Sony has announced the first PSP titles available in the US under its budget-priced 'Greatest Hits' label, which the company hopes will help to stimulate both software and hardware sales for the device.
Retailing for US$19.99, the first selection of games to hit retail in North America include Ape Escape: On the Loose, ATV Off-Road Fury: Blazin' Trails, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee, Twisted Metal: Head On and Wipeout Pure.
Games eligible for inclusion in the Greatest Hits Collection must have been on the market for at least nine months, and sold in excess of 250,000 units.
Peter Dille, SCEA's senior vice president of marketing, commented: "The PSP system has truly arrived with the launch of its 'Greatest Hits' collection, which we expect will drive consumer interest in the device and strong hardware growth, just as the 'Greatest Hits' programs have done for other PlayStation platforms."
Additional confirmed titles, which will be released at the lower price point later this year, include third-party games such as Q Entertainment's critically acclaimed puzzle game Lumines, Take Two's Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, Activision's Star Wars Battlefront II and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 Remix, and Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade.
"Summer is typically the industry's lightest season for new titles," Dille added. "So releasing the PSP 'Greatest Hits' now benefits many consumers who find themselves with more downtime, whether they're on a plane headed on a vacation or simply trying to beat the heat at home."
Sony faces increasing competition in the handheld space from Nintendo, sales of the DS and its associated software so far outstripping the PSP by some margin. The budget-priced Platinum range was launched in the UK at the start of June, with a range of titles priced at 24.99 Euro. Sony is now banking on replicating the success of its lower-priced first and third party titles in the North American market and will be launching the range in the Middle East and Australia in an effort to push sales and increase its handheld market share.