Having done all it can with the PS2, Sony has today launched the PSP to a waiting Japanese market.

Roughly 1,300 impatient people waited their turn at an outlet of Yodobashi in Shinjuku district while the store moved forward its opening time to 6 a.m. from 9:30 a.m to cope with the demand.

Roughly 200,000 handhelds that offer games, MP3 and movies in a palm sized device went on sale early Sunday morning as Sony launched it rival to Nintendo's DS handheld console.

Priced at 19,800 Yen (roughly £99) the company is hoping for mass appeal to ensure a big uptake with a forecast to sell 3m units by the end of March.

Gamers in the UK and America unfortunately will have to wait until March before they will be able to get one officially in the UK.

Already there are a number of units available on eBay. Our advice however is to be careful as some are only for the information as to where to buy the console, or the box rather than actually the console itself.

The Sony PSP will go up directly against the Nintendo DS in Japan in the run up to Christmas and again in the UK in March. Nintendo is hoping to sell more than 5m units in the sale time period.

UPDATE posted 13th December 2004

It seems according to market research firm Media Create, 171,963 units of the PlayStation Portable were sold yesterday in Japan; if you take into account untracked sales of the handheld unit, the chances are very strong that the initial shipment has already sold out. Sony Japan, has suggested that it will be shipping more units in before the end of the year.