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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Specs for Sony PSP Handheld 497

Posted by michael
from the 802.11-sweetness dept.
doctor_no writes "Sony has announced the specs for its upcoming handheld gaming device, the PSP, at their PlayStation Meeting 2003. Most interesting is that this device promises Playstation 2 level graphics, a compact 1.8GB media, Wireless 802.11, USB 2.0, 7.1 channel Audio, and a 24bit 16x9 screen TFT LCD screen. Sony has called this device the 'Walkman for the 21st Century', and plans to allow the user to enjoy movies and music for the device, along with games. Full specs can be found at ZDNet Japan. The PSP will debut at next year's E3."
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Specs for Sony PSP Handheld

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  • my dear lord.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeney@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:20PM (#6562043) Homepage Journal
    when this thing was first announced [slashdot.org], there were a lot of naysayers, "Nintendo rules the market, and it's going to be hard to beat them." but these were some of the same comments that were being made in 1995 when the PSX was introduced. the specs on these thing are unbelievable.

    the reason Sony does as well as it does in the videogame market is because it tries to find out what it's competitor does well, and improves upon it. I'm not saying this is going to be a GBA killer, (price is going to be a big factor) [slashdot.org] but it looks as if there is finally going to be a viable GBA competitor. (N-Gage [n-gage.com] eat your heart-out.)

    but as we all know, it all comes down to software. personally, I'd love to be able to play Vice-City whenever and wherever I want.

    Mike
    • Re:my dear lord.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ominous Coward (106252) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:26PM (#6562141)
      I don't know about that. The majority of people want simple and durable from a handheld. People don't want a giant laptop made especially for gaming, they want a little Game Boy that won't break when you throw it into your backpack.

      It sounds like it might be good, but PS2 calibur graphics in a hand-held will either mean it's large, really expensive, or both. Neo-Geo suffered because of its outrageous price, and I'd imagine this one would, too, if they manage to shrink down the components enough to make it a nice little, durable handheld.
      • Re:my dear lord.... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CheeseMonkey (677515)
        PS2 calibur graphics in a hand-held will either mean it's large, really expensive, or both.
        You're forgetting how old the PS2 is. What makes you think it can't be miniturized down to the size of the PS1 sub-component of the PS2?
        • by Ominous Coward (106252) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:44PM (#6562429)
          Think about the room for the CD drive, the controls, the screen, the battery, and the ports. Suddenly you're quickly running out of room pretty fast. There's a certain amount of miniturization that's possible, but it took Nintendo about 10 years to shrink a SNES to Game Boy proportions, I don't think Sony can do the analogue in 4 years.
          • Re:my dear lord.... (Score:2, Interesting)

            by CheeseMonkey (677515)
            I think they can, and if they can't this device won't make it to marker- Sony is smarter than that.

            The UMD format was likely made specifically to reduce the size of the CD drive. The screen and battery don't need to take any more room than they do on the GBASP (which ain't much). So, then you've got ports... ummm... which aren't very big, really.

            I think you're underestimating what can be crammed inside a little plastic box these days. Take a look at an iPod or a super-small DV cam... I think it can
          • by stonecypher (118140)
            Um. That's not exactly true. There have been SNES quality handhelds a number of times (in fact, a few better-than-NES handhelds.) The things aren't that hard to make. Truth is, most palsm and the like run circles around the AGB, which is only an ARM7TDMI running at 16.7mHz, with a quarter meg of ram and some video stuff.

            What Nintendo waited for, and what cost Sega, TurboGrafx, Atari, Bandai, and others the handheld war, was twofold. One was console cost, but that's not as big a del as everyone makes i
      • by John_Booty (149925) <johnbooty@bootyp ... g ['ect' in gap]> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @02:15PM (#6562805) Homepage
        It sounds like it might be good, but PS2 calibur graphics in a hand-held will either mean it's large, really expensive, or both.

        I think most people would feel the same way. Do you really think Sony would spend zillions of dollars on developing the PSP without taking that into account? Sony isn't 100% successful at every prodcut they release of course, and I have plenty of beef with many of their *successful* products, but I find it hand to believe that they'd even consider releasing the PSP if they couldn't achieve a reasonable price point and form factor.

