Sony’s New PlayStation Portable May Fall Further Behind Competition Due to Japan Quake

Sony’s new PlayStation Portable may fall further behind Nintendo’s 3DS as the consumer electronics maker faces production delays following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last month, Bloomberg reports.

As a result, the handheld gaming device, which goes by the name NGP for next-generation portable, may be introduced in only one region in time for the holiday shopping season — instead of launching simultaneously in Asia, Europe and the U.S., said Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America.

Tretton told Bloomberg that the delay would also give developers more time to complete their software.

Last month, Nintendo broke sales records after introducing its new portable game unit.

The big feature of the new Nintendo 3DS is the ability to view 3-D images without wearing special glasses. Sony’s NGP doesn’t really have one huge selling point, but rather the company has been meticulous in overhauling the entire device. The game player will have front-and rear-facing cameras, a gyroscope, accelerometer, Wi-Fi and 3G support and built-in GPS. It also boasts a five-inch, touchscreen display and a corresponding touch panel on the rear of the unit.

But that may not matter if it’s not available for sale in time for the holidays.

Edward Woo, a video-games analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg that if the NGP gets pushed out until 2012 for some markets, it threatens to put Sony further behind Nintendo.

“It raises the bar on the competitive issues that Sony is going to have to hurdle,” he said. “As it is now, it’s already going to be almost eight months behind Nintendo, and a delay could push that to a year.”

Nintendo, which is based in Kyoto, Japan, said production of the 3DS was not affected by the quake, but it still had to work hard to meet robust demand for pre-sales.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus