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PSP Vs. DS One Year Later

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the let's-get-on dept.


1up has a feature revisiting the ongoing struggle for supremacy in the handheld market. The PSP and the DS have had many ups and downs in the past year, and the column lays out the successes and failures for both systems. From the article: "And then there were two. The DS is cleaning up in Japan -- the sheer demand for the console there has siphoned every single unit from the marketplace, while PSPs sit unloved on store shelves. But here in the U.S., it's a neck-and-neck race. And, since the PSP launched one year ago on March 24th, 2005, we thought it'd be an excellent time to revisit the past year and gauge the situation as it stands today."

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go ds (1)

SpaceballsTheUserNam (941138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037138)

if the japanesse like it then i like it, thats what i always say.

Re:go ds (1)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037183)

Maybe when it comes to electronics, yes, but I'm not sure about some of their delicacies [] ...

AvantGo for RSS []

Re:go ds (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037381)

I'm not sure about their porno [] , either.

Japanese Delicacies (OT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037953)

Fugu (or pufferfish) is very delicious, both fried and sashimi (raw). Not eating it because a little bit of it is poison (a little bit that licensed chefs are specifically trained to deal with) would be silly. Kind of how buying a graphically superior system with far fewer good games is silly . . . .

And in the US... (1)

losman (840619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037145)

"... and here the race is neck and neck ..." Of course it is, we buy a lot of hype. An article was in the Wall Street Journal yesterday stating that UMD sales are so dissapointing that stores like Walmart are not going to sell them anymore. Also, movie studios (MGM, etc) are not releasing on UMD. BTW: I own a DS and it rocks!

PSP 4 Life (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037160)

I love my PSP. There certainly isnt enough games for it, something the DS has OVER the PSP. But the few good games i have, (GTA and SOCOM) absolutely rock. Playing socom in a 16 player server while chatting on voice without any wires or anything is very neat. If you have a choice, pick up a PSP over the DS.

Re:PSP 4 Life (1)

Zigg (64962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037207)

If you have a choice

Surely you mean "if you like those kinds of games"?

Re:PSP 4 Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15041017)

Now, now, let's not make any assumptions. Attributing intelligent thoughts to those who do not say intelligent things is never a wise idea.

Re:PSP 4 Life (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15048106)

Maybe he meant, "if you have enough money to purchase either one."

Re:PSP 4 Life (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037722)

I have both a DS and a PSP; I had the PSP since launch day, and only recently picked up the DS. I have found the PSP's games to be flashy and higher tech than DS games, but totally lacking in substance. The majority of games are bland and just not fun. The DS may not quite have the graphical capability of the PSP, although it is no slouch, but it has a much larger selection of more enjoyable games, and the (optional) touchscreen completely changes the perception of the gameplay, for the better.

Great idea (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15043107)

There certainly isnt enough games for it (...) If you have a choice, pick up a PSP over the DS.

Awesome idea. Buy the game console without the games.

If you convince enough gullible people to buy PSPs, maybe somebody is going to make a few games, too. In the meantime, the rest of us will be happy playing tons of utterly awesome games on our DS consoles.

The DS, of course (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037175)

But here in the U.S., it's a neck-and-neck race.

A lot of people purchased the PSP because it was new and cool, and for its multimedia features. Now that the PSP isn't so new anymore and the UMD format is falling out of favor, I fully expect that the DS will begin to pull ahead of the PSP in sales. The reason is that DS sales are driven by the titles themselves (e.g. Nintendogs, Metroid Prime, Mario Kart DS, Tetris DS, etc.) rather than the hype of the hardware. As a result, the Nintendo DS is likely to gain momentum as long as Nintendo keeps producing blockbuster titles for it.

In addition, the Nintendo DS targets a far larger market (adult men, teenage men, children, and women) than the PSP (young adult men with disposable cash) and competes heavily at a lower price point. Customizations like "pink" hardware help push it with the alternative markets.

Basically, Nintendo has a winner on their hands, and will do well as long as they don't screw it up. Sony has a first attempt on their hands that did exceptionally well. We'll see if they follow it up with a more focused device.

Re:The DS, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037200)

I sold my psp for a ds, and I dont regret it.

Re:The DS, of course (2, Insightful)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037290)

I guess I don't really see how the UMD format falling out will affect PSP sales at all. People obviously weren't buying them in the first place, which shows that they weren't really part of the selling point. I didn't buy my PSP for UMD movies...I never would even think about paying 125% for a UMD movie over a DVD. The few people I know that own one got it for the games, homebrew applications, as well as a portable media player. It's web-browser feature is also extremely handy in a pinch.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

losman (840619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037399)

Pee-Wee Herman rides by on his bike and crashes! Pee-Wee stands up and says "I meant to do that!"

Give me a break, everyone was hyping it plays games, it plays movies, it makes julienne fries. Now that it falls flat you say it was bought just for gaming. All the while ripping on the DS saying it doesn't do anything but games.

DS owners bought their DS because it does what is supposed to do very well. It plays games!

Re:The DS, of course (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037500)

What in the hell are you talking about? Are you sure you replied to the right post? I watch movies on it. Just not UMD movies. The PSP utilizes a technology called "memory cards". With these "memory cards" on the PSP, you can load things such as movies, pictures, audio, homebrew apps, etc. When loaded onto your PSP, you can navigate the menus to access said data. It's pretty slick actually!

I purchased my PSP (about 3 or 4 weeks ago) fully knowing the selection of games weren't great. I got it for all the other reasons I already mentioned. So no, I didn't buy it during the big PSP hype. Also, I never once implied that the DS does anything other than play games. But I will say that the DS has much more rabid fanboys. That said, I think I'm going to go play some Mario Cart DS.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037816)

I dunno something about all the fanboys bragging about how they have UMD movies or something? Maybe not recently but I've had plenty of arguments about those stupid things, and where are they now? Maybe this shouldn't have been directed towards you personally, but I think he makes a valid point for a lot of PSP fanboys.

Oh and if you wanted something to watch movies on why didn't you just go buy a $99 dvd player with a bigger, better screen that can also play music cd's and I wouldn't doubt they have ones that can play MP3's too.

Then you could have spent your left over $150 on a REAL gaming machine.

(Just kidding dude. heh)

Re:The DS, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037907)

Ahhh, thanks for clearing that up heh. Most of my gaming friends are strictly PC gamers, so I've never really heard all that other fuss! Didn't realize there was a huge "omg i can buy the same movie twice" sort of deal going on. Always seemed silly to me that Sony put out UMD, but at the same time supported MP4 playback.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037675)

Well if people purchased a PSP, a movie and a game and nothing else then it doesn't matter if PSP sales are neck and neck with DS sales. The DS is the clear winner. The point is that media for the PSP isn't doing so hot and that is where the money is at.

Re:The DS, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037805)

The point is that media for the PSP isn't doing so hot and that is where the money is at.

So all the money is in movies for handhelds? Because that's the only PSP media that "isn't doing so hot".