        There is definitely a lot of horsepower under the hood of the PSP, but not much of the tech is *new stuff... it's more like a miniaturization/integration of existing tech. With Sony's deep pockets they should be able to achieve a really high level of integration, cramming all that functionality into a small number of chips. Expensive up front, but that would really help with manufacturing costs down the line and it would help with power consumption too.
    • by theLOUDroom (556455)
      the reason Sony does as well as it does in the videogame market is because it tries to find out what it's competitor does well, and improves upon it. I'm not saying this is going to be a GBA killer, (price is going to be a big factor) but it looks as if there is finally going to be a viable GBA competitor. (N-Gage eat your heart-out.)

      You're forgetting another important reason. They have a lot of money, and already control a large protion of the consumer electronics market.

      There are other issues beside
    • Re:my dear lord.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slimak (593319) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:28PM (#6562175)
      but as we all know, it all comes down to software.

      Right you are, but the type of games that are playable on a portable are different from those on a standard console - The [relatively] small screen of most portables can make it difficult for many gammers to play high-action and/or immersion type games. The GBA for example is very well suited to RPG games, but I do not think I could enjoy playing a sports game (since the players would have to be very small) or a vice city type game (i just think it would be difficult to play at ~4"x4"). That said, if the PSP really has a 16x9 screen and is large enough, it could be awesome for many type of games.

      The downside to the large screen of coarse is shortened playtime and a larger overall system - the GBA SP is so ultra-portable that its almost scarry.

      Will be interesting to see though....hope the price is right (or at least reasonable)

    • by 56ker (566853) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:29PM (#6562186) Homepage Journal
      Just looking through the specs I'm sure the wireless LAN will be used a lot for multiplayer games. Having seen the popularity of Pokemon through a link cable - all they need now is a killer-app multiplayer game through the wireless connection and they'll sell like hot cakes!
    • by SifuDave54 (662394) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:31PM (#6562224) Journal
      You'd have to be ignorant to believe Nintendo doesn't have its own 3d handheld in the works. Nintendo has traditionally recently only released handhelds when they fall below the $100 mark. For instance the GBA SP was ready MONTHS before it was released, maybe even when the original GBA came out, but it was too expensive for them to sell it.
    • by Zathrus (232140) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:35PM (#6562306) Homepage
      There's some rather critical specs missing -- like the resolution of the display.

      Also, this thing is going to be rather large, just based on the physical requirements -- a widescreen display and buttons on the front/top, a speaker, a disk loading mechanism, a USB port, an IRDA port, some other port, a memory stick port, a headphone jack, and some place for the battery. There better also be a DC input jack and audio/video output jacks (although all 3 of these could be done via the unknown extention port). There's absolutely no reason for 7.1 sound if you can't output the sound to an external receiver. And if you can do that, you'd better be able to output the video too -- since I sure wouldn't play on a tiny little screen when my TV is right in front of me.

      The specs do sound intriguing, but some of them also seem off kilter, like the 7.1 sound.

      I'm definitely sticking to the "wait and see" camp.
      • It will be a 4,5" backlit TFT(ish) 480*272 pixels :-)
      • by xenocide2 (231786) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @03:28PM (#6563773) Homepage
        I agree that this device is getting enourmous featurewise. I wonder if this is truely a handheld device as the media (and headline) says, or if its simply a portable ps2 just like the psOne, as the PlayStation Portable title suggests.

        Given that, the psOne had a negligiable impact on the sales of the GBC or GBA. Very few people bought the psOne for its portability. But perhaps Sony is amending the mistakes that made this so by including a fliptop screen that was a popular bundle with the psOne.
      • by Detritus (11846) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @03:31PM (#6563821) Homepage
        They forgot to mention the backpack that contains the fuel cell and cooling system.
      • Re:my dear lord.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stonecypher (118140)
        There's some rather critical specs missing -- like the resolution of the display.

        480x272, 2.9".

        audio/video output jacks (although all 3 of these could be done via the unknown extention port).

        And almost certainly will be. Jack consolidation has been a trend at Sony for a while. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the voltage suply comes from USB or Firewire, actually; if you have a playstation or a Vaio, you won't even need a power block, just a cable.

        Video out? For a portable? Why? (though with ja
    • from the article (Score:4, Interesting)

      by abhisarda (638576) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:48PM (#6562509) Journal
      PSP [ign.com] - "A worldwide simultaneous launch for the unit is expected for the fourth quarter of 2004 ".

      That's quite some time for Nintendo to get serious with its Gameboy.

