Portable gaming, now with more cellphone contracts!


So Sony is allegedly readying a PSPGo with a cellphone bolted on, courtesy Sony Ericsson. Gaming is changed forever! The 3DS is doomed!

I kid, I kid. I think. More seriously, word is Nintendo and Nokia had a similar arrangement back in the day that never materialized, for reasons unknown (the device even went through the R&D process!). This isn’t exactly new territory, in other words.

Still, it led me to ponder how portable gaming would look if the major players (Nintendo and Sony) suddenly started selling cellphone contracts alongside their portables. Sony, obviously, is seriously considering it, perhaps as some kind of new tactic to crack Nintendo’s multi-decade dominance over the portable space. If there’s one thing customer surveys and consumer trends show, it’s that gamers want more 2-year contract lock-in with their portable gaming experiences. Good luck.

As we already know, Nintendo, with the 3DS, is going to go with an always on wifi platform where 3D portables will talk to one another like chatty best friends, should they sense their own kind nearby. No subscription plans there—but what if there were?

What if we lived in a world where two-year cellphone contracts were the norm for portable gaming? How would you feel? What benefits would there be, in your opinion, with this arrangement? The iPhone and Android devices have a ton of games, true, but they still remain Leatherman devices incapable of making a serious play at Nintendo’s piece of the portable pie. At least, that’s how I see it. Weigh in, won’t you?


  1. Cell-Phones, are so jamm-packed with the technology that runs them, there really is no room for gaming hardware… So Nintendo won’t be getting much opposition from the Cell-Phone orriented devices….

    As for the other way around; can you seriously picture a cell-phone in the 3DS…
    I can’t, but lets be open-minded here, if there was; I think the Cell-Phone would eventually dominate the Game Console… Try as hard as Nintendo might, but I think that by the end of the mobile’s life, it will be more of a cellular device….

    BEING OPEN-MINDED STILL: However maybe TXTing, and IMing wouldn’t hurt them too much… I don’t know, if Nintendo contemplated it before, and they shot it down, then there was a reason. And I’m pretty sure Nintendo knows what to do…

  2. Further proof that Sony can’t come up with an original idea to save their life…. “Move” is a bad enough rip-off of Wii tech, but now they want to make their very own N-Gage? Wow, Sony. I’m convinced that Sony doesn’t even actually have an R&D department of their own (after all, it was IBM who did all the hard work on the Cell Processor) and that they feel it’s just cheaper to hire more lawyers… It’s all just as sign of desperation, I think.

  3. One thing no one ever mentions; a purchasable game card/cartridge/disk is absolutely essential (not that it’s precluded by making it a phone, but certainly hurts pocket ability and vested OS partners’ interets like google) and it’s not looking likely here. If you go down the route of digital download only ala PSPGo, then vouchers aside (which are annoying and retarded), purchases become resticted from persons without a credit/debit card/bank account. This screws over virtually all under-18s, instantly cleaving off a HUGE portion of the portable games market – easily 30+%. That’s before any losses one might expect from the regular screwiness of digital only purchases for non-dirt cheap games.

    If the bandied release of October is true then the non-appearance at E3 so close to the date means one of 3 not good things:
    1. Sony was totally flipped on its ass by 3DS, sent into a tail spin and were too embarrassed to show this device.
    2. Sony’s cobbled this together in a right hurry, fearing they must release something, ANYTHING before the 3DS onslaught.
    3. Sony never considered this to be a significant product for them.

    Finally I’d say depending on the way this deal works, it would be funny if this Playstandroid Portable mixes the stores bi-directionaly – Competitor android phones able to play ‘Sony’ games, and Sony gamers able to access ‘Google’s’ games. Potentially this opens up a can of worms where Sony doesn’t earn roylaties on games originally designed for ‘their’ system, and where 3rd parties can put games on their system without paying royalties – the delicious irony being that this is exactly the same shit Sony tried to pull on Nintendo when the SNES Playstation CD was being developed.