Re:The DS, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15041572)

No, PSP games aren't selling well either. There are a select few titles that sell pretty well, then there are a big load of games that don't sell at all.

The DS is winning by a mile in the "games sold" department.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040827)

I don't know. I imagine alot of the "young male with disposable income" market felt attracted to it because of the list of features like movies and music, and maybe tried a few UMDs, but then lost interest. Particularly if you look at the marketing they did in someway emphasize the multimedia capabilities

Re:The DS, of course (1)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037404)

Yeah, I agree. I think the introduction of the DS lite will help to shift even more consoles as well, as it will allow the DS to compete in the "sexy gadget" area of the market. And with Brain Training, New Mario Bros, Zelda DS all coming this year as well it should be another great year for the DS.

I'm particularly interested to see if Nintendo can recreate the sales frenzy Brain Training caused in Japan. Normally I'd be sceptical but Nintendo's success at turning Tetris and Pokemon into global phenomenons makes me wonder if they can do it again.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037661)

I'm not sure I can see brain training games being as big of a hit with REAL adults over here like they are in Japan.

(I say real because a lot of kids seem to think they are adults)

Over there you can see 60+ year old people playing those games. I'm not sure I expect to see that so much over here.

I'm sure they'll do well with the Nintendo fans in their 20's and maybe 30's.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope it takes off over here just like it did over there. That would be great.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037877)

The big problem I see is that the screenies seem to show the games being really simple math problems. Not anything I need to think about, but basic arithmetic. If it doesn't get harder, its unlikely I'd buy it.

Re:The DS, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15038053)

I'm not sure since I've never played the game, but I think the point of Brain Training is to answer hoards of simple questions in order to keep sharp. It isn't math tutoring software.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037943)

With Brain Age coming out and Magnetica on the horizon, I'm thinking about buying a DS for my mom. She already asks to play Meteos.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037586)

I don't see this neck and neck race. I am a programmer and no one in my office owns a PSP. Lots of people own GBAs and DSs. From what I have seen there is nothing for the PSP that makes me say I have to have it. The UMD IMHO is one of the WORST features. Why would I buy a movie on UMD when I can buy it on DVD and rip it and put it on my IPod. Maybe the PSP is more popular out on the West Coast.
BTW has anyone noticed that most "Mature" games seem to be targeted at 16-25?? year old men? Not exactly my definition of mature. Now Harpoon that is a mature game.

Re:The DS, of course (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037635)

I would take that one step further and say that mature games are markted towards 13-25 year olds.

I have a kid. A lot of my friends have kids. My parents baby sit a lot of kids.

Lets just say I am around a lot of kids.

Probably close to 70% of them (the boys) are all about the Mature rated games. I'm talking 8 year olds to 16 year olds here.

All of my cousines are between those ages (and I have a ton) ALL have PS2's and games like GTA3.

Infact my roommates son who is 12 makes FUN OF ME for playing Nintendo games. Seriously.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037688)

Here in NYC, I see a lot of both. Only males have the PSP though. There are a lot of SPs too.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040076)

ive seen a bunch of females with PSPs here on the east coast [inclusive of NYC]. the major difference is that most women [girls] i see with psp's are playing music off them or just watching movies.

Re:The DS, of course (1)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039001)

It's the shit ass UMD movies that aren't selling well. UMD games are still selling like... well I was going to say hotcakes, but let's just say like every other system's games.

DS VS PSP (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037196)

I haven't read the article, I try to avoid things like this because of the insane fanboyism but..

In the community it seems the PSP is mostly being used for emulation and the DS is being bought for DS games. The PSP might be a good jack of all trades machine, but the DS is for games and in the gaming community it's wiping the floor with the PSP.

To quote a message I saw once "I love my PSP, but it's collecting dust while I play my DS". This seems to be the general feeling around the two handhelds. One is worth playing and the others great, but it's not being used as a handheld, more as a portable PS2. Which is not what people want.

As a DS owner... (2, Insightful)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037512)

The article, scant as it was, is remarkably balanced.

I have a DS, but through a friend I had a chance to test the PSP over the weekend. It's hard not to love the PSP -- the screen is amazing, the graphics are superb and the ability to play MP3s and custom video on a memory card is a huge bonus. That said, the PSP has three weaknesses that the DS does not have namely, in-game battery life is a short four hours (which drops like a rock to two hours if playing a WIFI game. Straight MP3 play time is a respectable ten hours, though), the screen is extremely easy to scratch or mar with fingerprints and game load time is excessively long on occasion.

The DS doesn't really have these drawbacks as the battery life is a phenomenal nine hours (in fact, I haven't charged mine in over a month of on and off use. The DS Lite is expected to have a theoretical battery life of 15 hours), the screens seem impervious to scratches and smudges to a large degree and game load time is negligible. That's not to say the DS doesn't have its flaws as I feel the design is clunkly, the built in speakers offer tinny sound and the 3D graphics capabilities are underwhelming.

On the whole, I'd have to say the PSP is ideal for the type of 3D single player game you're used to on a PS3, but the DS is perfectly suited for multiplayer WIFI games like Metroid Prime and Advance Wars DS (duh, considering there doesn't seem to be a PSP analog to either game).

Re:As a DS owner... (2, Interesting)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037678)

Just a few responses to your criticisms of the PSP (I don't own a DS so I can't comment) -

in-game battery life is a short four hours

This is partially true. If you play a game on full brightness, you have really low battery life. However, I've managed to play a game on low brightness for up to 8 hours before. I can't really comment on wireless play, as I haven't tried it on battery power, just plugged in.

the screen is extremely easy to scratch or mar with fingerprints

Very true with the fingerprints. I also get lots of dust on mine when I put it in my pocket while listening to MP3s. However, it wipes off easy with the provided dustcloth and while there is a great cleaning FAQ on IGN that talks about using car wax, I've used a wet cotton cloth on it just fine with no problems. I've owned mine since July of last year and have bought two different screen covers (the stupid Pelican Face Armor [] kept breaking, so I found a nicer one that isn't attached to the actual PSP) that have prevented scratches really well. I don't have any that I can say are permanent scratches after 8 months or so. It definitely depends on how well you take care of your device, of course.

game load time is excessively long on occasion.

Many games are hampered by this problem, but it is possible to overcome this. The Sims has a horrible problem with load times, as does Madden (which is a horrible game, don't buy it) and Ape Escape, however other games such as Grand Theft Auto and FIFA Soccer (the original) aren't bad and Ridge Racer, Virtua Tennis, and Mercury have great load times. My initial feeling on this was that it was the UMD, which is partially true. I think the 100% truth is that the UMD is slow, but good programming and testing by the developer can definitely overcome the UMD's shortcomings. The more publishers/developers are criticized for not taking the speed of the UMD into account, the better load times I think we'll see.

