How Nintendo Took a Bite out of Sony

Business 2.0 has a nice little plug for the DS in their most recent issue (Dec 2005). The article starts off by saying: “There’s a truism in the video-game industry: Fancy hardware doesn’t sell game machines; it takes great games to sell fancy hardware.”

The DS and PSP comparison couldn’t prove this anymore. The PSP is technically superior, (despite touch and dual screen technology) but hasn’t performed near as good. Kudos to Sony for staying in the game this long, but if they don’t start making some games for that multi-function device, and market it as a gaming handheld, Sony could have a curtain call very soon (GameGear anyone?)

The article attributes the following three items to the DS’s success:

  1. SOCIABLE NETWORKING. Most portable devices (including Sony’s PSP) use Wi-Fi for collaborative gaming among players scattered all over the world. Nintendogs takes a more intimate approach to wireless networking, thanks to a feature called “bark mode” that alerts DS owners when another Nintendogs player is nearby. Players can then introduce themselves to one another while their virtual pets frolic together onscreen.
  2. INTUITIVE INTERFACE Game machine microphones are usually used to holler at fellow players during collaborative combat. Nintendogs uses the microphone as an integral part of the game experience — it’s hard to go even a few minutes without cooing praise or practicing verbal training with your virtual pup. “The ability to speak commands makes the communication very lifelike,” says Nintendo producer Hideki Konno.
  3. A MORE HUMAN TOUCH To pet their dog or give it a bath, DS players rub the touch-sensitive screen. “The emotional connection wouldn’t have been as effective without the touchscreen,” says Konno. The hands-on puppy play has been hailed as the first truly innovative application for a gaming touchscreen. “The DS has a very radical design,” says Envisioneering analyst Doherty. “It’s taken developers a little while to take advantage of that.”

Throw in Nintendo’s insanely easy Wi-Fi connection, and you’ve got the makings for a very dominate portable. How will the next Game Boy top this? It doesn’t, it’s pillar three (different) than the DS and home console Revolution.

[Source: Business 2.0]


  1. Me and Blake are on opposite sides of the “Will PSP Die?” discussion. Guess which side i’m on.

  2. I bet you are on the side saying PSP will die slowly…
    got it?

  3. My vote is on the PSP dying. I think Sony’s already started nailing the coffin, but sales this Christmas season should be a good indicator.

  4. I’m definitely a “wait” person when it comes to calling a flatline for a system, especially after only one year on the market.

    However, that said, I still stand by my previous prediction that the PSP is simply a glorified next-gen Atari Lynx. So I guess I’m a hypocrite… but an accurate hypocrite (so far) none-the-less.

    As far as holiday sales, I was one of the idiots out on “Black Friday” and I visited my local Target. DS was sold out by 10 a.m. and there was still a bunch of PSPs in stock. It was kind of sad in a way, they were all bottom shelf and not even stacked neatly, and there were plenty of games left in the cases.

    However, as a further testament to the success DS will enjoy this year Mario Kart DS was sold out, as were several other DS games (even the stinkers, like Narnia, Sponge Bob, etc. were looking thin).

    On a sad note, the Micro still had three units left to sell, but I finally got to hold one in my hands. Very tiny indeed.

  5. I’m not so sure… Remeber how the sales of the DS were initially bad. It took the “killer” app Nintendogs to bring the DS to the frontline. So, it would only take a couple of really good games to bring the PSP back up. But I’m using the word “only” here in a very loose way, of course. It takes a lot of genius and daring to come up with games like that. I’m thinking something like “katamari” could resucitate the PSP.

  6. sony is probably in the portable market for the long haul- just like microsoft with the consoles. a weak start isnt going to make them give up. and the psp isnt off to a weak start either. maybe quality software is lacking a bit, but sales aren’t terribly behind nintendo in NA or Europe.

  7. InvisibleMan said…

    “It took the “killer” app Nintendogs to bring the DS to the frontline. So, it would only take a couple of really good games to bring the PSP back up. “

    Wasn’t GTA:LCS touted as the PSP killer app? I guess there’s another one coming….

    (looking over the horizon)

    … nope


  8. Nah, as you can see, Blake is the doubter. I don’t question the PSP dying cause i know it won’t. The N-Gage, which initially sold for more than the PSP if i remember correctly, is still around. Sure they kinda just announced it as a failure, but that’s after 3 years in market. PSP doesn’t have a year in Japan, and only 8 months in the US. It also sells much better than an N-Gage or any other failed portable from the past. Really its supposed death is an exaggeration of Nintendo fanboys. There’s still a shortage in Europe, it’s number 2 in Japan by a difference of only about 15k units on average weekly, and it’s neck and neck with DS in the States. If ppl think it’s going to die, they have really high standards. It’s not goin anywhere, peeps.

  9. So I guess you haven’t heard the recent news that N-Gage will be discontinued? lol!

    Anyway I don’t mind PSP being around, when Sony announced their handheld entrace it gave Nintendo a good kicking up the arse and so pushed them into a competative drive. The results have been great for Nintendo, so I say Sony can always compete against Nintendo as long as they don’t overtake them. 😉

  10. The PSP is not going anywhere anytime soon since it’s selling pretty decent.

    There’s no reason for Sony to kick the bucket when they are neck and neck in global sales with the DS.

    There’s no doubt that the gaming aspect to the PSP is lacking, but the movie aspect will keep it kicking since they are for some odd reason actually selling.

    The PSP will be in it for the long run. This is not the GameGear, Neo Geo Pocket or N-Gage.

  11. PSP will survive because Gamestop shoves DS into a back corner and provides tons of shelf space for the PSP.

  12. “So I guess you haven’t heard the recent news that N-Gage will be discontinued? lol!”

    No, i have. ^_^ That’s what i meant by Nokia announcing that it was a failure.

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