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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

Kasavin Weighs In On PSP, DS Battle 54

Posted by simoniker
from the seconds-out-round-infinity dept.
Thanks to GameSpot for its Greg Kasavin-authored 'GameSpotting' editorial discussing comparisons between Sony's PSP and Nintendo's DS handheld systems, in a piece subtitled: "Five Capital Letters, Two Little Systems, One Big Bloodbath". Kasavin points out: "It's very, very easy to jump on Sony's bandwagon... it's also very, very easy to root for the relative underdog that Nintendo's lately turned into. But... neither of these companies expects your loyalty or necessarily deserves it. They're both these big, huge Japanese firms designed to pull a serious profit year in and year out." The piece continues: "There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the Nintendo DS is a reactionary device that lacks focus", although concedes: "To be fair, Sony has also done its fair share of double-talking with respect to the PSP", before marginally favoring the PSP, "designed with an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' mind-set." Elsewhere, Game Informer also weighs in, with a two-part series "analyzing the upcoming handhelds".
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Kasavin Weighs In On PSP, DS Battle

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  • by orthancstone (665890) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:16AM (#9504191)
    Greg acted like no games were made for DS functionality...yet he seemed to forget the Metroid game.
    I'd have to say that being able to use a stylus to shoot at enemies on the new system would be making use of this new, interesting feature (not just using it to justify having it).
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @03:48AM (#9504356)
    The stove didn't break, why did people invent something as unnecessary as the microwave?

    (I thought this analogy is the best way to express my oppinion on the subject)
  • by fr0dicus (641320) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @04:32AM (#9504556) Journal
    The PSP looks more like the Atari Lynx/Sega Game Gear than anything else I can think of, in terms of (relative to current technology) capabilities, battery life, form factor and screen.

    If they weren't broke then could I please have my own reality back?

  • by Chris Acheson (263308) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:21AM (#9504776) Homepage
    There seems to be a lot more consumer excitement about the Nintendo DS. It might be some sort of geek bias, since I'm going off what I've seen on internet forums, but I can see how the DS would be much more successful.

    Obviously the big issue will be what games are available for each system. This remains to be seen, but the backwards compatibility seems like a very big advantage for the DS. The DS will have a massive previous-generation game library, just as the PS2 does. This is less of an issue as a system reaches maturity, but it's important for a newly-launched system.

    The other major issue is the price of each system. The DS will cost (so we've been told) $150. That's only $50 more than a GBA SP. The PSP will be priced around $250, resulting in significantly slower consumer uptake. Combined with the earlier launch date of the DS, the PSP will have a difficult time breaking into the market.

    I think Sony would have done better to create a PSone-sized machine capable of playing PS1 and PS2 games, as well as audio CDs and DVDs. Sure, it couldn't really be considered a handheld system any more, and you'd need a carrying case for it, but they're trying to market the PSP as an all-in-one media player/game system. Why not make something that actually plays your media? Creating a new disc format specific to the PSP and only allowing it to play Sony's DRM-encumbered music files seems like a mistake to me.

    On a not entirely related note, how many of you have thought about the possibility of running Linux on the DS? The features seem perfect for it. We just need a port.
    • There is a poll next to the game spot article about which handheld people are more interested in. The results are surprising, imho.

      Nintendo DS 2222 (51%)
      Sony PSP 2091 (48%)

      • Check out these two recent polls that GameFAQs did:

        DS Poll [gamefaqs.com]
        PSP Poll [gamefaqs.com]

        I find it interesting that in both polls, the highest result was "Maybe, it depends on the price" - around 30% for both polls. I would guess that this would be even more of a factor for the general population. These polls are only sampling the opinions of those who frequent gaming websites.
    • Why not? Someone made a webserver out of a GBA already. http://www.fivemouse.com/gba/
    • The features on the PSP seem even more ideal for Linux, especially given that it will have an order of magnitude more processing power and considerably more memory.
      • You could port Linux to it, but input would be a problem. The DS' touchscreen allows it to function like a PDA. Think of it as a poor man's Zodiac.