On a totally unrelated to the parent post comment, I'm really looking forward to the library of games that are listed to come out this spring for the PSP. Lemmings, Worms, Mega Man, Katamari (which, not owning a PS2, I've never played), and Field Commander look like they all have great potential. I wouldn't count out the PSP due to a horrible games library just yet.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037756)

I think the 100% truth is that the UMD is slow, but good programming and testing by the developer can definitely overcome the UMD's shortcomings.

The UMD may or may not be slow; I don't know about that. I do know that Sony expects developers to test their games for PSP energy consumption. In other words, they are not allowed to leave the disc spinning. I have no doubt that good programmers can overcome this in certain situations, but I also have no doubt that there are certain types of games that are harder than others.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040961)

In other words, they are not allowed to leave the disc spinning.

A dev from Rockstar told me that leaving it spinning isn't a problem, the spinup drains all the power. Why any game spins it down I don't know.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037778)

That's funny my roommates PSP only last for like 3 to 6 hours tops regardless of what settings you have on it.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040220)

the screen:

ill admit fingerprints are a bitch, its worse than my ipod because at least the ipod is white. but scratches? i dont have a screen protector for my psp, but i have ZERO scratches. what am i doing wrong? my ipod on the other hand looks like its been through war with all the scratches. i bought the ipod only 2 months before i bought my psp.

battery life:

odd, i usually get about six hours of life out of a charge. but then again, i dont play GTA or use the wireless very much. heres a hint... if you need to play a handheld for more than four/five hours at a time you should just plug it in; youre obviously not outside. that or buy a new battery. i recall seeing a battery that lasts about 10 hours on a psp website not long ago. if its that big a deal to you, you can fix it. at least sony allows you to swap batteries, unlike my ipod. not many current psp owners complain about battery life.

load times:

when consoles decided to switch to cd and dvd based gaming, load times became part of the culture. load times should be brief, and give players a moment to breathe before proceeding to the next chapter or into the next fight/ match/ stage or whatever... as is usually the case with launch and first year games, early PSP games just were not properly optimized for the system. 30 seconds is alot of time to wait. i have only played a slight handful of games where the loading times gave me pause [im looking at you ATV offroad fury!]. games will get better with time, and so will their loading times. its a trade off; ill accept "reasonable" loading times for the psp's graphics, sound and game length any day of the year.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040969)

if you need to play a handheld for more than four/five hours at a time you should just plug it in; youre obviously not outside.

It's not necessarily one sitting, could be spread out over the day or even longer. Long train trips can leave you without an outlet for hours.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 8 years ago | (#15041120)

i apologise in advance,

>I can't really comment on wireless play, as I haven't tried it on battery power, just plugged in.

kind of defeats the point doesn't it :-)

seriously, the psp is very pretty but its trying to do to much. the ds which i have does games very very well. i would be keen though to get my hands on the opera browser when they release it.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

gabebear (251933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15042407)

On a related note on your totally unrelated note.........

Worms is also comming out for the DS very soon, and I couldn't be happier. It looks like they really nailed the user interface, the top screen is used as the default view of the scene and the bottom screen is used for weapons managment and scrolling the top screen. []

The bigger screen on the PSP will be nice, but being able to flick through your weapons, quickly set homing missles, and scroll the map at anytime is a big plus. Anyway, I'm sure my little brother will buy Worms for his PSP so I'll get to see which is better.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15049375)

Now, what really would be cool is if Worms on the PSP would actually play against Worms on the DS. But that won't happen....

Re:As a DS owner... (3, Interesting)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037696)

Gonna pull you up on three things..

1. The DS's main screen doesn't scratch easy.. on the other hand the Stylus's are slightly sharp when held at an angle, so you must have a screen protector. I've had my DS a year and the screen protector is honestly scratched to all hell. Get screen protection for your DS.

2. Graphics capability are underwhelming? Gameboy colour = NES, GBA = SNES, DS=N64. Seems to be a natural evolution to me. The DS looks better than the N64 with Mario 64 but doesn't play quite as well as the N64 did (D-pad isn't so great as a stick). As for the speakers.. well turn the DS up to full, it's louder than I'd have my TV on.. you hear everything fine. If anything I think the DS maybe a little too loud.

3. You've just hit the nail on the head. PSP is a portable console, complete with loading times and "Oh we can make better graphics than you!" ideals. Nintendo know full well that doesn't work, you must make a handheld console, a handheld console. While GTA may be great for an evening in, doing 30-40 minute missions after a 5 minute loading is just a bad idea for most people going places. I went to the hospital a few days ago and had to wait to see a doctor (1am emergency clinic), I was in pain and rather restless, so I took my DS and when I felt like playing I just turned on Mario kart, when I wanted to stop I turned it off. 4-5 minute bursts when I needed to distract myself from the pain. That's how most people play handhelds. 10-20 minute journeys, waiting in line, going to the bathroom etc.

The PSP tries to be a shark in a fish pond. It's big, bad, oh so pretty and can beat anyone up in the pond. But it's so big and bad it can't get around the lake, so it loses out to the little fish who can just side step it. The PSP has been side stepped over and over. It hasn't quite figured out why it's being beaten yet and as soon as it does, it'll see that a shark just doesn't work in a pond full of tiny gold fish.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037761)

Damn my DS's only get about 6 hours. 8 tops. Never more than that. (I've owned 2. My roomates dog chewed one to hell. It almost still works, but he got some critical parts)

My old GBA SP can go forever. I don't think I ever ran it completely out of batteries before I decided to charge it just to be safe.

That thing is AMAZING with battery life.

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038029)

"The DS Lite is expected to have a theoretical battery life of 15 hours..."

I wouldn't take that for granted just as yet. The DS Lite has a larger capacity battery, but it also has a much brighter screen. Now maybe my information isn't as up to date as yours, but it read to me like the extra battery capacity was needed for the screen, not because they were trying to double the life.

Take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, though. I personally am not expecting greater battery life from the Lite. Either I'll be satisfied or I'll be pleasantly surprised. :)

Re:As a DS owner... (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039698)

From what I've been told, the DSLite does actually have a longer battery life when using the lowest brightness setting (out of 4). It has roughly similar battery life to the DSPhat on settings 2 & 3, but actually has much shorter battery life on brightness setting 4.

Of course, the screenshots I've seen show that the level 1 brightness setting is significantly brighter than the DSPhat's backlight, so I can't imagine you'd ever actually need to take it up to brightness setting 4.

As another DS owner... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15041100)

"That's not to say the DS doesn't have its flaws as I feel the design is clunkly, the built in speakers offer tinny sound and the 3D graphics capabilities are underwhelming."

Just want to share my opinion on these points you made, which are certainly all valid.

1. The DS Lite serves to fix the clunkiness factor as far as the platform is concerned. It doesn't help existing owners who don't plan to upgrade, but new buyers are all set.

