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PSP2 due for Christmas 2011 Launch

Those of you hoping to see a surprise announcement from Sony that the PlayStation Portable 2 is imminent could be in for a disappointment: an unnamed source claims that it won't be hitting shop shelves until the end of next year.

Despite reports that development kits for the PSP2 are already in the hands of game studios, video game site VG247 quotes an anonymous British source as stating that he has been told "it's coming in late 2011".

The news will come as a blow for those hoping that they might be picking up the as-yet unannounced device as a Christmas gift, and presents gaming rival Nintendo with an opportunity: with the three-dimensional 3DS hand-held due out in the middle of next year and offering vastly improved performance over its predecessor, Nintendo could easily steal a march on the slow-to-release Sony.

Sadly, the source was less forthcoming on solid details. While it's an open secret that Sony will be coming out with a successor to the PSP after the failed attempt at a refresh that was the PSP Go - which ditched the UMD optical drive in favour of download-only games from Sony's PlayStation Network digital distribution service - hard facts as to the specifications and features of the device are difficult to come by, although an unsubstantiated rumour claims that it will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra chipset.

If the rumour proves true, and Sony won't be launching until at least the tail end of next year, meaning it's not just Nintendo that could have cause for celebration. Panasonic, a name not seen in the gaming market since the flop that was the 3DO, could be in with a chance with its MMO-centric Jungle hand-held - providing it can hit the market before Sony's PSP2.