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Gaming

Sony NGP launch could be delayed to 2012 in Europe

Sony's next-gen handheld games console may only be released in one part of the world this year, due to production problems in Japan.

Looking forward to getting your thumbs on a Sony NGP this year? It seems you may have to hang tight a little longer. One of Sony's US execs says the device may only launch in one region out of Asia, Europe and the US in 2011.

Referring to the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit Japan last month, Sony Computer Entertainment of America president Jack Tretton told Bloomberg, "It may be the straw that says maybe we get to just one market by the end of the year." Tretton declined to say which region will get the NGP and which two will have to wait until 2012.

Tretton preferred to stress the positive aspects of a delay for the NGP, suggesting that developers in the later regions will have more time to prepare their launch games. Financial analysts aren't so keen, particularly as it means the device will make its debut even longer after Nintendo's rival 3DS.

"As it is now, it's already going to be almost 8 months behind Nintendo, and a delay could push that to a year," Wedbush Securities analyst Edward Woo tells Bloomberg in the same report.

Sony is not the only company facing production problems in Japan, where several factories have been shut down, while component suppliers are restricting their production. Apple is also grappling with the issue in the face of strong demand for its iPad 2 tablet.

Many tech companies have donated money and resources to the disaster relief effort, including Microsoft, Facebook and Google, as Wired reports.

The NGP was unveiled in January by Sony, shaking up the traditional PSP design with two analogue sticks and a 5-inch OLED touchscreen with 960x544-pixel resolution. There is also a touch-sensitive trackpad on the rear of the device, as well as front and rear-facing cameras, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and games coming on memory cards rather than UMDs.

Developers have praised the NGP's potential for gaming. "Low level APIs will allow the Sony NGP to perform about a generation beyond smart phones with comparable specs," said Doom and Quake auteur John Carmack shortly after the device was announced. The longer it takes for the NGP to come out, though, the more those smart phones will keep advancing...