        Linux on the PSP might be good for... well, playing games. LxDoom, anyone?
  • by Singletoned (619322) <singletoned@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @05:39AM (#9504867) Homepage
    I've been playing games using a stylus for years on my Palm. Mainly just Rogue/Nethack and Breakout clones, but also some card games and stuff. It's a nice control system but hardly revolutionary.

    Personally, I am looking forward to using it with a few strategy RPGs. I'd love a handheld version of Disgaea that's controlled with a stylus, but it doesn't look like I'll get it.

    For me the most important feature would be Save to Memory, so that I can save a game at any point, and then resume it at my next journey.
  • um, neither? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h0mer (181006) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @08:20AM (#9505551)
    I know a lot of people on here probably have stuff clipped to their belt and pockets full of gear. That's cool and all but not practical for everyone.

    It seems like both of these systems are too big to carry around in a pocket, especially if you're wearing jeans. Also, I don't ride public transportation on the regular. I just don't see where I'm going to play these things, I don't play GBA very often as it is. My free time is at home, and if I'm at home, then I'll probably want to play something with more capabilities than these portable systems.

    Nintendo didn't need to make the DS to compete with PSP, they just need to figure out how to stuff cell phone guts in a GBA SP.
    • Why would they do that? Nintendo has no business making cell phones. I'd rather have two gadgets that each do one separate thing well, than one that does two things mediocre.
      • Why? Maybe you should read my original post again. I do not have pocket real estate to devote to a dedicated game machine. I do carry my phone with me at all times. If both were combined, I would carry that device with me at all times, being able to take advantage of the games when I can.

        Plus, this theoretical device would not be mediocre for both uses. The phone part, maybe. You wouldn't call a normal GBA a mediocre game machine, now would you?

        The reason you and others are against convergence devices is
        • The reason you and others are against convergence devices is because there hasn't been a decent one yet.

          True. But I like the size of my GBA screen. But I wouldn't like my phone to be that large. And I wouldn't want my gaming screen any smaller, as it may cause more eye-strain than it already does.

          And I don't know about you, but I paid less for my GBA than I would have for my phone if it hadn't come free with a 2-year service agreement. That pretty much killed any problems about the real estate to buy two
        • Re:um, neither? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by KDR_11k (778916)
          A GBA and cell phone have different requirements. For one thing, as mentioned above, a cell phone is supposed to be as small as possible and usable with one hand while a game system has two handed control and needs a bigger screen (which would make the device too large for a cell phone).

          Furthermore, a GBA has less buttons than the NGage. While the GBA has almost TOO few buttons, the NGage's 12 buttons aren't conductive to gaming. They have neither a layout that would benefit gaming (buttons are usually ali
    • Putting a cell-phone in a GBA is not the sort of thing that Nintendo, with their focus on the young market, is likely to do anytime soon.

      The PSP, perhaps, because it's targeted at an older market segment, and is very much a convergence device, a mobil home-enterainment system.

    • Re:um, neither? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by blueskatz (241135)
      I played both the DS and the PSP at E3, and they were both a lot smaller than you'd think. Both about the same size as the original GBA.

      Though I'd be nervous about the PSP in my pocket without something to protect the screen.

      The PSP definately looks a whole lot cooler up close, especially the screen. Its very large, and comparitively, the DS screens seem a bit washed out, as far as color. DS screens look exactly like GBA SP screens.

      Still, based on the games, I will certainly buy a DS the day it comes
  • by NickFusion (456530) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @09:31AM (#9506222) Homepage
    The PSP is not a machine made for children, with an estimated street price of $299, and sensitive movable parts (the drive mechanism).

    As usual, Nintendo, whatever else you say about the DS, has made a cheaper, virtually indestructible game device for kids with solid state, virtually indestructible game carts. We can all moan about carts, but parents love the sturdiness of the Nintendo line.

    And according to the folks developing the hardware, the LCD element of the display will wear out before the touch screen does.

    Smart money is on the DS for games, and the PSP as a mobile entertainment system for adults.