2. If you'd ever compared speakers of the same tiny size, you'd know that the DS speakers perform surprisingly well. They don't just seem to be typical headphone drivers glued to the inside of the shell. They are very clear, and are excellent at reproducing a wide range of frequencies (I have a pair of amplified electrostats the same size that play nothing but silence at frequencies the DS can handle easily). Stereo separation is simply AMAZING on the DS. I can use the DS outside of what you might think the angular sweetspot would be on something this small and STILL clearly differentiate between left channel and right channel sounds. I've heard higher-end portable DVD players (meaning, not the $200 8" models) with stereo speakers that sounded much worse. And the DS gets loud, too. It can get louder than the PSP, with no audible driver-induced or mounting-induced distortion at max volume.

I hope the DS Lite sounds as good as the original. Hoping for better would be unnecessary for something with this size and functionality, in my opinion. I haven't heard any reports from anybody who already owns a DS Lite.

3. It's approximately equivalent to a portable N64 on [two] small screens. I liked N64 on my big CRT SDTV a lot back in the day, and I think this level of performance works very well in portable format. I have yet to find myself wishing for better while enjoying any of my DS games. I'm someone who still gets impressed by well-executed art direction in 2D games, however, and I know that people like this are sadly becoming the minority.

(Sorry for the length of #2; I'm a home theater and recording enthusiast and I love the sound performance of my DS!)

Re:DS VS PSP (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037731)

If the PSP is only being used for emulation then how is Sony going to make money on it?

Re:DS VS PSP (1)

kyle (in stereo) (949060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038116)

At the moment they arn't.

Buy Daxter! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15038457)

And then play Daxter! No loading screens? WTF! Every other PSP game in my collection should hang their collective heads in shame!!

Re:DS VS PSP (2, Interesting)

ruhk (70494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038964)

Emulation is the only reason I would want a PSP actually.

Emulation? (1)

Jurrasic (940901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039374)

If emulation is all you want my friend, I highly suggest you check out the GPX2. This is a linux-based opensource handheld gameplayer and media player. Files are stored on standard SD cards, full support for just about every encoding method around for movies and music, and emulators for nearly every classic console and computer are either in development or 100%. With it's dual 200MHz CPUs (overclockable to 266Mhz, and for some units 300MHz even PSX emulation is becoming playable dispite the lack of a 3d GPU. is the main community site and file archive. Best $200 I ever spent.

Article warning (3, Informative)

cbiffle (211614) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037209)

Warning: the article's data is 75-80% ads, the server is slow, and it's broken up into tiny little pieces. I couldn't find a printer-friendly link.

Translation: reserve most of the afternoon to read this baby if you must.

dusty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037234)

both of mine are collecting dust...

psp is just boring, it's got a handful of decent games and the upgrades ruin your change to run emu's on it (I can't be bothered keeping up on the every changing hacks)

and the ds is big and klunky and a pain to carry around (im sure the lite'll be better) , plus I find it hard to pay $35 for a GBA quality game when I can get a GameCube or PS2 game for $20-$30...

they do both kick ass for airplane rides though...

Re:dusty (1)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037840)

GBA quality games?

What crack are you smoking?

Go buy Metroid Prime Hunters and Mario Kart DS NOW and THEN tell me those are GBA quality games.

What a freaking joke.

And the DS is no less clunky than the PSP. Yes I have both sitting in front of me right this very second.

One thing is for sure. You don't have to worry about scratching your DS or breaking it easily like the PSP.

And since when is $30 a lot to spend on an N64 quality game (because they sure as hell aren't GBA quality games)? And yes, that is the average price for a DS game. Only games like Metroid cost $34 bucks. Some of the games even cost $25 bucks.

Maybe you should do a little more research.

Tell me again how much PSP games cost?

Re:dusty (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040249)

the DS has some excellent quality games, but it also has some bad quality games as well. other games may be good quality, but lack length and or complexity. this was a hallmark of the gameboy product line. i think he was touching on that. for every metroid prime hunters you have two games that could very well have been created for the GBA sans the developer throwing in a random "touch" puzzle or gameplay mechanic.

the psp has its share of clunker titles too. dont get me wrong. but i think the OP was getting at the fact that some developers are developing GBA games but throwing in a "touch" gimmick and instead releasing them for the DS because they can command a slightly higher price.

"Mature Games" And Other Oxymorons (4, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037240)

From TFA:

It's difficult to ignore, though, that the PSP seems like the most attractive prospect right now for Western developers making "mature" games.


But in the U.S., the DS is seen as more like the successor to the Game Boy. Far from the brief flirtation with adult games like Sprung, Western devs are looking at the DS and thinking, "kids."

I still don't buy the "maturity myth"--or rather, I'm increasingly convinced that the "mature game" demographic is rapidly shrinking as a percentage of the overall gaming population. I genuinely don't think that either system's success or failure hinges primarily on the availability of "mature" games.

I wish the author had provided some support for his assertions--for example, which Western developers are shunning the DS because they think it is for kids? What makes the PSP inherently more attractive to the makers of "mature" games?

I think that Sony not releasing US sales figures is telling--if they were outselling the DS, don't you think they'd be shouting that fact from the rooftops? Of interest, too, is the slow-death of UMD movies. The DS is flying off the shelves--is the same true for the PSP?

Mature games.. (2, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037600)

That's an excellent comment.

When I think of truly mature games, I think of the games that adult visitors would be willing to play in a group setting (hint, not DOA volleyball). My games that currently fall into this "mature" category are:

1. Mario Kart DD
2. Donkey Konga
3. Super Monkey Ball

I own other good games like Resident Evil 4 (or now Oblivion on the PC) that feature more non-child-appropriate content that's appropriate for the type of game. I suppose there's a teen demographic that specifically looks for violent or sexual content - but that content is hardly "adult" or "mature", it's adolescent and often detrimental to a game. It certainly dissuades me from buying it, as it makes it much less likely to ever be played multiplayer. It's not that my friends are prudes, it's just that very few females I know are interested in playing a zombie game. They find it distasteful - and when the content is not attractive they assume the gameplay will not be as well (although they'll overcome their distaste if they do like the gameplay - Typing of the Dead is a favorite with many visitors who don't like other games).

I don't hunger for more "adult" content on my Gamecube or DS - in fact I wish more games were cast in less threatening settings, as it increases the number of people who can enjoy playing.

inherently more attractive for "mature" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15040989)

Don't be silly, that comment is obvious, it doesn't require backing up. The PSP has a higher resolution screen and more polygon power, it can display more realistic pictures of heads being shot off with spewing blood, hookers and car crashes. Basically, the PSP can do a 3D GTA game, the DS couldn't really cope with it.
Of course, you can argue about the definition of "mature", but you'd be wasting time. It's industry jargon with a set meaning (violent/sexual), even if that meaning does not intersect with the dictionary definition.

I say this as a DS owner and fan: the PSP has better graphics. It's not a better console though.

Doesn't Hold Muster (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037243)

Really? I know plenty of people who have a DS but no PSP, but everyone I know with a PSP has a DS. Something to do with the utter lack of quality games for the PSP.

Re:Doesn't Hold Muster (1)

glitch0 (859137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037979)

I have a PSP and no DS and I've never owned a Sony console before. I do, however, have a gamecube and an n64.

