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PlayStation Portable's Surprise Price

by the NWR Staff - October 30, 2004, 8:59 pm EDT

The staff rambles argues about the PSP price and the impending handheld system war.

[Jonathan Metts] The topic: How does the PSP's low price point affect Nintendo DS?

[Bloodworth] Well, I'd be interested in knowing what the buzz is like right now.

[Jonathan Metts] The buzz is pretty big for PSP.

[Jeff Shirley] I dunno. 200 clams is still a lot for a portable.

[Jonathan Metts] I mean, this is $100 less than what I expected.

[Michael Cole] Yeah, $200? Shit, Sony must really be biting the bullet for marketshare

[Dragona] 200 clams for the PSP is a steal

[Dragona] Sony is losing at least 100$ off that.

[Dragona] AT least.

[Jonathan Metts] That's the consensus. But Sony claims they can afford it thanks to in-house production


[Jonathan Metts] I still think they're losing a lot of money.

[Michael Cole] Good for them. I think it really will impact DS sales. Maybe not at launch (hardcore

will eat up the launch) in US, but in Japan this could be very bad for Nintendo

[Dragona] My initial reaction is "Nintendo is d00med", and my current feeling is that they probably are.

Sony are going for blood now.

[Juan Schwartz] Unless they push alot of games.. I don't see how they're going to be able to sustain it

[Dragona] They are.

[Jeff Shirley] Are the games still, like $50 on the PSP?

[Dragona] Gran Turismo Mobile for one.

[Jonathan Metts] PSP is still months away in the US. The DS will have a head start here in America, but in

Japan they are releasing about a week apart, at only $50 price difference.

[Mike Sklens] The PSP is looking VERY attractive at $200

[Michael Cole] I have to agree with Dragona. $200 vs $150 isn't a big difference, if you would

rather have more powerful graphics

[Dragona] Metal Gear Ac!d? Hello

[Mike Sklens] but the launch lineup isn't looking strong

[Dragona] Nintendo

[Juan Schwartz] becauuuse, most hand held owners usually only have one / two games, In Australia atleast

[Bloodworth] Yeah, I'm still very hesitant to try to predict how two systems can compete when they're

entirely different from anything we've ever seen.

[Dragona] s on'y real move is that mysterious picture

[Dragona] http://gcforums.ript.net/images/ds10000.jpg

[Jonathan Metts] Ah, cospiracy theories. :-)

[Dragona] (please put this on PGC so my bandwidth won't get raped)

[Dragona] Bloodworth: Sony is marketing king.

[Bloodworth] The Japanese at least have a much better DS launch.

[Dragona] There is no problem with them pigeonholing the DS as it is.

[Jonathan Metts] So this picture was supposedly found on NCL's website and later taken down?

[Dragona] Kutaragi is already calling it the "pikachu" console.

[Dragona] Jonny: aye aye sir.

[Dragona] It was hidden away

[Bloodworth] the date doesn't make any sense though

[Dragona] i grabbed it while it was still up

[Mike Sklens] yeah but Kutaragi is also already calling his system the "gran turismo" console

[Bloodworth] What is November 4 all about?

[Dragona] StrikerObi: indeed. Which will sell to "older" gamers? Not pikachu :P

[Jonathan Metts] Yeah, I'm inclined to think that image was made prematurely and removed because it was

simply wrong.

[Mike Sklens] the difference between PSP and DS is that I can play Gran Turismo on my PSP or my PS2, but I

can't play Pokemon on my GameCube (not really)

[Bloodworth] I still think the similarity to PS2 is more of a negative than positive

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo brings something UNIQUE to the handheld market

[Mike Sklens] whereas Sony is bringing watered down PS2 games

[Dragona] Jonny: it's possible.

[Dragona] But remember the n64?

[Dragona] originally 249$ USD

[Dragona] Dropped a mere fortnight to 199$ for launch.

[Jonathan Metts] In terms of the mainstream demand, at this price gap, I think PSP is going to murder DS.

[Juan Schwartz] the PSP price may be attractive, but what of battery life? 4-6 hours (that's running minimum

volume / screen power) is pretty sad

[Dragona] Mike S.: doesn't matter what nintendo's doing to innovate. People want PS2 graphics. said and


[Juan Schwartz] will crafty consumers care about the battery?

[Jonathan Metts] In the long run, at least. Shipment problems and the DS headstart in America will help

stave off PSP for a while.

[Mike Sklens] if peopel want good graphics why has every other handheld failed?

[Michael Cole] This is true: Sony's stereotypical userbase, at least in the US, really isn't

interested in handheld gaming. And it has nothing to do with game content on handhelds

[Bloodworth] I'm not entirely convinced the PS2 audience wants a handheld

[Mike Sklens] they've all looked better than GBA or GB

[Dragona] Juan: Indeed, but at the same time, PS2s break, Sony CD players are bad audio-quality wise

and guess what? They still sell boatloads.

[Bloodworth] they'll think it's cool, buy a system, and leave it on a shelf most of the time

[Juan Schwartz] I see your point :
[Dragona] Jonny: murder is a underestimate

[Bloodworth] and go back to their consoles

[Jonathan Metts] Game Boy definitely defeated more powerful systems, but those competitors were introduced

after Game Boy was well established, and they all sold for much higher prices.

[Dragona] Mike S.: it's not AAs anymore. It's rechargable. That makes a huge difference

[Dragona] if Sony's battery spec are up to par, expeft no more than 2-3 hours.

[Mike Sklens] DS doesn't need to be established. The Nintendo handheld name is established and that's all

it needs

[Dragona] Always halve Sony's estimates when it comes to battery life.

[Dragona] always.