    • the specs remind me of the X Box specs that were announced way back when. Lots of hugelly impressive numbers but spec numbers are never the sole reason in dominating a market, exclusive blockbuster games do that (GTA, GT3, FFX ect). I've got to say I am damn impressed by these specs because its clear that Sony wants it do more than just play games, but it raises a lot of questions,

      Doesn't the specs sound similiar to the CLIE UX50 [cnet.com]? Also, with a boatload of features what kind of price point is Sony expecti
    • What an awful link [zdnet.co.jp] in the article! I don't even mean it's awful because it's a Japanese link posted on the English slashdot site. It's awful because 99 percent of the gaming public would find it unintelligable (regardless of the language it's written in OR the primary language of the reader).

      Honestly--I have an engineering degree and a fair bit of electronics knowledge under my belt and the stats made MY eyes glaze over. Dual MIPS4000 cores? 660nm laser diode to read a 60mm dual layer 1.8GB media disc?
    • by Bilestoad (60385)
      Sony should be finding out what customers want and doing that well. Finding out what your competitor does well just gives away all the initiative.

      Do people really want a 3D do-everything device? Gameboy Advance has some pretty fine games and they could be better if developers realized not all the market is kids. Personally I'm sick of everything having lens flare and transparent water and billions of triangles, a nice flat 2D strategy game like Advance Wars or Tactics Ogre is sometimes just what you want a
  • by Hogwash McFly (678207) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:22PM (#6562079)
    So Sony say there new hand held console will have Playstation 2 level graphics?

    Well after what they said about the Playstation 2 itself and its "Toy Story" graphics I would have to see it to believe it.
  • Does it have an OS?

    I just need one more OS to reach the "21+ - We don't believe you." level of the latest poll...
  • Price (Score:3, Funny)

    by blackmonday (607916) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:23PM (#6562091) Homepage
    I'll shit my pants if this thing costs less than 300 bucks.

    • Hell, even at $300, with 802.11 and a good screen this thing would make a really cute X-terminal.

      Of course a keyboard would be a little awkward...

    • by StarKruzr (74642)
      With specs like those, this PSP is guaranteed to be:

      1) Only available in Japan, or

      2) WAY too expensive

      3) Hidden from the light of day forever. My nerd instincts tell me something like this is simply far too good to be true. And the sad thing is I don't need a justification other than that, and I'll probably still be right.

      Erring on the side of pessimism with things like this is almost always the safe course to take. Why?
  • 7.1 audio? Why? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by vjmurphy (190266)
    7.1 channel Audio on a handheld? Why? Seems like this thing is just over engineered and will be a monster.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:24PM (#6562100)
    a laptop.
    • With a 16"x9" widescreen, it certainly won't be small. I say the Gameboy family will remain the most efficient. Heck, with a screen that big I bet it will cost at least $300 at launch.
      • I needed to jump on this one also...
        16:9 which is the wide screen ratio (TV is 4:1 or something like that, I'm too lazy to look it up)

        They mention in one of the slides it's a ~4.5" display (about 2x the Gameboy's display)

        And more, it uses a Li-ion battery that is rechargable. Also simular to the GameBoy Advanced SE, so figure with more display it will have a shorter life...maybe 4-6 hours?
        At least the thing will be backlighted
        http://www.playstationportable.info/images/playst a tionportable1.jpg
  • by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:24PM (#6562104) Homepage
    It will require the user to lug around a car battery to run, and the 10,000 RPM disk drive will generate enough inertial warping fields such that turning a corner while walking will take major effort...
    • Inertial warping fields? Where did you graduate, Billy Bob's School of Physics?
    • on the serious side .. the parent post is very true. Part of the reason why the GB(A)s do so well is because you can lug it around for a whole day without worry of charging or changing batteries.

      the specs of the sony psp sounds all good and stuff, but it sure does sound like it'll take a lot of juice.

      another thing. form factor. The GB(A)s have been quite small. With all these features, can they make it small enough. Come to think of it. Knowing sony, yeah .. they probably will be able to make it small
  • So now.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ziggy_zero (462010) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:24PM (#6562108)
    ....you'll have to rebuy all your PS2 games you know and love, even though they'll be exactly the same on this.

