Sony's next handheld console, the upcoming NGP, looks increasingly certain to undergo a staggered, regional release following the Sendai earthquake earlier this year.

The company had previously stated that a simultaneous worldwide release covering Japan, North America, and PAL regions (Europe, South Africa, Australasia) would be difficult in any event.

Jack Tretton, Sony Computer Entertainment of America's corporate president, told Bloomberg that instead of shipping to two regions as originally suggested, "maybe we get to just one market by the end of the year."

Which market that is remains to be seen. Will Sony go for Japanese home territory once again, where it has always done well, or would domestic disruption prompt it to try a riskier North American debut?

Either way, further delays would give an even bigger headstart to Nintendo, which released the 3DS in late February and early March, just prior to the quake, as well as to Apple's range of portables and Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 platforms.