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PSP Debuts in Japan

So how well did the PSP do in its debut over in Japan? Our man in Japan, Lance Kwok, gave us this report.

I woke up at 5AM Sunday morning, got dressed, and made my way to Yodobashi Camera in downtown Tokyo. I arrived around 6AM, and although the store wasn't set to open for another couple hours, there was a line of people going halfway around the block. These were all pre-order customers too. Yodobashi had pre-sold each of the units, including mine, nearly two weeks ago. Nonetheless, I and the other impatient folk who couldn't bother to come down around noon made our way here in the wee hours to stand in line, chat, and sip coffee.

One person I spoke with, named Hitedo, who situated near the front of the line, told me he had taken up his spot at 10PM the night before. "I must have the PSP now, as fast as possible," Hitedo said, "because I have to work tomorrow and can't wait to play Ridge Racer and Mahjong." His comments were similar to those of most--Ridge Racer, Minna no Golf, and Mahjong seemed to be the games of choice for this crowd.

At 8AM, they let us in and we proceeded to go through an orderly line to a counter staffed with people ready to check our names and complete our transactions. An hour later and 66,000 yen later (about US$700), I was on my way back home with a PSP Value Pack and six games. My impressions of the unit after a full day of playing are that it's spectacular. Ridge Racers looks beautiful and plays like the classic Ridge games, and has loads of Rage Racer cars and tracks. I played a few wi-fi linked races with two friends and they were lag free and fast. You can even enable the CPU field to race with. Minna no Golf plays like a Hot Shots Golf game should, and Mahjong and Vampire Chronicle are nice for what they are (this is my third Vampire Savior collection style game). Lumines was the real surprise. It's a simple puzzle game where you make shapes out of colored cubes, but the fast pace and how the shapes affect the music and skins is really nice.

Battery life seems so-so. The battery indicator was at 50% when I turned it on and died after about 90 minutes of play (Ridge Racers mostly). I spent most of the day playing with the AC adapter attached. The next day I let the battery charge full and drained it after probably five hours of total use. Oh well, a small price to pay for such a hot system.

Earlier today, I picked up the newspaper to find out how the launch went overall...

Sony is reporting that it sold 166,000 PSP units on Sunday alone, and has plans to ship and sell roughly 200,000 more during December. The top-selling games on Sunday were Minna No Golf (67,685 units), Ridge Racers (57,000 units), and Armored Core Formula Front (11,860 units).

12/13/2004 Lance Kwok

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