As you're all aware, Sony officially confirmed the release date of the PSP last week (set for March 24th)–which means that retailers have also now begun taking reservations for the unit.
Unfortunately, many retailers are only selling the PSP in a "bundle." For example, if you go to the EBGames.com web site, you'll discover that the cheapest you can get a PSP for is $399, which includes the system value pack, 3 games, and an accessory.
But what if you don't want to spend $400 or more on a PSP?
Well, one option is to go to a brick and mortar shop like Target or Best Buy on launch day (preferrably when they open). Some stores in major metro areas, especially Best Buy and Wal-Mart, may open their doors early on that day or set the systems out for sale at a particular time–call to find out if your local store has anything special planned.
Another option is to place a reservation at your local game store, which includes brick and mortar shops such as EB Games, GameStop, and Toys R Us.
Although EB Games and GameStop are pushing their "bundle" packages online, the majority of their physical stores are not. We made a few calls and discovered that EB Games official policy is that pre-orders can be placed in-store for just the basic PSP Value Pack–for a mere $20 deposit. Toys R Us also allows for a "system only" deposit. GameStop stores vary by region, meaning that it's up to the district manager to decide whether or not to force bundle pricing (like their web site does) or to allow system-only pre-orders.
Sony is shipping 1 million PSP's in the first wave, and while it is likely the systems will sell-out, shortages shouldn't be a problem for those who decide to pre-order. You don't have to shell out $400 or more just to do so, however. Call your local game store and ask them if they'll let you pre-order for just the basic Value Pack. Also find out how many pre-orders they've already taken. We asked store managers what they think a good position on a list is, and the general concensus is that if you're between #1 – 24, you'll probably get one on launch day.