I would say that in the US, (2, Insightful)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037271)

The PSP has done well because of its overwhelming advantage in the war of shelf-space. At the local Circuit City, the DS shares a shelf with the GBA, while the PSP has its own special stand devoted to it and accessories. The demo DSs always are heavily scratched and look like shit, next to the PSPs superior (and unscratched) screen. Adding insult to injury is the terrible selection of DS games that most retailers (wal-mart, target, etc.) stock. The games that really utilize the system and show off what it can do aren't even on the shelf, instead you get the EA shit, Disney shit, and crappy ports from other consoles (King Kong). If Nintendo America was really aggressive in marketing the DS over here, I think they'd have a lot more success. DS has been out a year or so and the only ad I've ever seen on TV is the new one for Tetris; the PSP ads (its portable cheese? a nut you can play with outside? wtf?) are on all the time.

Re:I would say that in the US, (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037410)

I've seen quite a few adverts for the DS on UK TV - they sponsor a lot of programmes on Channel 4, mostly alternative comedy. Trauma Centre, Animal Crossing etc.

Re:I would say that in the US, (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037853)

Even with Reggie, NoA is not really great at marketing. They have improved over the GC, but it isn't quite at the level it should be.

Re:I would say that in the US, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15038301)

The demo DSs always are heavily scratched and look like shit, next to the PSPs superior (and unscratched) screen.
Could this be because folks are actually using the demos DSs, thereby showing interest in the DS and completely ignoring the PSP?

Re:I would say that in the US, (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039370)

Odd, I've seen plenty of DS commercials. From the ones for Kirby Canvas Curse (quite possibly one of the most surreal commercials ever) to the new Tetris ads. They tend to only play during the day though, or early mornings. I don't think I've ever seen them during prime time. That might be the issue (although, truth be told, I Tivo everything in primetime, so I never actually watch the commercials).

Re:I would say that in the US, (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15041487)

The demo DSs always are heavily scratched and look like shit, next to the PSPs superior (and unscratched) screen.

Translation: the demo DSs have been thoroughly mauled by an endless parade of people wanting to play on them. Nobody's even touched the PSP.

UMD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15037305)

DS is beating PSP in Japan, but maybe neck-and-neck in the States? Perhaps, but since Wal-Mart and several movie studios are moving to dump the UMD format, I imagine Nintendo's going to remain on top of the handhelds for a while longer.

Lumines (0, Offtopic)

Erich (151) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037369)

Does it play Lumines [] ? If not, I don't care about it.

Not that I'm an addict. I could stop any time I want.

Re:Lumines (1)

ubikkibu (544498) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037869)

Too true. Best puzzle game evah--crank up the dance music and get in the zone. Syphon Filter and Wipeout are also among the best games I've played on any platform. I've got two PSPs and two DSs. I'm a big Nintendo fanboy, but I must say our DSs are the ones collecting dust, but I'm sitting here watching the clock, waiting to go finish Level 3 on Syphon Filter...

Re:Lumines (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038118)

With a Supercard and the GBA homebrew version of Lumines it does. Then with the Supercard you can keep going and run any GBA/DS rom you want.

Re:Lumines (1)

justchris (802302) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039383)

No, but the DS does play Meteos, which I personally enjoy more than Lumines. Lumines is a fine game, but not nearly as fascinating as Meteos...but that's a personal preference, so make your own judgement there.

Re:Lumines (1)

nmaster64 (867033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040105)

Two words...

Tetris DS, one word and two letters if ya wanna be picky.

Lumines is great, but nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat Tetris. Especially Tetris DS, which has done some really awesome things with the classic game, including that online play...

Also, I think any puzzle fan should have a strong interest in the "Brain Age" games...

If your a puzzle guy, the DS is really the only way to go. Anyone who says the PSP has better puzzle games is so Sony-brainwashed it hurts just to think about. I mean, Lumines is really great, but it just can't stand up to the DS lineup:

Brain Age
Bust-a-Move DS
Mr. DRILLER: Drill Spirits
Pokémon Trozei
Puyo Pop Fever
Tetris DS
Zoo Keeper

Re:Lumines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15045201)

Plus the GBA has some great puzzlers which you can play on your DS, e.g. Super Puzzle Fighter, Chu Chu Rocket, Dr Mario.
Now I think about it, those are all ports. I guess there are some good original ones too....

Re:Lumines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15046668)

Find me somewhere that you can even get Super Puzzle Fighter for the GBA. :(

The one problem that I have with the DS, is that they didn't include a link emulation layer so that you could multiplay GBA games wirelessly from DSDS. While the DS plays all those old GBA games, it completely dismisses the multiplayer capability of them. Why, Nintendo, why? :(

Yes, in fact (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 8 years ago | (#15044643)

The DS does play Lumines. It's just called Meteos :-)

Seriously, though, since Tetris DS, all other puzzle games are dead. And there are plenty of awesome puzzle games on the DS.

DS vs. PSP (3, Informative)

DRO0 (252117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037379)

When first evaluating my next portable hardware purchase, I was intrigued by the PSP appearing to be a portable "Playstation 1.5" as far as graphics and other capabilities go...

But I ended up going with the DS for three main reasons.

1. ~$120 USD cheaper
2. GBA-compatible -- I have a decent GBA library so I could give the GBA to my son :) but still play the games on the DS.
3. Mario Kart DS -- 'nuff said

At first I was also dubious about the dual-screen thing, but now I think of it as a great idea. It's nice for even simple things like in Mario Kart where you can glance down to check the overhead view of the other cars, etc.

For future RPG games it seems like a great thing as well to always have map or inventory available on another screen. I'm also looking forward to the recently announced Zelda game.

Not trying to sound like a "fanboy", just my $.02.

Re:DS vs. PSP (1)

losman (840619) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037459)

"At first I was also dubious about the dual-screen thing, but now I think of it as a great idea."

Especially when you get blinded by the ink and can't see where you going. I look down to the lower screen map and drive off of it. :)

PSP VS. Nintendo (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037449)

Lets not forget the rest of Nintendo's offerings. Not only is the PSP competing with the DS, it's competing with the GB Advanaced (SP), and the GB Micro.

Re:PSP VS. Nintendo (1)

apoc06 (853263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040268)

the psp isnt winning anything by a landslide, but given the way that nintendo has a chokehold on the portable market, i think the psp is doing just fine.

Then there were "two?" (2, Insightful)

terrisus (108956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037488)

So, what, does the GBA not count anymore?
Last I checked, that was beating both of them by a fairly sizable amount.

Re:Then there were "two?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15038288)

No, it doesn't. What's the GBA's game release schedule like these days? Like 1-2 games a month? The last GBA review IGN posted was for Tales of Phantasia, and that was over a month ago. GBA isn't dead, but it's dying fast.

You must not have checked recently (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038342)

So, what, does the GBA not count anymore?
Last I checked, that was beating both of them by a fairly sizable amount.

