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Gaming

Half a million PSPs sold in first two days

Sony acknowledges the PSP wasn't an immediate sellout, but $150 million in a week is nothing to sneeze at.

Sony released the first North American sales numbers for the PlayStation Portable on Thursday, saying 500,000 units of the handheld game player were snapped up in its first two days on the market.

While short of the immediate sellout many had expected--the most enthusiastic consumers waited in line for hours before the PSP went on sale March 24--the numbers were still encouraging for Sony.

Sony Computer Entertainment America said in a statement that PSP products generated more than $150 million in revenue for the company during the handheld's first week on sale, surpassing any previous game system launch.

"The launch of PSP was everything we hoped for," Kaz Hirai, president of SCEA, said in the statement. "In only two weeks, PSP is having an immediate impact across the entire industry, as consumers are clearly voting it the product of the year in 2005."

Sony introduced the PSP in Japan late last year and brought it to North America a few months later, positioning the gadget as a breakthrough device that would create new habits in portable entertainment. The device debuted in North America with an inventory of a million units, many of which were snapped up before launch day through advance orders.

While PSPs disappeared quickly from the shelves of specialty retailers such as game and computer stores, reports in online forums and other venues last week indicated units were still readily available at "big box" retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

Analyst P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research called the PSP launch "solid but unspectacular" in a report published last week. He said only a third of the 150 stores he contacted were out of PSPs and many reported having 100 or more units on hand. He estimated that more than 200,000 units were still available at retail outlets.

But McNealy cautioned that Sony was running a marathon, not a sprint, and the company still looked on track to sell 5 million PSPs in North America by the end of the year.

"We are hesitant to draw any macro-level conclusions about the success or failure of the PSP and impact on the video game publishers, simply because we are only seven days into the PSP launch in North America," McNealy wrote.