The PlayStation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) is a slab handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Development of the console was first announced during E3 2003, and it was unveiled on May 11, 2004 at a Sony press conference before E3 2004. The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, and in the PAL region on September 1, 2005.
The PlayStation Portable is the first handheld video game console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), as its primary storage media. Other distinguishing features of the console include its large viewing screen, robust multi-media capabilities, and connectivity with the PlayStation 3, other PSPs, and the Internet.
Despite the console's considerable computing power and its formidable multimedia capabilities, sales have consistently lagged behind its main competitor, the Nintendo DS. After the release of a remodeled, slimmer, and lighter version of the PlayStation Portable, appropriately titled Slim and Lite, in early September 2007, sales quadrupled in the United Kingdom the following week and increased by nearly 200% in North America for the month of October. Although the PSP has faced very stiff competition from the Nintendo DS, it has been by far the most successful handheld console not manufactured by Nintendo.
Sony first announced development of the PlayStation Portable at a press conference before E3 2003. Although mock-ups of the system were not present at the press conference or E3, Sony did release extensive technical details regarding the new console. Then-CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Ken Kutaragi called the device the "Walkman of the 21st Century" in a reference to the console's multimedia capabilities. Several gaming websites were impressed by the handheld's computing capabilities and looked forward to the system's potential as a gaming platform.
The first concept images of the PlayStation Portable appeared in November 2003 at the Sony Corporate Strategy Meeting and showed a PSP with flat buttons and no analog stick. Although some expressed concern over the lack of an analog joystick, these fears were allayed when the PSP was officially unveiled at the Sony press conference during E3 2004. In addition to announcing more details about the system and its accessories, Sony also released a list of 99 developer companies that had pledged support for the new handheld. Several PSP game demos, such as Konami's Metal Gear Acid and SCE Studio Liverpool's Wipeout Pure were also shown at the conference.