, a battery pack, an AC adapter, a protective case, and a sampler disc. Also, the first million peeps who prepurchase a PSP will receive a copy of the Spider-Man 2 flick that you can watch on the handheld. As for the games, 24 titles (each costing $40-$50) will land on store shelves within a few weeks of the machine’s release.

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.

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