    Honestly, it's only amongst monied geeks that these two platforms are going to compete for sales.
    • by Doomstalk (629173) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @10:55AM (#9507176)
      I honestly don't see the PSP's multimedia capabilities being all that widely used. Their coice to go to a proprietary media, the UMD, means that people with extensive DVD or CD collections will have to purchase their music and movies all over again if they want to use them in the PSP. If you start a collection on the PSP, you're going to have to buy it all over again to use it on your home entertainment system, or be left hoping that Sony evetually releases a standalone player.

      Secondly, none of the music labels/movie studios have adopted the UMD as an approved format, meaning there's a strong chance that Sony Pictures and Sony Music will companies producing content on it.

      Thirdly, in terms of movie playback, the PSP is severely harmed by battery life. The numbers I've read say it will have less than 3 hours' worth of power in movie playback mode. That means if you want to watch a long film like, oh say, any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you'd better have an outlet nearby. Additionally, it means that after watching shorter movies, you're not going to have much battery left to play games, meaning you'll have to choice on which you want on each outing.

      Finally, there's the backlit screen. On first thought, the idea of laptop style screen technology in a handheld, but if you've ever tried to use your laptop outdoors on a sunny day, you'll know just how easily that backlight is drowned out. Chances are good that on any given car/train trip you're going to pass through a patch of sunlight, severely imparing how easily you can see the screen. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the color shift issues that occur when you view a laptop screen from any angle except straight on.
      • Corrections (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Doomstalk (629173)
        Oops, sorry. My thoughts ran ahead of my words in a few spots. Here're some corrections so it makes more sense:

        "Secondly, none of the music labels/movie studios have adopted the UMD as an approved format, meaning there's a strong chance that Sony Pictures and Sony Music will be the only companies producing content on it."

        "On first thought, the idea of laptop style screen technology in a handheld ,i>seems like a good one, but if you've ever tried to use your laptop outdoors on a sunny day, you'll kno
      • Finally, there's the backlit screen. On first thought, the idea of laptop style screen technology in a handheld, but if you've ever tried to use your laptop outdoors on a sunny day, you'll know just how easily that backlight is drowned out. Chances are good that on any given car/train trip you're going to pass through a patch of sunlight, severely imparing how easily you can see the screen. Oh yeah, and let's not forget the color shift issues that occur when you view a laptop screen from any angle except st
        • I swear there's no pleasing some people. Would you rather have a non-backlit screen like the original GBA? Back when it came out folks griped about needing a bright light to see the screen.

          Yes, it was a definite problem with the GBA, but it was fixed in the SP which is front lit. Nintendo is using a reflective TFT that makes the screen easily visible in high light situations, and the front light fixed low light issues. Additionally you can turn off the front light and save battery when the ambient lighti
          • Take a laptop screen and tilt it up and down, and you'll see what I mean...

            I'm familiar with this characteristic of laptop screens, but my question remains unanswered: When will you ever have to play/view your PSP at an angle? And not just at an angle, but at an angle so far off-center that the screen looks washed-out? We're talking about a handheld gaming device, not a laptop. Any use case that involves viewing the screen at a less-than-optimal angle is most likely outside of the scope of the product.

      • Two points:
        (1). Ever seen an LCD tv? The LCD viewing angle is a thing of the past.
        (2). Ever seen a front lit screen? They work in the sun and the dark. People whine about uneven lighting but I don't think its bad. And they have 180 degree viewing without additional technology like a TFT/backlit LCD.
      • I honestly don't see the PSP's multimedia capabilities being all that widely used. Their coice to go to a proprietary media, the UMD, means that people with extensive DVD or CD collections will have to purchase their music and movies all over again if they want to use them in the PSP.

        When I heard this, I got a feeling of deja-vu. Let's see, what device have I used recently that felt similarly crippled by this kind of thing....