    Would it have been possible to make something that can take PS2 discs? I remember that portable PSX that guy made, it didn't seem too bad. Another idea would be to make a discman-like device you put in your pocket but it has a cable running to a screen/control pad thing. I saw a portable DVD player made by Sony at the Metreon last year based on that idea (although it was just a screen, no control pad).
    • If we take a look at this picture [shoplifestyle.com] the main unit is pretty much the same size as the PSOne. Just add a few buttons on the bottom of that nifty little screen and you basically have a portable, full size DVD reading, games machine
    • Re:So now.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stonecypher (118140)
      Would it have been possible to make something that can take PS2 discs?

      Yes, but for portables there are three problems. If you've seen the video of that guy putting CDs on a dremel and firing them into acrobatic feats, you realize the tremendous force that a spinning disc can contain. While a portable isn't likely to spin them that fast, consider the GameCube. Nintendo has frequently stated that the reason they waited so long to use disc media was because of the load times involved (though proper softwa
  • 7.1 Audio? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Boarder2 (185337) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:25PM (#6562121) Homepage
    7.1 audio on a handheld? With headphones like that, you'll look like a cyborg.
    • by sacherjj (7595) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:44PM (#6562440) Homepage
      It's the .1 thing that hurts on a hand-held with headphones. To get good enough bass, they have to tap a screw directly into you skull. Don't get me wrong, the results are amazing. And it allows you to also mount your head onto a tripod, so it can't be all bad. Just a little freaky.
    • Re:7.1 Audio? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sebi (152185)

      7.1 audio on a handheld? With headphones like that, you'll look like a cyborg.

      True, but less because of what you wear on your head and more because of the sub-woofer you have to stuff down your underpants.

  • Audio + Copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by merlin_jim (302773) <James.McCracken@ ... lt.com minus bsd> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:27PM (#6562160)
    ... 7.1 channel Audio

    Why?

    It's a HANDHELD!!!

    I can just imagine the proprietary headphone now... it's a wrap around band for your whole head, with a subwoofer on top.

    Oh and the name... PSP?

    I hate to say that this guy [classicgaming.com] is already using the name....

    Oh and in case I haven't karma whored enough?

    Here's pics of the presentation [digitalbackspin.com]
  • More details (Score:5, Informative)

    by momerath2003 (606823) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:29PM (#6562192) Journal

    Here is an article where this is all more clearly explained (and no Shift-JIS encoding, either):

    http://pocket.ign.com/articles/430/430939p1.html

  • Sorry, the iPod has already claimed that title [fortune.com]
  • by smd4985 (203677) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:33PM (#6562270) Homepage
    if the PSP is going to be successful it must be able to play PS1 and PS2 games. other companies have previously released more technically competent portables, but nintendo's strength lies in its VAST GB and GBA software library.
  • by *weasel (174362) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:33PM (#6562279)
    sony needs -games- to compete with nintendo in the portable market.

    whereas nintendo basically rolled over and gave up in the console market; the gameboy has fought off hoards of similarly impressive technical specifications.

    sony needs a solid price, a solid lineup, and a good darn screen (properly lit the first time would be nice).

    nice specs - but how about we hear a list of developers and games planned for the psp? or even the dimensions of the screen, or the battery life/recharge time?

    after that 98% dip in revenue last quarter, it'll be interesting to see where sony puts its continued marketing force.
  • What?? (Score:4, Funny)

    by DogIsMyCoprocessor (642655) <[dogismycoprocessor] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:37PM (#6562337) Homepage
    No VGA port for external video, or internal DVD burner, or full-size keyboard??? How the hell am I supposed to get any work done on this thing?
  • by Randar the Lava Liza (562063) * on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:37PM (#6562341) Homepage

    Check out the IGN article [ign.com] on the specs as well.

    The device looks great, but how in the world will you power it all? Plus by including all the original buttons (although only one analog stick) this isn't going to be small by any means. This seems to be sized more like a micro laptop than anything else. However, using all the original controls lets them make it PSOne port friendly. In an ideal world you'd be able to rip PSOne cd's to this new format disc and just play them directly, but no way Sony would give up that much money in licensing.

    Serious audio though, which hopefully will spur Nintendo to finally add dedicated audio hardware to future GBA's.

    Impressive stats, we'll have to see how much they can deliver. But, hey, if they build a great portable with the same sort of size as my GBA SP, with a 10 hour battery, backlit screen, etc., I'd be glad to get one.

    • In an ideal world you'd be able to rip PSOne cd's to this new format disc and just play them directly, but no way Sony would give up that much money in licensing.

