As you may have heard, Sony’s next console will be a handheld and portable console which is going by the rather self-explanatory name of Playstation Portable (PSP).

Scheduled for release in the latter half of 2004, the company hopes to take on head-to-head current market leaders Nintendo, and will be in the running with Nokia’s N-Gage.

Here’s the specifications of the machine:

Display: Wide screen (16:9) TFT LCD with backlight and a resolution of 480 x 272
Disc format: Universal Media Device (UMD) ROM cartridge optical disc with capacity of 1.8GB
Video Support: MPEG4
Graphics: 3D Polygon/NURBS
Sound: PCM (built-in speakers & stereo headphone output)
I/O: USB 2.0 & Sony Memory Stick
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion

In a recent interview with Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Ireland, Niall O’Hanrahan, I discussed the forthcoming machine. Sony is positioning the console as the ‘Walkman of the 21st century’, with multi-functional capabilities and support for future technologies. Although no images of the machine have been made available, we did discuss development opportunities for Irish game developers.

Unlike previous Sony consoles, which required the purchase of an expensive development kit, Playstation Portable games will be developed using a PC package which will emulate the hardware. This substantially reduces development costs and should encourage Irish companies to develop for the machine. Initial indications suggest that the platform will be able to run games with a capability somewhere between PSOne and PS2 titles.

Sony have a 3rd Party Liaison Group which is dedicated to talking to third party developers, however Mr. O’Hanrahan has said that Irish companies who are seriously interested in developing for the console may contact him for further information on development opportunities with Sony. We have set up an email address for you to use to contact Sony. Please include your company name, contact details and any development history to mailto:

We’ll have further information on the Playstation Portable and development issues surrounding the console later in the year.