        Then I realized, it was the network Walkman my friend let me borrow, and it's
      • My question is do we need a portable movie player this small?
        There are lots of cute little DVD players that you can buy that have a bigger screen and you can use DVDs not UMDs
        The GBASP has great battery life. My wife and I had a ball playing it on the drive from Texas to Florida.
        Since I have an SP, a Rio Karma, and a notebook why the heck do I need a PSP? I have a feeling the UMD will be the Betamax of the 00s.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Your last sentence is the truest thing said so far about the battle between Nintendo DS and PSP.

      But your One Important Point is supported by another important point that's also missing: Among the two, the Nintendo DS is 100% more likely to have a Pokemon game than the PSP. Pokemon is a system mover. It's done so for the GameBoy series for years, and it's doing so for GameCube in Japan and Europe right now as well (Europe has a new Pokemon Colosseum GCN bundle that has pushed weekly GameCube system sales
      • And the reason Nintendo has Pokemon is their relentless focus on the children's market.

        If you're a parent, do you buy a PS*, and try to keep up on what's what game-wise? There's a lot of very adult oriented games to weed through to find titles appropriate for the kids.

        Or buy a Nintendo whatever, where older titles are the exception, and all is well in the world of Mario.
  • PSP Battery Life (Score:2, Informative)

    by dar (15755)
    With battery life measured in the 2-3 hour range (for gaming), I have no interest in the PSP.

    The jury is still out for the DS.
    • "The jury is still out for the DS."

      Built in 802.11, a stylus that can do things like on-line chat without covering the screen. *I* am excited. If Nintendo did this right (guess I'll find out when the thing finally arrives...) then I can play against people on-line from my couch instead of at my desk.
    • With battery life measured in the 2-3 hour range (for gaming), I have no interest in the PSP.

      This is not an official figure. 2-3 hours is supposed to be the battery life if you're watching a movie on UMD (constant disc access) with it being closer to ten hours for games (intermittent disc access) according to the latest issue of PSM.

      There will also be an external battery pack if you need to double the time between recharges.

      I'm not really interested in a handheld game system, but when Sony releases a GB
      • 10 hours is bullshit. Spinning a disk and using the laser constantly draws less energy than powering that huge backlit display or the speaker.

        Also, movies shouldn't need to hit the processor at all, the other big power draw. If it does then they should toss an onboard decoder into the thing because THAT is why they get 7-8 hours less battery life out of the thing with movies than they do with games. NOT the disc access.
  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @10:45AM (#9507088)
    There is room for two consoles, one high end and fragile, and one low end and durable. Nintendo has pulled out a very durable design setup with the SP/DS. The screens don't get scratched because of the folding nature (my GBA's screen cover got replaced twice), and they can take a fall easy. There's not much to break from a moderate drop. And the price is low enough that people don't get paranoid about them. Now take a PSP, nice large display, excellent graphics, but the design is more inherantly prone to have problems.

    Personally, I'm looking forwards to both. My GBA and NGPC coexisted (and still do). I don't mind adding a PSP and DS to the mix. Probably won't happen because of the cost, but I'd like it.

    There's a place for a Jeep Wrangler, and there's a place for a Chevrolet Corvette. One doesn't exactly take a signifigant number of sales away from the other.
  • by metroid composite (710698) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @11:03AM (#9507253) Homepage Journal
    First, whenever I see a "DS or PSP" argument on a game forum, I want to slap the people. "None" "Both" or "I'll wait till they actually have games thank you" sound like more sensible replies in all honesty.

    Second, "PSP will have more games" seems like BS. Last I checked (and correct me if I'm wrong) there were about 100 third parties working on each system, and about equal number of third party games announced for each. (And then Nintendo wins the first party, of course).

    Historically, poor battery life and high price is downright DEATH in the portable world. Other than Sony being stronger than Atari/Sega, what's different this time?

    I'm going to paraphrase the analysis of a GameFAQs user (HoratioQHornblower) who owns a shop and so seems to know more about what will sell than I do. Here's the thing: handheld gaming is different than home console gaming. For instance, while racing games sell just fine on big consoles, they sell poorly on handelds. Who's going to buy the PSP version of GT4 when they can buy the PS2 version and play it properly on a big screen? Handheld gaming (according to him) is more centered around platformers (Marios, Metroids) and strategy games (Fire Emblem, FFTA). Roughly speaking, the list of DS games seem more suited to a handheld, whereas the PSP games are mostly scaled down console games, often literally ports of PS1 games.

