Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll know that there’s a war in handheld land, and its being fought on a global scale. Sony’s PSP is clearly the more powerful of the two, but the Nintendo DS is so unique, and Nintendo’s heritage in handheld gaming is so strong, that in many areas the DS is outselling the PSP.
I’ve personally ordered a PSP, but not before I checked out the competition. Update: The PSP has arrived, I’ll do a post on it in the next few days. Having played on both, I can honestly say that the PSP provides a console-style experience in your hands, whereas the Nintendo DS provides a handheld experience, much as the Gameboy Advance SP or the Gameboy did. Now Nintendo have released the Gameboy Micro, a minature version of the DS. I get the impression that Nintendo may have just shot themselves in the foot over this, because the GBA was actually such a damned fine (yet flawed) console that by resolving the issues that plagued it, Nintendo may well have just introduced a new competitor into the market.
Of course, everyone seems to have an opinion on the PSP Vs. the DS. Over at IGN there’s a great comparison between the two that shows that it’s not all about the raw power under the admittedly small hood. G4 has a three part comparison that makes the valid points on the DS’ lack of an analogue stick, making it almost impossible to play 3D games. It also makes a point of the PSP’s loading times. Consumers are happy to wait for games to load at home, but when you just want a quick blast of Tetris, are you willing to wait 10, 20, 30 seconds or upwards of a minute to play?
In August Satori took some statistics on PSP and DS game sales and compared the two. The results showed a neck and neck race in the U.S. but in the lucrative Japanese market, the PSP was trailing behind the DS. Korea appears to be a different story. A round-up of comments on the DS and PSP at GamaSutra tells us that the war is far from over. YongTae Kim, a Korean observer noted:
I am living in Korea working mobile contents publishing and have checked sales status of both handheld machines in Korea . The PSP has already sold out over 300K unit (I think almost 400k – 500K unit) while the Nintendo DS still struggling for sales in Korea . Marketing for the PSP is quite aggressive in Korea .
One things for sure, the battle for the handheld market is far from over. It’s only just begun.