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PSP, I Love You: For Gamers, The Date Has Finally Arrived

By Jose Antonio Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 24, 2005; Page C01

Chris Gillis's plan goes something like this: Be up at 7 a.m., throw on jeans and a T-shirt, make the five-minute drive to Target. Then wait in line. Target, at Westfield Shoppingtown in Wheaton, opens at 8.

He must get the PSP. He will get the PSP.


Nathan Weishaar, a college student in Olathe, Kan., and the Sony PSP that he got last month on eBay, well in advance of its official launch today. (Craig Sands For The Washington Post)

_____Multimedia_____
Video: The Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas reviews the new PlayStation Portable handheld video game device.
_____Discuss the PSP_____
Transcript: The Post's personal technology columnist, Rob Pegoraro, was online to discuss his review of the Sony PSP.
Rob's Review: Sony's PSP Wows, but Only if You Stick to the Games (Mar 20, 2005)
Sidebar: Game Titles Available for Sony PSP (Mar 20, 2005)
_____In Today's Post_____
Sony Begins Handheld-Game Adventure (The Washington Post, Mar 24, 2005)
_____Random Access_____
A Real-Life Pause Button: Electronics stores across the nation opened at midnight so jonesing hordes of gamers could score Sony Corp.'s latest mind parasite, prompting the question: Are we being played?

The first million PSPs -- short for PlayStation Portable -- are in stores today. A lot of people went to EB Games or GameStop or FYE, stores that took pre-orders, Gillis figures. Other hard-core gamers wouldn't think of going to Target, which didn't take pre-orders. If Target sells out, his Plan B is Toys R Us or Circuit City. No pre-orders there, either.

When the 21-year-old says "I want the PSP badly," it's hard not to believe him.

Sony's PSP, retailing for $249, is entering the portable gaming territory long dominated by Nintendo's GameBoy. In marketing-speak, Sony describes the PSP as "the first truly integrated portable" system. In consumer-speak, it means you can play video games, watch movies, download MP3 files, store JPEG images -- and, thanks to built-in WiFi wireless networking, face off against someone on the Internet.

In short, the PSP is a multitasker suited to these hyperactive times. We want it all. We want it here. We want it now.

In the world of the now, the PSP is the new thing, the gadget of the moment. In this world your Xbox isn't enough, so you need a PlayStation 2 on top of the GameCube. This is the world where 15-year-old Landon Tate in Peoria, Ill., couldn't hold out until today for the PSP so he spent his Christmas money (all $554 of it) in December to buy one imported from Japan.

"I love it," Tate says via e-mail. "It is what I have always looked for in a handheld."

The mobility factor, in addition to so many capabilities, is what Sony is banking on.

"The mobility and portability aspect of the PSP is really key," says Anita Frazier, a San Diego-based entertainment industry analyst for NPD Group. "As a society as a whole, we don't want to be tied to wires or cables. We want to be able to move around, and have as much freedom with where we go and what we do with our devices."


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