American sales numbers are notoriosuly hard to get ahold of, but in japan at least [] the NDS and DSL have been smearing _all_ the competition over the last few weeks. The SP and Micro are selling only a fraction of that and the original GBA is being outsold by the XBox, not that winning by 117 to 98 is really something for Microsoft to boast about :)

Re:You must not have checked recently (1)

terrisus (108956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039718)

Yeah, I tried to add on a comment specifying "In the US this is," but, apparently Slashdot ate it or something.
Ah well.

Re:You must not have checked recently (1)

terrisus (108956) | more than 8 years ago | (#15041320)

Also, just to more specifically address the numbers on the US, the article does mention in passing at the end:

"and that Nintendo sold nearly 5 million GBA units in the U.S. last year"

As opposed to:

"At any rate, it seems as if Nintendo and Sony are in a statistical tie. The most recent numbers that Nintendo has reported are that the DS sold 3.97 million units in the US by the end of 2005, putting them right up against Sony's figure."

So, at least for the 2005 year, if not the recent months (since, as mentioned, specific US numbers are often hard to come by), GBA did beat them both for the year this article was talking about, and to just skim over and ignore it like that isn't really doing it justice.

Yay Journalism (1)

Rydia (556444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037504)

"The two are neck and neck based entirely on vague numbers given by each company with no context at different times, with no dates given to consider. Because we say so."

That's persuasive!

Trying to compare solds in the US is silly. People tried retailers, then realized that underrepresented Nintendo because Wal*Mart wasn't included. So we went to asking companies, which people think would be accurate. But, uh... companies lie? And not just in one direction or to the same degree-- sometimes it makes business sense to understate things, if you have a marketing strategy.

So, this article really doesn't tell us anything useful, verifiable, or insightful, and mostly just ends up being a sounding board for the author. Go Games Journalism!

Developers! Developers Developers! (3, Insightful)

displaced80 (660282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037515)

I bought myself a PSP a few weeks ago. I was attracted by the homebrew scene, and thought it just looked like an interesting piece of kit.

Then, I noticed the problems in the PSP gaming community, and felt a little buyer's remorse. But I think things are looking up.

The PSP was done no favours by the Playstation development community. Games seemed to be ports of PS(not P) games. Porting an existing franchise is a safe bet when a new platform's released. The Nintendo world did better out of this: Nintendo have a legacy of great games targeted at portable play. Developers saw the PSP's pretty damn awesome abilities and gave in to the porting temptation. But not straight ports from regular console games rarely survive 100% intact after the move to a portable. Even if the portable's got all the tech to make it an almost seamless port, many games just don't feel right on a portable. The controls are odd. The 'style' of play feels wrong. _Splinter Cell_ is a great example of this: the original was great, the PSP version's technically gorgeous.... but it's a bastard to play.

I think Playstation development world needed a taste of failure to make them take a step back and actually develop _for_ the PSP. Continuing along the 'Splinter Cell' vein, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror is what SC on the PSP should've been. The 'stealth-combat' genre reworked for the portable format... and it's fantastic. Nintendo already knew how to make great portable games, and the DS has some brilliant titles. Looking at some upcoming PSP games, I'm a bit more happy with my purchase. It's taken a while, but I think the PSP's on its way towards getting out of the shadow of the PS. I hope we'll see some games that are both great to play on a portable, and make full use of the PSP's abilities.

analyzing the numbers ... (1)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037530)

Just analyzing the numbers is interesting.

Hardware wise, in Japan, the DS is cleaning house. (And even more so now with the DS Lite is out). But in the North American market, it's a more even race.

Software wise, in Japan, the DS continually has 7-9 titles in the top 10 software sales charts. That's incredible if you ask me. I don't know of any place that tracks North American software titles by system, but if Japan is any indication, then it sounds like people are buying the PSP for other reasons than games.

What does this mean? Well, it's reported that the PSP sells for a loss, with the hope of game sales to help the bottom line. But if people are only buying the psp to do other things like rips movies/tv shows and listening to music and playing home brew software, that means software sales aren't going to be as high as they want/need to recover hardware costs. Is Sony worried about this situation. I think they are. Just look at all the trouble they're going through to get new firmware out there that'll prevent people from running their homebrew stuff.

Hmm .. I think I lost my point somewhere in there. :) Let's just summarize with this:

It seems to me that people are buying the DS for playing games and since games make Nintendo money, it's no wonder they're the best looking gaming company financially. Meanwhile, the psp continues to sell to those people who just want a gadget to play around with. I wonder if Sony is making money on the PSP at all?

DS Lite will help (1)

Arkham79 (219828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037538)

One of the upsetting things about the DS was that it basically looked like a big chunk of ugly plastic compared tot he PSP - it was not exactly something cool to be seen with, or at least that was how I felt when I was roaming around the airports at Cristmas......this was alleviated by the fact that I was playing Mario Kart :)

The DS Lite [] looks like it will change all that - the hard core gamers are saying that they are getting one to replace their existing one because the screen is much improved, but everyone knows it's really bacuse it just looks swish compared to the old one and is no longer so strangely bulky. Now lets hope that Nintendo get their skates on and announce a US release date sooner rather than later.

What about games sold in the US? (2)

PeelBoy (34769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037581)

Who cares if the PSP and DS are neck and neck here in the US.

How well are PSP games doing?

Last time I saw numbers the DS was selling way more games.

I'm sure Sony is losing money on each PSP sold so who cares about that.

I want to know who is selling the most games. That's where the money is.

I hate reading 1up articles - full text (2, Informative)

dyslexicbunny (940925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037776)

As E3 2006 draws near and the great next-gen console war begins to take shape, it's easy to forget, in all the hype surrounding the Nintendo Revolution and the Sony PS3, that there's already a major knock-down, drag-out brawl in progress.

That fight is, of course, between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. And it's been a bloody affair. In fact, the portable-format wars have already seen their share of casualties. Nintendo and Sony, for all their competition, can take heart in the fact that the time and money invested into their handheld battle has at least had the effect of destroying all the other competition in record time, from the Zodiac to the Gizmondo to the N-Gage.

And then there were two. The DS is cleaning up in Japan -- the sheer demand for the console there has siphoned every single unit from the marketplace, while PSPs sit unloved on store shelves. But here in the U.S., it's a neck-and-neck race. And, since the PSP launched one year ago on March 24th, 2005, we thought it'd be an excellent time to revisit the past year and gauge the situation as it stands today.

Dueling Announcements

E3 2003 was pretty boring.

Nintendo's booth was mostly filled with the scattershot dregs of its ill-considered "Connectivity" campaign, a disappointing early version of Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and a Japanese-language demo of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles that nobody knew how to play. Microsoft did no better: Besides the hands-off demo of Halo 2, all its booth had to offer was a bunch of half-finished Rare titles that wouldn't be released for another two years.

Sony didn't have much to get excited about, either. And maybe the company knew that, which is why it dropped a bomb that seemed very much like a last-minute addition to its press conference. In a shocker, Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Ken Kutaragi said the company would debut a handheld system the very next year. Although no images of the console were shown, the specs announced were enough to make "PSP" the buzzword on everyone's lips.