      Maybe you are on to something here. What if they do exactly this? This would solve the problem of limited games at launch. I used to have a ton of PSOne games and I eventually sold most of them or traded them. If I could buy a portable that would let me play new games as well as my old PSOne fav's, I would start buying some of those games again.

  • The 7.1 Audio (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Morgahastu (522162) <[bshel] [at] [WE ... move my fave ban> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:38PM (#6562347) Journal
    There's no way that this is meant to be used while playing games on the handheld. No sir.

    As sony as mentioned, this will be an all in one media device. Let's compare it with somewhat similar media devices like the portable Archos video jukebox. It plays videos on a tiny little screen but you can plug it to your tv and enjoy the full experience.

    My guess is that the PSP will have audio and video out to. Problem with 7.1 Audio is that you need an optical audio out cable, and it's not like many people even have 5.1 audio, or even receivers that have an easily accessible dolby digital input.

    Anyhow, I am betting that this feature won't actually be used, they are probably just using Ps2 compatible hardware that's CAPABLE of processing 7.1 audio, but will not actually do it or output it. It's just ridiculous.
    • this is from the same people who thought they could use distributed computing to render real time high detail 3d graphics.

      There's still atleast 2 years until this puppy comes out, things are gonna change.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@NosPam.johnhummel.net> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:40PM (#6562378) Homepage
    Something I've observed between Sony and Nintendo.

    Playstation 2:

    Plays DVD movies
    Plays Audio CDs
    Plays games

    Gamecube:

    Plays games

    There are people who think that part of the reason why the Gamecube hasn't been doing so well is that it doesn't fill multiple niches. And after a *lot* of thought - I have to agree. If you're going to pay $150 for a game system, or $199 for a game/dvd player/cd player - which will you go for? I've often told people who ask me which console is the "best" that:

    Playstation 2 has the most games.
    Xbox has the nicest looking games.
    Gamecube has the best games.

    But - that's not enough. And if you look at the PSP versus Gameboy Advance, notice an interesting trend:

    PSP:

    Plays games
    1.8 G cartridge - could play MPEG-4 movies (more than enough space for that + subtitle/language track at MPEG-4)
    Plays music (again - at 1.8 G, more than enough space)
    802.11 - can play games via network, possibly Internet
    Playstation 2 graphics - I'll say "Playstation 1.5", which means that we could get Final Fantasy VII on the PSP (would not surprise me as a "launch title" - that would ensure a million sales right there), or Suikoden I & II Collectors PSP game

    Gameboy Advance:

    Plays games

    Sony's may be more expensive, but if they get the price at around $150 (yeah, I'm stretching, but you never know), and if they start to offer movies, I can see myself getting one. Perfect for riding the train, flying on a long plane flight (and I don't have to pay the annoying $5 for a set of headphones), I can be sitting in the living room while my wife watches TV, my kids are playing at my feet, and I'm weeping as Aerith gets killed again. (Hey - I'm a sensitive guy!)

    What will be interesting to see is what "other uses" Sony has for the PSP. Nintendo's "Connectivity" between the GBA/Gamecube has been pretty good at times (Zelda being the best, and at least the Metroid additions were worth buying both games). If Sony can play up the memory stick issue, you could have a game you could have 2 copies of - one for the road, when you get home, stick in the memory stick and play on the "big screen".

    At least it's competition - and most of you know how much I like to see that happen.
    • Actually, the Gamecube is doing better than the X-Box is now - due in no small part to its price and improving software selection. So doing "no so well" is all relative, really. But Sony is making a killing with the Playstation 2 in no small part to its ability to leverage the large, pre-existing Playstation 1 software selection. And, because Nintendo can leverage the old Gameboy software selection, the Gameboy Advance is a success for much the same reason.

      Sony won't have any handheld market to leverag

  • Now I will finally have somewhere to use my 7-channel headphones and my mobile, solar-powered subwoofer. Everyone thought I was a moron when I got those headphones, "You only have two ears, you dumbass!" they would say, but who's laughing now!?!?
  • A major feature of that device will also have DRM through-and-through. And Sony makes this sort of thing stick: look at how tightly they have controlled the PS2 and MiniDISC. And their versions of the Palm handhelds are full of proprietary, undocumented APIs (e.g., many (all?) third party MP3 players for Palm don't work on Clies).