  4. It is incredible how much the 3DS is going to lay waste to the competition. I mean really, most people thought the DS would fail and look how well it did. Everything about the 3DS looks like a complete win.

  5. wow, how i laugh and scoff at sony’s face. i mean seriously are they this stupid. the main reason why a game/phone platform would never fully work is the fact that the phone would either interrupt the game or the game would interrupt the phone (though the former is more likely). think of it this way. imagine your in the middle of an extremely intense boss that has beaten you time and time again, then *RING* RING*…*RING*RING* suddenly someone from your old high school calls you (someone that you never really liked because they always bored you with annoying stuff about their life) and you have to deal with this long, drawn out conversation about what they’ve been up to for the last ten years and when your finally done you lose that adrenaline rush, forget where you were in the fight, and finally, and ultimately, perish at the hands of your arch nemesis. it’s interruptions like this that a game/phone platform would create

  6. nin, you could give players the option to disable calls while gaming.

  7. @ Josh

    I can’t think of a more strategically strong console launch in the history of games.

  8. Imo tacking a cellphone onto a portable gaming device isnt the best thing, even though I wouldn’t mind having an official Skype App with video/audio chat on my DSi/3DS. We’ve already heard of attempts by Sony to merge a Sony Ericsson with a PSP and that device has yet to materialise.

    Plus most of us want a dedicated gaming device that does what its supposed to do. It would detract from the experience if suddenly you got a call in the middle of an intense mario kart match and ruin your track record.

    And I think there would be some kind of piracy issue with the cell phone/gaming device mashup, with the features that are available on smartphones of today. A hacker could easily use a photo or text document to access the OS of the machine and run “unauthorized” programs. I don’t think the hardware manufacturers would want to compromise their machines like that since they have so much riding on their products.

  9. News for Sony: a phone that also does gaming already exist and it’s named iPhone.

    Good luck competing with that!

  10. Umm… no. If it’s anything like Verizons ‘Unlimited’ plan for $120 a month… no thank you. 😛 Honestly, I think it’s a neat idea, but the idea of buying a DS from AT&T or Verizon doesn’t sit with me well.

  11. It must include SIDETALKING! It’s not a phone/portable game combination device without the sidetalking.

    On a sidenote (see what I did there? X^B), we all know for a fact that Nintendo won’t come anywhere near the cell phone market. But can you imagine how unbelievably awesome it would be to video chat with someone using the 3DS’s 3D camera ability? So cool.

  12. the PSP is doomed

  13. Nintendo would more than likely hit a prepaid service like Metro.

  14. You can’t tack a cell phone onto a gaming device and expect it to succeed. Let’s remember that iPhones were very popular BEFORE the launch of the App Store. Apple had already established firm footing on the hardware front, then all kinds of new games became available. People aren’t going to buy an iPhone for the games. People are going to buy iPhones and then buy some apps. That’s how Apple makes their money. Adding a cell phone to a PSP will not increase sales. The average cell phone user won’t go out and buy a PSPhone because it has a PSP. Only PSP fans and Sony fanboys will buy it.

  15. i think its a good move on sony’s part. how else can they compete with 3DS?

  16. @parker, speak for yourself. i’m sure there will be many gamers who will buy this phone when it comes out.

  17. Nintendo would only incorporate a ‘mobile phone’ function if it could be for free or over wi-fi, but still it wouldn’t be like your average phone. Game and fun come first.

  18. satellite internet for the 3DS and problem solved. there is always internet phone and the 3DS already has a web browser i hope and all they have to do is mod the hardware a bit and it can send its signal to a satellite and all of a sudden that cellphone psp thing just went down the drain.

  19. cell phones are no threrat to Nintendo. Well, take that back, maybe the iphone with some of its games that do not require a game pad and work really good. Ihave some on my ipod touch. They are pretty addicting.

    honestly though, Nintendo has nothing to fear. The 3DS will outpace and run circles around any cell phone

    Once again its all about the games and Nintendo is raising the bar and revolutionizing how we play. Games, Games, Games!!!!

  20. 212122 25106Woh I like your weblog posts, saved to fav! . 412706

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