Nintendo's immediate reaction was to point out that "PSP" was just that: only a buzzword. It didn't exist yet. But the company knew that Sony was serious, and it was widely speculated that Nintendo would end up announcing a new Game Boy soon enough. What nobody expected was that in January 2004, Nintendo would begin to talk up an innovative new portable system that featured two screens in a vertical alignment.

These tiny scraps of information were all anyone had until E3 2004. Sony's PSP showing was impressive -- the unit was sexy, and the games looked positively PS2-level quality. Journalists then packed into buses and rode to Nintendo's press event, wondering how the company would top the PSP. Whether the stage debut of Reggie Fils-Aime (Nintendo's then-new executive VP of sales and marketing), did indeed best Kutaragi is a matter of debate. But the early videos of games like Super Mario 64 DS and Metroid Prime Hunters were impressive, and the system's stylus-based touch screen controls took everyone by surprise.

Two Launches

The DS and the PSP ended up dropping on Japan within days of each other in December 2004. The price difference wasn't as pronounced as many speculated. Industry insiders said that, at ?19,800 (approx. $180) for the Core Pack, Sony was losing around $200 on each unit sold. But the DS still undercut the PSP at 15,000 yen, which was roughly equivalent to the U.S. launch price of $149.99.

The DS launch was unique for Nintendo in two ways. For one, it was the first Nintendo gaming system ever released in the U.S. first, hitting during the lucrative Thanksgiving shopping season. (Early indications from Satoru Iwata are that the same may hold true for the Revolution.) The launch also differed from past system debuts in that Nintendo's own launch games were bumped off the lineup to make room for Western developers, which were present in full force with games like Activision's Spider-Man 2, EA's Madden NFL 2005, and Ubisoft's daring-but-oh-so-boring dating game, Sprung.

The post-launch drought that followed, however, was the stuff of legend. Nintendo spaced out some of the Japanese launch titles over the next few months, but games like Yoshi Touch & Go, WarioWare: Touched!, and Polarium were...well...boring. It seemed, for a while, that the DS would indeed be relegated to the realm of "gimmick." It wasn't a good few months.

Meanwhile, the PSP took full advantage of the DS' downtime with a much-hyped U.S. launch on March 24, 2005. Even at the asking price of $249.99, the system was a hit. Early titles like Lumines, Ridge Racer, and Wipeout Pure were snatched up by gamers like smack by a junkie. And an assortment of the "supporting cast," like Metal Gear Acid and Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower, found cult-hit status. But the PSP wasn't immune to the drought effect, either. After launch, it slipped into the same mostly dead zone as the DS, and it wouldn't be until the fall that either handheld really started to take off.

Dogs, Ports, Updates, and Wi-Fi

All summer, the DS vs. PSP fight was less of a brawl and more like a drunken game of Marco Polo. Everybody was sloshing at turtle-like speeds around the pool, eyes closed, fumbling wildly, hoping to tag someone. The first direct hit came in the form of Nintendogs. The DS puppy simulator didn't receive much attention when it was shown on video at E3, but a stellar Japan launch and a perfect score from Famitsu magazine made waves around the world. Nintendo moved over 1.5 million units of the software in the U.S. alone, actually surpassing domestic sales.

And it kept the streak going with hits like Advance Wars, Mario Kart DS, and Animal Crossing: Wild World -- the latter two being the world's introduction to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, the company's long-overdue online gaming service. Within months, it had logged over 1 million users -- and the games weren't that bad either.

The PSP, meanwhile, had a pair of hits of its own with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Burnout Legends. Jaded industry types were heard proclaiming that, finally, there were games on the system worth owning besides Lumines. (This isn't to say that those jaded industry types were doing nothing with the PSP. But many of them were playing homebrew software created by hackers determined to crack the system's security vulnerabilities. As a result, Sony constantly issues firmware upgrades in an effort to patch up those holes. This has turned out to be a constant annoyance for PSP owners that isn't going away anytime soon.)

And all told, the first few months of 2006 have been great for both systems. Capcom seems to have gotten out of its "quick-and-dirty ports" mentality and into an "elaborate, clean ports" groove with bottom-up remakes like Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X and Mega Man Powered Up. And Nintendo's Wi-Fi brigade continues this month with the release of Metroid Prime Hunters and Tetris DS.

Where They At Now?

Several different Japanese organizations keep an accurate running count of hardware sales, so it's very easy to tell who's ahead and by how much. Thus far, 6,385,193 DS systems have been sold in Japan (through the week of March 12), including the new -- and perpetually out-of-stock -- DS Lite. Sony, meanwhile, has only moved 3,135,588 units of the PSP. And that gap is only going to increase. Japan's market, historically, has always embraced one piece of hardware and skyrocketed it above the competition. So, mark our words: The huge gap there between PS2 and GameCube installed bases is going to be replicated -- but in reverse.

In the U.S., it's a much trickier situation to read. Just recently, Sony announced that it had shipped 15 million PSP units worldwide. But there's often a huge gulf between "shipped units" and "units that consumers actually bought." How big? It's impossible to tell for sure, since Sony won't release installed base numbers. The most recent figures were that 5.81 million units had been shipped to the U.S. by the end of 2005, but the number of PSPs that had been sold by the middle of February 2006 was only reported by Sony as "more than 4 million units." That's a nearly 2-million-unit difference in the U.S. alone.

At any rate, it seems as if Nintendo and Sony are in a statistical tie. The most recent numbers that Nintendo has reported are that the DS sold 3.97 million units in the US by the end of 2005, putting them right up against Sony's figure. For the time being, arguments about who's leading in the U.S. are moot, because nobody is.

It's difficult to ignore, though, that the PSP seems like the most attractive prospect right now for Western developers making "mature" games. In an era where it's of paramount importance to develop games for as many platforms as possible to minimize risk and maximize returns, the PSP is for all intents and purposes a fifth home console. It's not rare to see games ported across the PS2, the PSP, the Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the GameCube. This is excellent for the overall health of its release calendar, but potentially boring for gamers who are looking for a more diverse experience. When a developer does come up with an "original" PSP game, it's often a spin-off of a popular console series with heavily reused assets (Liberty City, Burnout, Katamari).

It's not as if the DS is faring much better. Yes, third parties are in love with the little odd-shaped-portable-that-could in Japan. But in the U.S., the DS is seen as more like the successor to the Game Boy. Far from the brief flirtation with adult games like Sprung, Western devs are looking at the DS and thinking, "kids." But then again, considering how big a business the cartoon-licenses-on-GBA racket is -- and that Nintendo sold nearly 5 million GBA units in the U.S. last year -- the DS is in an excellent position to take that market home in 2006.

Whether or not the imminent U.S. release of the "brain-training" games will capture the dads-and-grandmas market that Nintendo so deftly wooed in Japan is anyone's guess. For now, the Stateside PSP vs. DS fight is shaping up like the Super Nintendo versus Genesis battles of yore -- a tough fight to the finish. And just as long as Sony doesn't debut a 32X add-on, it's likely to stay that way.