    Again, I'm not really doing HoratioQHornblower's argument justice, but his prediction for his store was that people woud buy the PSP first (better marketing) but return it after a couple of weeks when they find out Metal Gear Acid is a card RPG and the battery life is low. On the other hand, the DS, even ignoring the innovation, has a library which guarantees a certain level of success as a handheld, even if initial hype is lower.

    • Here's what I saw when I read your post:

      "Anyone who says that one of these portables is better than the other is an idiot. Now, here's a list of reasons why the PSP is weaker than the DS."

      I agree with the points you've given, but come on now.

      Rob
      • Yeah, you're absolutely right on that one. I think I was writing this late at night, since that did strike me as sounding a little silly when I reread it myself.

        PSP and DS have a largely different target audience, which is why I dislike comparing them. Evidence suggests that the DS will have higher economic success (though still too many unknown variables to be sure). Hence, "PSP will beat the DS" claims bother me because I'm not sure they're competing in the first place, and because I don't see the ev

  • My take (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfterman (2719) on Wednesday June 23, 2004 @01:30PM (#9509233)
    In general, I'm with the PSP people in terms of the overall design. Dual screens with a stylus strikes me as an attempt to be clever. Clever doesn't really work with these types of machines. Something simple and elegant works much better in these cases. The DS is relying on a dual screen gimmick and in my experience, gimmicks don't do too well.

    The PSP has a very clean ergonomic design. The only thing that the PSP is missing is a second analog control. If it had that, I would say that it would be absolutely perfect in layout.

    The two issues that worry me are proprietary media and data formats. I'd feel happier if it had some industry standard small data disk format. I'd also feel happier if they announced it could support a lot of media formats, including MPEG, MP3 and Ogg. To my mind, something that could play good games and support those formats would be something I would be seriously tempted in buying.

    The price is also something where I think Sony may be rushing in too soon. Steve Jobs blew it with the Newton because while the concept was good the technology hadn't hit the right price point. While I think the PSP has a clean design, if it's too expensive, we've got yet another overprinced and overambitious piece of hardware to add to the list of other bold experiments.

  • But the reason I love my GBA so much is that it is not 3D. The PSP sounds really cool, looks slick, and if it can deal with the battery life issue (which I'm not sure they can with a spinning disk and laser), should be a winner. However, if most of the games are going to be just like my console games but on a smaller screen, who cares? I like the simplicity of the games I find on the GBA, especially considering when and how I use it.

    Personally, I think I'm going to like the DS more, but I don't know if that's just the Nintendo fanboy in me. The question of who will win this war is still up in the air for me. While Nintendo has been challenged in the past, I don't think it's ever been by the likes of Sony. Most people I talk to just equate the Playstation to video games. They'll refer to any of the 3 consoles as a "Playstation". It's almost synonymous with gaming for most. Of course, these are not probably the people that will be buying a portable gaming system, so I'm not sure if Sony's "mindshare" will be enough to carry the PSP.

  • by ddsoul (756692) *
    All this talk and complaint about Sony's propriotary storage format... at least maybe it will become standardized soon after... something sony has tried before with the minidisc, and it worked (to an extent). Seriously... I don't think this is an issue, I don't see anyone complaining about Nintendo using Carts! those are just as propriotary, if not more so... I can see Sony selling blank UMD discs eventually, to store custom data... plus, the psp has a memory stick slot(if I remember correctly). I can neve
  • While the physical characteristics of a portable console are certainly important, what about the reason one buys a console (ie, games)? DS's release list is pretty impressive [ebgames.com], but the PSP has one game that, I'm sure, some will buy a PSP just to witness: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. From what I've heard, it's a follow-up to Final Fantasy VII, and from what I've seen, it's going to be amazing. Then, there's Metal Gear Acid. I'm not sure about the premise on this one, but it's the Metal Gear name that I

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