Looks like Sony is after a slice of the portable gaming pie currently dominated by Nintendo’s Gameboy:
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(TM).” Scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2004, the company’s goal is to extend the reach of PlayStation to a broader audience, allowing consumers to enjoy gaming and other entertainment content anytime, anywhere. Specific details on release plans and pricing will be disclosed at a later date.
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 Stick(TM) 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.”
Platform name: PSP(TM)
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 Stick(TM) slot
Battery: Rechargeable (lithium-ion)
Not surprising though one does tend to wonder why they’ve waited this long to take the plunge.