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Portables (Games) Entertainment Games

2007 the Best Year Yet For PSP & DS 158

ElFozzie writes "From a handheld perspective, Pocket Gamer has posted a couple of features offering a positive viewpoint on the reasons why both PSP and DS might have a very happy new year. Tellingly, whilst the PSP piece focuses on a range of new potential developments from new peripherals and downloadable video content to price drops and even a new version of the handheld system, the DS article simply highlights 10 top games titles due to hit the streets in the next 12 months. On one level this could be argued as a reflection of the divergent strategies of the two devices and companies, with Sony trying to establish all-singing, all-dancing, all movie-music-and-gaming 'entertainment platforms', whereas Nintendo have focused solidly upon one core area. However a simpler argument would suggest it's merely underlining why Nintendo has raced ahead this year and the lesson Sony are going to have to learn if they are to have any chance of a truly prosperous 2007 — "It's about the games stupid!""
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2007 the Best Year Yet For PSP & DS

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  • Gave my 7 year old a DS this year. I am just astounded by the hardware. Great battery life, wifi (sans built in browser), touch screen, a microphone. Nice solid feeling unit. Her cousins had the Nintendo units as well, so all of them were able to play together in a virtual world (Animal Crossing) with the built in networking. As a nice touch, it also had a slot where it could play the older gameboy as well as the newer DS kit.

    After playing with the kit and getting past the 'fun' part of playing games, one of the things that has me wondering is what does the SDK look like/cost to get into developing for the DS. Can anyone comment on what it costs to develop for that platform? I've heard that the Wii is ~$2,500. Anyone know what the DS SDK goes for?
  • It's interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:04PM (#17422360) Homepage
    I picked up a PS3 (for Linux) and I've been hanging out with PS3 users. It's fascinating. They have no idea about content restrictions. When I posted a comment on my blog about how annoying HDCP is (if I didn't have it, I'd be running my PS3 at 1920x1200... But it's impossible in my setup because of HDCP), I got a bitchy remark from someone who insisted that Linux has full access to the hard drive, and just doesn't read the PS3 filesystem. No, Sony actually virtualizes the machine so you see only the part of the disk that doesn't have any Sony data on it.

    The war between Sony's content and hardware people is pretty vivid here.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:17PM (#17422428)
    The PSP is a great handheld but its been dogged by shoddy PS2 ports and unoptimized content which takes too long to load. Thankfully its had a lot of great titles appear in the last 12 months (LocoRock, Tekken, MGS: Portable Ops etc.) and finally looks like its shaken off these issues. It also makes for a great multimedia device and I often rip movies, music & shows to watch on it. Even so, the justification for the built-in UMD is rather tenuous, especially with near zero-interest in UMD videos, thanks in part to their rip-off prices.

    Where I think the future lies for the PSP is in downloadable content and Sony shows signs of thinking that too. Recent versions of the firmware allow the PSP to play downloaded demos from memory stick, and emulated PS1 titles too. I expect that soon enough we'll see a Sony store on the cross bar selling downloadable games, movies and music for the PSP. It wouldn't even surprise me if / when a PSP Mk2 appears that the UMD drive is an optional external add-on and that games can be played from a large chunk of internal memory and managed via firmware, PC / PS3 or downloaded directly from the store to be played.

  • by PhoenixFlare ( 319467 ) on Monday January 01, 2007 @12:21PM (#17422450) Journal
    And meanwhile, for every "dedicated hardcore fan" that buys a PSP to hack to pieces, there's 1+x people from many other groups buying a DS. The homebrew may be infinitely cool, but I think you're being a little delusional if you think that's going to propel it past the DS (which, i've heard, has homebrew options of its own). Last time I saw some (Japanese) sale numbers, the DS was beating the PSP almost 4:1 in sales.
  • by aussie_a ( 778472 ) on Monday January 01, 2007 @01:37PM (#17422970) Journal
    I haven't bought a new system since my gameboy and then a few years later my playstation (although I do, have access to a Playstation 2 and Gameboy Advance I take advantage of). So looking at the PS3, Wii, DS, PSP and Xbox360, I am considering perhaps its time I upgraded. However none of the 3 big consoles have really sold me yet, while the handhelds are gaining my interest much more.

    Now to be honest both the PSP and DS had a pretty terrible year in 2006 for me as an RPG fan living in Australia. The DS only had:
    * Lunar: Dragon Song - Doesn't look that good according to most people. The description of it also sounds sub-par. I'll skip this one most likely.
    * Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - I'll pass. I'm a Pokemon fan so I obviously don't have a very high bar, but this game falls below it by the sounds of it.
    * Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team - Even though I'm a fan of the Pokemon games, even I have my limits. Can't say this idea really grabs me.
    * Pokemon Ranger - Sounds like an interesting twist, but the story seems lacking.
    * Children of Mana - Eugh. No thanks. I want something more then dungeon crawling.

    The PSP only had:
    * Breath of Fire III - I've already got this one. Nice try though Sony.
    * Kingdom of Paradise - Eh. Gameplay sounds interesting, story not so much.
    * Monster Hunter Freedom - I prefer my turn based games.
    * PoPoLoCrois - Sounds interesting.
    * Tales of Eternia - Definitely want to get this one.
    * Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade - Yikes, it sounds like it has a Baldur's Gate combat system. No thanks.
    * Ys: The Ark of Napishtim - I have to admit I've never gotten into the Ys series and given this is a Zelda type combat system, I probably won't get into it with this game.

