Sony announced its NGP handheld gaming device earlier this year, finally laying to rest countless rumors with the reality of a new piece of tech that can essentially be encapsulated as “PlayStation 3 on the go.” No release date accompanied the announcement, though Sony boss Kaz Hirai said at the time that the plan was to kick off the release sometime later this year.
Now reports are coming in from third-party licensees that the device will launch in Europe before the end of this year, according to UK industry news site MCV. Sony is apparently pushing for development deadlines to be set that “ensure key Western releases are finished before the end of the summer for deployment in the autumn.” The site further states that “online leaks” suggest a release date of November 11, 2011.
It should be noted that neither piece of news is attributed to any specific source. So mark this one down in big, bold-faced letters as a rumor for now.
Sony moved quickly to rein in expectations following the NGP announcement and Hirai’s comments about a 2011 release. SCEA CEO Jack Tretton explained in a January interview with Engadget that “it’s very difficult to have the quantities to be able to launch on a worldwide basis on the same date. So while that’s the goal, the reality might be something different. I think our goal is, we would get at least one territory out by the end of holiday 2011.”
Sony, being a Japan-based company, has traditionally launched its gaming hardware there first. A debut for the NGP in Europe isn’t impossible, but given the vague sourcing for this news it is probably best not to make any assumptions just yet. It is equally likely Europe will be just one part of a global launch. Or that the reports are simply inaccurate and Japan will lead the charge for the NGP’s release, as most have expected.