Sony have announced that the PlayStation Portable will be launching in America on March 24th - although this is somewhat confusingly after the date which many European gamers were expecting the machine to launch.

Recent speculation and retailer listings had seen games due for release in the UK set for release on March 11th, but this now seems to be thrown in to a spin with the March 24th American launch date being announced today.

The PSP will have a retail price in North America of $249.99 (approximately 175), and will see a total of 24 launch titles due for release during the first couple of weeks, including first-party titles Ape Escape, ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails, Gretzky NHL, Twisted Metal: Head On, Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade, Wipeout Pure, and World Tour Soccer.

Unlike the Japanese version which launched with both standalone console and a value pack options, the North American version will only be sold in the "value pack" format - featuring items such as a Memory Stick, headphones with remote control, battery pack and power adaptor, sampler disc, and somewhat suprisingly a complete copy of Spider-Man 2 supplied on the tiny UMD discs for the first million machines shipped.

Rival handheld system Nintendo DS launched in America back in November and sold a stunning 500,000 units during the launch week, and no doubt Sony will be hoping for better figures with the PSP which saw 200,000 units sell out on launch day alone in Japan just a couple of weeks before Christmas.

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