Aside from video game consoles like the PlayStation 2, there also are handheld video games that people can carry around with them. The worldwide favorite right now is Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. But SCEI plans to introduce the PSP (PlayStation Portable), its first-ever portable game, around fall 2004, and people are curious to see how well the current leader of the home console market will fare in the area of handheld games.
SCEI will make the PSP a multifunctional portable device that people can use to enjoy movies and music in addition to playing games. Games and other content will be downloaded onto the console's UMD (universal media disk), so it will be able to hold data in large volumes despite being small. It is expected that in the future other handheld video games will come to have multiple functions, too.
One factor that has helped today's handheld video games to be successful is the improvement of liquid crystal displays. The first Nintendo Game Boy, which went on sale in 1989, had a black-and-white display. It was almost a decade before Game Boy Color, the first handheld console with a color display, came out in 1998. The latest in the series, Game Boy Advance SP, has a flip-top design and is small enough to fit in a pocket. Users can play on it continuously for as long as 10 hours, and the game is a favorite with children in Japan and elsewhere.