    Sony has shown signs of openness with some of their efforts, but I think they are just so powerful and like to control things so much that if we end up with a world where Sony c
    • What about the PlayStation2-Linux [playstation2-linux.com] project? I believe that is with the help of Sony.

      They are a smart company and will give the consumers what they want. The Clie is on the Palm OS, so in theory there shouldn't be any problems. If there are, then clearly there is something wrong with the MP3 player or with Clie breaking some Palm OS licence.

      Why wouldn't Sony want to use their own MiniDISC? It is theirs and they want to keep the money within the company. Sounds fair enough to me. They're there to make money.
  • battery life? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tuffy (10202) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:44PM (#6562444) Homepage Journal
    I don't see battery life listed in the specs. If the rechargable battery only lasts a few hours, this simply isn't going anywhere. And I'm not hopeful this will have much due to the spinning disc media and the sheer volume of chips. Despite technical superiority, the Lynx, TG-Express, Game Gear, Nomad have all had a good library of titles (the Nomad, in particular, had the entire Genesis library at its disposal) but none could match the Gameboy's battery life or portability. And, in the end, all faded quickly from the market.

    Perhaps Sony can pull of a miracle and make this thing successful, but I think it'll be too much, too soon, for too much money and without enough software to challenge the GBA's expanding library.

  • by jmkaza (173878)
    What I want to know is how universal is the universal media disk. Minidisk was a great technology when it came out, but Sony's proprietary licensing kept it from widespread adoption. UMD looks like it could be a great new format, but will they open it up?
  • 1. If Sony claims this handheld will have PS2 quality graphics, why would anyone buy a PS2 when this comes to market? The handheld would cannibalize PS2 sales. This was exactly the reason why Sega brought out the Game Gear first instead of the Nomad, because the Nomad would've eaten into Genesis (cough cough, Mega Drive) console sales. 2. Price. The Gameboy has always been popular because of its price, not because of killer features. Nintendo's Gameboy series has always been inferior to each of its com
  • Sure, whatever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @01:57PM (#6562635) Homepage
    This is really, really cool. However: I seem to remember PS3 specs leaking out quite awhile ago... and then eventually changing to be marginally less impressive. I'll believe this when it comes to e3 next year. I have no doubt whatever Sony has at E3 next year will be rediculously impressive, of course; I'm just not going to listen to specs until they have a prototype working.

    Now, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a thing called a Game Boy. The Game Boy was a complete and total hunk of junk. It had an unlit screen that displayed four shades of burnt yellow, unspeakably tinny sound, a limited processor, and limited ability to display large or numerous sprites at any given moment. After the Game Boy had been out a while, a couple of competitors were released: the Sega Whatsit, the Atari Lynx, and the Whatsit By Whoever Made the TurboGraphics 16. Now, these were really impressive little machines. They had lighted LCDs with bright, eye-catching colors. They had the ability to have large things moving. They had deep sound. The Sega handheld had a Sonic game that was almost as impressive as what you might find on the genesis at that time.

    The Sega, Atari, and TG16 handhelds all crashed and burned violently, and the 4-shades-of-yellow hunk of junk went on to be one of the most successful video game consoles of all time. Why? Because everyone but the Game Boy tried to do too much. All the more powerful handhelds were bulky as hell, didn't fit in your hand or pocket as easily, cost twice as much (bad for something like a handheld, which is usually an impulse purchase), and most damning of all SUCKED BATTERIES LIKE THERE WAS NO TOMORROW. Meanwhile, the 4-color, dinky, tinny games for the gameboy just somehow wound up being really fun.

    Now, is the point of me bringing this up to say that the PSP is going to crash and burn, or that I think Nintendo will crush Sony mercilessly because I am a nintendo fanboy and think Sony can do nothing good? No. Not at all. Sony is smart, and what they are describing is a kick-ass little machine. However, I do really have to wonder about what kinds of tradeoffs they're making to fit this in there-- because there WILL be some. How expensive is it going to be? Most importantly, how much *battery life* will this thing have?? I really have to wonder about the minidiscy optical drive; if ANYONE could pull off a CD-based handheld game system, it would be sony, but is that going to have any impact on the battery?