    So for 2006 only 2 RPGs came out in Australia that I want, and only one of those is one I'm keen on. But the PSP does have a 2 game lead over the DS going into 2007.

    Now for 2007 the DS games I'm looking forward to are:
    * Dragon Quest IX - If this comes out in Australia, I'd like to find out more. However current info points to an action type combat system which is one I dislike. So while I do want more info, my hopes aren't too high.
    * Final Fantasy III - No, we haven't got it yet. Yes, I do want it :)
    * Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings - I was quite surprised to see this when looking at 2007's line-up for this post. But I'm definitely interested, if we get it in Australia (which is extremely likely if its released outside of Japan, which again is extremely likely ;)).
    * Pokemon Diamond and Pearl - This is the big draw for the DS for me. And given it has online functionality I'll be able to trade. As a 22 year old pokemon fan, I don't know anyone in person who is a fan.
    * Vandal Hearts - Vandal Hearts was the first game I ever played on the PSX, so I'm a fan. However there's no indication it will get released in Australia.

    So only 3 games for 2007 by the looks of it. Not a very good line-up. Now moving onto the PSP. It will have:
    * Crisis Core - I'm a FFVII fan from when it was first released. How could I not be interested? Well easy, it looks like they did away with turn based/ATB/anything not too action oriented battles.

    Well shit. That's not a lot. So it looks like 2007 will be the year of the DS, although will it be enough for me to lay out the money for it? I'm thinking I might wait until 2008, but don't quote me on that. It could quite possibly come down to whether or not DQ9 and Vandal Hearts make it to Australia and if they do, what they're gameplay is like. If both come to Australia with a battle system I like a good story, then I can definitely see myself getting a DS. Otherwise, I can see myself waiting until 2008.

    Now as for the articles, I found the PSP one to be as telling as the submitter. It only confirms my suspicions that the PSP won't be the console for me in 2007 (however I do have access to my brother's, so it's pretty much as if I already own it as he's already abandoned it. However with only 1 game on it from 2006, not 2007, I'm not exactly going to be calling it the year of the PSP for myself). The DS article was also inferior to my own research, but thats because I have very specific tastes.
  • by justchris ( 802302 ) on Monday January 01, 2007 @10:00PM (#17427740) Homepage
    That's not really true. If the PS2 did make a loss initially, it was very small, and was only for the first couple of months.

    Contrary to popular belief, what Microsoft did, and what Sony is doing now is not standard in the industry. Especially in the case of the original Xbox, which was never profitable on the hardware, which is why Microsoft killed it so quickly and thoroughly. The reason is, unlike every other company, Microsoft purchased the parts wholesale and put them together into the Xbox case. All other consoles (including the 360), the company contracted to fabricate the parts themselves, so basically they pay a license fee to the original developer of the hardware, but they build and combine the hardware in their own fabrication plants. That's why there are usually hardware shortages when a system initially launches, because the company has to either open up, or convert, fabrication plants, and get them up to speed.

    Because they're actually building the hardware themselves, instead of just buying it prebuilt, when the cost to build the hardware is reduced, the company saves money. In the case of the original Xbox, when the cost to produce the hardware was reduced, it wasn't Microsoft who was making more money. They were still paying the same amount per chip to Intel & Nvidia, even though the chips became cheaper to make.

    Microsoft learned their lesson, and the 360 is both designed and constructed much more like a home console gaming machine than the original Xbox, which was basically a miniature pc sold for about half the price an equivalent pc would cost.

    Also, while hardware does produce more revenue than software, software produces more profit. There is a reason that Nintendo is the most profitable of the console makers, and always has been. They concentrate on software, so have the smallest revenue of all, but still end up with the greatest profit.
  • by ADRenalyn ( 598918 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2007 @02:35AM (#17429380)

    Buying a PSP with your main purpose not being to play games sounds like the dumbest idea ever.

    I guess I'm the dumbest person ever.

    I have 3 UMD games for my PSP, which I rarely play. My main reason for getting a PSP was to have a portable device that I can watch movies on, listen to music, look at (and share) my babies pictures, scan for wifi spots while traveling (without opening my briefcase and turning on my laptop), and to occasionally play some Lumines, GTA, or any of the free homebrew games that interest me.

    Of course, I think the UMD format is a waste for movies, I just convert the ones I already have to MPG (PSP-compatible) and throw them on to one of my 1 or 2GB memory sticks, which are getting cheap these days. One of my sticks holds a collection of Family Guy episodes and other videos. Another has 2GB of music, and my third has a bunch of photos and videos of my baby girl. It's very quick and easy to swap them out.

    Games may be all there is for some people, and maybe those people should buy a system that focuses solely on that. Personally, I don't like having a different device for everything, and the PSP is more than adequate for my non-gaming needs. If I want to play a game, I'd rather fire up one of my computers or consoles and immerse myself, instead of holding the system in my hand and moving the screen every time I hit a button.

    Just my opinion, I don't think anyone is dumb for thinking otherwise.

    After looking at that GPX2, I think it might be more of what I would want, since it has TV-out and can emulate old game systems. Too bad I never heard of it back when I made the decision to get a PSP.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.