My question is: I am going to buy my husband the White Sony PSP, from Japan. I am not a technical wizard, so, I would like to know if there is a difference between the American version of the psp and the Japanese version. I tried reading what you have on your website, but i really don’t catch what you are trying to say. Please Help Me!
I see variations on this question with some frequency, actually. I think it’s the “eBay effect” where sellers in Asia can offer really good deals on the Sony PSP, but don’t bother to mention that they are indeed regionally encoded devices.
Just like how DVD disks are encoded for one of seven different geographic regions, the Sony PSP is now also regionally encoded. Though I don’t know how many regions they’ve chosen, I imagine that it maps directly onto the DVD space.
Here’s how that breaks down for DVDs, at least:
Region 01: Canada, U.S., U.S. Territories.
Region 02: Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East.
Region 03: Southeast Asia, East Asia (including Hong Kong)
Region 04: Australia, New Zealand, Central and South America, Caribbean
Region 05: Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa (also North Korea, Mongolia)
Region 06: China
Let me repeat this again, since I do hear from unhappy PSP customers:
Sony PSP devices are regionally encoded and if you buy one from the wrong region, you won’t be able to play UMD movies and, possibly, UMD games
If you think this through, it also means that it’s a mistake to buy games from the wrong region too: I have heard at least one report of someone who bought an overseas game and then couldn’t get it to run properly on his Sony PSP. I’m sure that it was just money thrown away, because Sony won’t replace it, the game manufacturer doesn’t want to know about tricky money-saving sales, and the auction seller probably says it’s something wrong with the PSP device.
Having said that, I also get the impression that the regional encoding system has been added after the fact: if you have an early Sony PSP unit still running firmware 1.5 or similar, it might well be the case that your device is not regionally encoded, though I haven’t experimentally verified that and wouldn’t bet hundreds of dollars on this theory!
Anyway, I would encourage you not to buy the cool white PSP from Japan if you aren’t also planning on buying all your UMD movies and games from Japan too. The risk of having a “brick” is just too high, even though the white PSP is clearly a sexy alternative to the standard black one. Hopefully Sony will release white PSPs into the US market some time this year…
If anyone has more specific information about PSP regional encoding,please do add it to this discussion so we can figure out exactly what’s going on!
Update: According to Euro Gamer.net, Sony PSPs are not regionally encoded for games. Nonetheless, I still hear stories, so still, caveat emptor.