    Basically the only reason i'm going on about all this is to counteract the inevitable group of people that (i'm guessing; there's probably like a hundred more comments in this story right now then there were when I started typing) are going to say this is going to be Nintendo's doom. Unless Sony does the x-box thing and dumps on the market to kill Nintendo, I don't quite think so. Better is not always better with handhelds, and in terms of Games, Sony has a rediculously uphill battle. The Game Boy game library is one of the biggest and best ever, rivalling even the PS1's, and the fact you can hop on ebay and get a bunch of dinky but fun gameboy-1 games for $5 a pop is nice. Moreover, Nintendo *really* understands how to build a good game library, the same way Sony *really* understands how to build gaming hardware. Sony is still mostly dependent on third-parties. And note that despite LOTS of talk about specs, Sony's said *nothing* about games. I predict that the first we hear about the GBA2, the first thing we're going to see, before we hear about polygons or anything else, is videos of games.

    Here is my prediction: all the golden ages of video games have happened when there was healthy competition between two big consoles. Not like today, when the PS2 is all-owning and the other two are fighting over the "distant second" title; real, healthy competition. I think the PSP and the GBA/GBA2 (whenever and whatever that is; hopefully nintendo's been working on such a thing since well before the PSP announcement) are going to have one such healt
  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @02:09PM (#6562751)
    How often are GBAs dropped? Alot.
    How often are GBAs given to young kids? Most of the time they are.
    How often do young kids take care of thier stuff? Consider that I NEVER give my GBA to a young kid, and I cringe as I hand them a PS2 contoller...

    Take this device that has a rotating optical media. Take it for a drop. Is the head still going to be aligned? If yes, repeat 200 times. You just simulated a weeks worth of use. Also, what parent is going to buy thier kids this thing? That's like sending your kid to school with a laptop.

    PS2 quality graphics are nice, but when they're applied to such a tiny screen, who's going to be able to read anything?

    Battery life? Consider that the day they release this thing is the day that Duracell and Energizer's stock split 3 times in one day.

    I think they're missing the market.

  • If they can easily port old PS1/PS2 games to this it should do well. Some of the most successful games on the GBA are Mario and Zelda ported over from older systems. This would be cheap and a lot of people would be interested in playing these on a portable. Games like Gran Turismo, Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy etc.
  • Not a GBA competitor (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:23PM (#6566196) Journal
    While both the PSP and the GBA are "handhelds," the cost/features/size suggest that rather than competing in the same market at the GBA, this device is going into it's own market.

    Just like the SUV doesn't compete in the same market as "trucks" or "station wagons," the SUV created it's own market. And unlike the in the car industry, the PSP and GBA will not be chasing the same dollars nearly as much.

    In fact, there may instead be three classes here as the NGage seems to lie somewhere between the GBA and the PSP in terms of cost and capabilities.

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nobodyman (90587) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @07:50PM (#6566417) Homepage
    his device promises Playstation 2 level graphics, a compact 1.8GB media, Wireless 802.11, USB 2.0, 7.1 channel Audio, and a 24bit 16x9 screen TFT LCD screen
    This thing is a concoction of pure fantasy, or..
    This is going to be the most colossal failure since ET for the 2600.

    The specs of this thing if present in a system using todays technology (presumably a laptop), would be no less than $1000. Sony says they are going to introduce this thing in less than a year. I would be stunned if this thing had a sticker price of less than $450.

    Also keep in mind that this thing *must* have a rechargeable battery ...using some technology we haven't heard of yet (unless they thing the average gamer will cotton to 5 hours of battery life).

    7.1 sound? Are you fucking kidding me? How the hell are you going to put a damn subwoofer in a handheld. They must be talking about jacking this thing up to an external speaker system. So, try to envision being tethered to both a power cord *and* external speakers.

    I call bullshit.
  • Clamshell PSP..? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Tuesday July 29, 2003 @10:36PM (#6567515) Homepage Journal
    Just a minor revelation while speculating as to the PSP's size, but I'll bet the damn thing is a clamshell configuration. I figure the screen is the best indication of the unit's overall size, in this case a 16:9-format widescreen TFT LCD (480x272 pixels, 24-bit full color). Kinda beefy if you're thinking of a classic flat gameboy layout. There the PSP was looking not so portable.

    Then I remembered my trusty Sharp Wizard [underwooddist.com] organizer that solves the problem nicely. My OZ-9500 (not pictured) is about 4x6 inches and sports a nice wide screen (16:9?). This would provide any gamer with acceptable portablility (albeit not pocket) without sacrificing screen size or hardware. There aren't too many other ways to configue the unit without giving it a large footprint...

    Remember, you heard it here first :P

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