The history of the Sony PSP

It's easy forget that the PSP Go is actually the fourth PlayStation Portable handheld from Sony but it was over six years ago that the original model was announced. Hold the two side by side and it's easy enough to see the differences but the transformation didn't happen over night. So, here's how it all went down in the history of the Sony PSP from that heady summer's day in June to where we are today.

June 2003 A Sony PlayStation handheld is announced and described CEO Ken Kutaragi as the "Walkman of the 21st Century". There are no images, mock ups or models but the technical specifications are discussed.

November 2003 The first concept drawings of the device are discussed at a Sony meeting which include flat buttons and no analogue stick.

May 2004 The PlayStation Portable is unveiled at a press conference just before E3 and is the first handheld device to use optical disks - the UMD.

June 2004 The PSP is on show at E3 along with the games Metal Gear Acid and Wipeout Pure.

PSP-1000

October 2004 The PSP is officially launched with the worldwide release dates.

December 2004 PSP launches in Japan on 17th October for ¥19,800 for the basic model and ¥24,800 for the value version. It sells 200,000 units on the first day.

March 2005 PSP launches in North America for $249, approximately $20 more than the Japanese price and $100 more than its recently launched competitor - the Nintendo DS. 500,000 PSPs are sold in the first two days but there are later suspicions that the first weeks do not reap quite the figures that Sony had hoped for.

June 2005 Hackers release the PSP code and distribute it online. As a result the ISO loader is created crammed full of pirated games and is thought to be responsible for the rise in sales of the PSP but the drop in retail of the games.

September 2005 PSP launched in the UK for £179 - at the time over $100 more than the US price. Sony say this is because of high VAT pushing it up in the UK and the need to compensate for local sales taxes in the US. All 185,000 units sell out in the first three hours doubling the DS's record on launch.

March 2007 The PSP totals 25.39 million units shipped worldwide.

PSP-2000

June 2007 The next generation of Sony's gaming handheld is announced as the 33% lighter, 19% thinner PSP-2000 and is the first of the Slim and Light series. It supports USB charging, has a composite TV-out and twice the RAM taking the memory up to a healthy 64MB. The screen is brighter and the UMD speedier to load.

September 2007 PSP-2000 goes on sale worldwide

August 2008 An update of the PSP-2000 is shown off at a press conference in Leipzig. The PSP-3000 is ostensibly identical to its predecessor but features an improved LCD screen with a better contrast, colour gamut, a faster response time and an anti-reflective coating.

October 2008 The PSP-3000 goes on sale worldwide

PSP-3000

January 2009 Built-in Skype service is added though a firmware update as Sony announces that 50 million PSPs have been sold to retailers worldwide

May 2009 After much internet speculation, the PSP Go is revealed in June's issue of Qore online

June 2009 PSP Go officially launched at E3 with Bluetooth, a smaller 3.8-inch screen and at 43% lighter than the original PSP. The UMB has vanished and instead is replaced by 16GB of internal flash memory for digital downloads plus a Memory Stick Mirco port. The release dates are revealed as the 1st October for North America and Europe, and 1st November for Japan.

August 2009 56 million PSP units reported sold worldwide

September 2009 PSP service called the PlayStation Room is announced where users will be able to host real time communications inviting people in to their "rooms" much like the PlayStation Home service on the PS3. A closed beta test is to take place in Japan only between 24th September - 5th October.

October 2009 We await reviews and sales figures for the PSP Go.