The NGP, Sony's successor to the PSP handheld console, is to launch in "at least one territory by the end of holiday 2011" according to SCEA President and CEO Jack Tretton - but it's "very difficult" to launch worldwide on the same date.

Speaking to tech website Engadget, the Sony boss was quick to quell speculation about regional launch windows, or whether Japan would get the device first.

"I think our goal is always to launch holidays when the majority of sales are done. You want to have a worldwide simultaneous launch," he continued, before adding a caveat.

"It's very difficult to have the quantities to be able to launch on a worldwide basis on the same date. So while that's the goal, the reality might be something different."

For comparison, the PSP's Japanese launch was in December 2004, then in North America in March 2005, and in Europe by September. Its latest revision, the PSPgo, had a simultaneous North American and European launch in October 2009, with Japan following in November.

The PlayStation 3 was launched in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and North America in November 2006, and then in Europe, Oceania, South Africa and other PAL regions during March 2007 or soon after.

Nintendo are to debut their new 3DS handheld console in Japan on February 26, and a month later in Europe (March 25), North America (March 27) and Australia (TBC).

Engadget's interview with Jack Tretton can be read in full at