PSP Is a GREAT development platform (2, Insightful)

TouchOfRed (785130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15037884)

I will acknowledge that the general public are not developers or hobbiest's before my post. That being said, I take the PSP hands down any day over the DS due to how easy of a device it is to code for. Once you get the psp-sdk(modified gcc for embedded hardware) from compiled and running, you can easily start developing games and applications for the psp, without any expensive hardware mods.

With the sdk, comes tonnes of samples which outline how to use the features inside the psp, such as audio,gu,wifi,umd, controller, usb etc.
The PSP development communities also have some amazing tools out, such as PSP-LINK which lets you control your psp via a shell over a wifi connection, and lets you attach gdb debuggers to debug your games. Homebrew is possible on the DS, just not feasible. The PSP on the other hand has got to be my favorite handheld system EVER, mainly for the fact that i have an nes/snes/genesis as well as upcoming n64 and psx emulators, movies, tv episodes etc... right in my hand at 480x272 resolution on a sweet screen. The main driving force in my purchase though was definatly the development options.

Re:PSP Is a GREAT development platform (1)

saphint (668126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15038210)

The problem with what you suggesting. which is a strange problem to have. Is that your not spending any money on the PSP. To continue your home-brew on your PSP, you cannot buy anything for the PSP anymore, as it will upgrade your firmware, and break your PSP applications. The only other way around this is to buy another psp, and use that solely for bought items. Also noting that the new PSP have the latest firmware(hopefully). The main problem with your frivolous activities on the PSP, is that your making the number of units sold for the psp almost invalid. As you do not belong in the PSP's market of viable consumers. On the other hand with the DS, and as you put it. "Homebrew is possible on the DS, just not feasible.", meaning that a much higher percentage of the DS consumer base, is in fact buying and spending money on the DS. What I'm also getting at is that, even if the DS vs PSP in America is suppose-ably even. The DS should be a much more lucrative venture for a lot of game developers.

Firmware doesn't matter for homebrew (1)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15039859)

For homebrew games, one can use the buffer overflow in GTA to launch a loader.

If you're simply trying to pirate PSP UMD images and play them from a memcard...then, yes, you need a 2.0-or-below-BIOS.

Re:PSP Is a GREAT development platform (2, Interesting)

some guy on slashdot (914343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040840)

I know this is a silly point to contend on, but DS development really isn't all that expensive. You can easily get everything you need for about $80.

GBA Movie Player: $25

CF Card: around $30, more or less depending on capacity

PassMe: $25

Roll in the DS and that's still not as expensive as a PSP base package. (And that's assuming you don't get one or more components for free; for example, I bought a wireless card for WifiMe, flashed my firmware and returned it the next day; and for some reason all my relatives have used CF cards they don't want any more, so my DS devkit ended up costing a stellar 25 bucks.)

I'd also like to point out that flashing your DS's firmware is not a "mod" in the traditional sense - you don't solder anything, there are no exposed boards; you just stick a metal bit in one easily accessible hole next to the battery casing for a few seconds. It's pretty damn foolproof.

Also, as someone already pointed out, the DS is not "living hardware" like the PSP; you can still play games on it without ever losing your mod. (The first 64k of the DS's firmware is write-protected - thus the circuit shorting - and in the modded firmware, this includes the code that passes execution to the GBA slot.)

Re:PSP Is a GREAT development platform (1)

TouchOfRed (785130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15043940)

Yes, for myself the 80$ is no big deal, but those whom you are distributing homebrew to will not buy this.

I like the PSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15040394)

Basically, the PSP suffers because the major game developers aren't putting much energy into it--the new games mostly suck, and the good games are just vaguely rehashed ports of old games for the PS2, PS1, and occasionally things like SNES.

However, there is a fairly lively community (mostly in the US, I think) of PSP hackers who are falling over each other to exploit the kernel to run unsigned code, so they can have emulators, port Linux/NetBSD, etc etc etc. If Sony can exploit this large community of "amateur" developers, the PSP could be a big hit.

For example, they could sell an "Hobbyist Programmer Kit" that would include a UMD that can run code from the Memory Stick in some kind of protected mode, and maybe some developer tools for the PC to go along. If they were really serious, they'd have a USB keyboard for the PSP's odd USB jack, and then people really could run a free MIPS unix from the UMD, and develop for it at the same time. It has all the hardware you need to make this work: wireless networking (apparently with NetBSD's TCP/IP stack, no less), good hardware, writing flash memory. However, doing so would require acknowledging that the usual model of licensing game packs to offset the costs of the system doesn't work for the PSP, and finding a better way to make money.

Think about it. If you could get a portable free *nix-supported system with keyboard for ~$300 that had a good graphics card, wouldn't you want it? Plus it could still play UMD games, media, now porn, too. If Sony wants the PSP to be a money maker, they have to tap into the markets that are available to them (hackers and techie types) since their original target demographics (gamers) isn't really panning out for them.

I have a DS, it's pretty cool. (2, Interesting)

hmccabe (465882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15040936)

When the DS and PSP were revealed to the public, but not yet released, I thought that I would probably purchase both, but get the DS first. I got as far as the DS, and I don't think I'll be picking up a PSP. There's a lot of cool things about both systems, but when it comes down to it, I love the touchscreen. The PSP offers me a portable version of PS2 gaming, which is cool and all, but I don't really play video games away from the house, even with my DS. Since I have the PS2 experience at home, I might as well get the console that has totally different gameplay? If you haven't seen the bonus games that came with Super Mario 64 DS, they are a perfect example of what is possible with touch screen gaming. The ones where you draw a line, and it becomes a trampoline for Mario are amazing. There's some game coming out that's a RTS RPG (the stylus is a great replacement for the mouse, so PC style strategy and FPS games work quite well) where the player casts spells by writing runes on the screen. The better your handwriting, the more powerful the spells. It's quite cool to have a totally unique perspective on gaming like that, and the GBA support means I have Street Fighter Alpha 2 on it.

Oh yeah, please buy my computer. []

PSP. . . (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15041919)

I work at Gamestop. Remember a couple months ago when Sony announced they had shipped x million units worldwide? Less than a week before that announcement my store received a serious overstock of PSPs. Now we're loaded up on PSP "core" systems as well, which leaves out the memory card and other little extras for $50 less. It doesn't really matter, though, because we always have used PSPs in stock and people always buy those. The PSP's biggest problem is that people don't buy many games for it, they don't buy many UMDs for it, and when they do they buy used product. There's never a "must have" new game that people are willing to spend $40-50 on. Then end result is that Gamestop profits more off the PSP than Sony (90% of UMD movies I sell are used also).

PSP's market penetration is comparable to the DS, but like the XBox in the console world, it's a monetary black hole for it's developer. Sony needs to find the guy who decided the PSP didn't need two analog sticks and fire him, even if it's Kutagari himself.
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