[Michael Cole] Don't forget about rumored "power consumption" requirements on games!

[Dragona] Mike S.: not really.

[Jonathan Metts] DS will not be able to establish itself very strongly by March. Not enough to compete with

a much more powerful PSP at a similar price.

[Dragona] I agree with Jonny. Nintendo needs to slash that price. now.

[Bloodworth] I don't think the graphic difference is enough of a hurdle if there's a significant number of

3D games on DS

[Michael Cole] If the PSP fails, it will be due to its library and battery life. Nintendo's $50

advantage is NOT an advantage

[Dragona] Er... it's a huge hurdle.

[Dragona] HUGE.

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo doesn't need to slash their US price, not until Janurary

[Dragona] it's N64 graphics with PSX-style lack of filtering

[Mike Sklens] how much to PSP games cost?

[Mike Sklens] did they announce that?

[Dragona] Compared to the PSP which at absolute worst is a DC

[Jonathan Metts] Well, I don't know if Nintendo needs to slash now in America, but they should in Japan where

the systems are releasing almost simultaneously.

[Dragona] Mike S.: 50$ games I beleive.

[Mike Sklens] that's a down

[Jeff Shirley] I disagree. When screens get so small, it becomes irrelevant how good it looks.

[Mike Sklens] DS games are $30

[Dragona] Also

[Dragona] Sony's managed to get BANDAI to release GUNDAM WING on UMD

[Dragona] this is HUGE

[Chris Bethea] i thought ds games were $40

[Dragona] since you can't get the original series on DVD even

[Dragona] That's a huge coup

[Jonathan Metts] In America, Nintendo could wait until March or so, but then they'll probably piss off a lot

of people who bought it just a couple months earlier.

[Dragona] Chris: they're 29.99

[Jeff Shirley] Uhhh... errr ahhh...

[Mike Sklens] I'm not going to sit here and say I hate the PSP. I'm going to get one at the US launch, and

I'm tempted to import a Japanese one. I don't trust Sony on their region locks though, even though they

say there aren't any

[Michael Cole] Hmmm,yes, it will be the game price point that might scare away consumers, then

[Mike Sklens] but most people odn't buy more than one portable

[Dragona] If Nintendo doesn't act accordingly (which is TIE UP EXCLUSIVES NOW, like Castlevania which

might seep onto PSP instead, and slash the price0

[Dragona] SOny will own the handheld market in NO MORE than ten years.

[Dragona] Possibly less.

[Michael Cole] After all, handheld games have always been thoguth of as lesser purchases

[Dragona] if nintendo truly believes that "PSP is not a gaming machine", then they're sticking their heads

in the sand.

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo has an advantage on game price and a slight advantage on system price

[Dragona] This is not a good thing.

[Dragona] It's not an advantage at all with the graphical capabilities StrikerObi.

[Dragona] Not at all

[Dragona] it's a burden.

[Bloodworth] I think the price pretty much levels the playing field

[Mike Sklens] People don't want to pay $50 for a handheld game

[Dragona] softwareprices, I will agree with you on.

[Mike Sklens] they just don't

[Mike Sklens] you're right on the system price

[Dragona] The system price will drive game sales.

[Bloodworth] and it's going to come down to what type of experience people are more interested in

[Jeff Shirley] I remmeber people whining about $40 GBA games.

[Michael Cole] I do not think the average handheld gamer will see better graphics at $20 extra as a


[Dragona] to be fair, they were GBA games.

[Dragona] These are nigh ps2level games now.

[Dragona] Mike C.: i doubt that.

[Michael Cole] Of course, the average handheld gamer is currently a GBA owner. If Sony can get its

userbase to purchase their handheld, then it is a different story.

[Dragona] Sony are kings of marketing.

[Dragona] Let me repeat this.

[Dragona] Over and over.

[Michael Cole] I still think PSP sales will eat away at PS2/3 sales

[Mike Sklens] When the Saturn was announced at $400, everyone expected PlayStation to come out at $400.

Then we got to the E3 keynote, and Sony started it with two words: "Three Hundred"

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo needs to do the same

[Dragona] Indeed.

[Mike Sklens] swoop in and steal Sony's thunder with a price cut

[Mike Sklens] much like Sony did to Sega

[Bloodworth] Sony didn't do too well with MiniDiscs or PSX though

[Jonathan Metts] Here's the deal. People do care about graphics. And if Sony is smart, they'll run ads with

DS footage next to PSP footage. The difference is huge. And Nintendo can't upgrade their system's

capabilities; it's far too late for that. The only response they have, hardware-wise, is to cut the

price so that it aligns with people's perception of the relative hardware power next to PSP.

[Dragona] And then start really making efforts to KEEP DS GAMES EXCLUSIVE and not let them go to PSP

[Dragona] I can see lots of DS games that are currently "tba" being cancelled and moved to PSP.

[Bloodworth] I don't think DS games CAN go to PSP

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo also needs to heavily play up the DS's features

[Dragona] Developers have ALREADY commented they want to make games for PSP now that the price is so low

[Mike Sklens] communication, touch, dual screens, microphone, wireless

[Jonathan Metts] DS could very easily fall victim to ugly versions of PSP games with a map on one screen.

[Chris Bethea] well in america where power and graphics are key to selling hardware, it would be an effective

campaign, jonny

[Dragona] Mike S.: I said cancel and then move.

[Michael Cole] Well, the types of games Nintendo hopes to have on Nitnendo DS will inherently be

exclusive due to the touch screen or dual screens, I suppose

[Dragona] Games that haven't hit developmental stride yet.

[Dragona] Games like Castlevania, whic have yet to be even unveiled at all for DS.

[Bloodworth] and I still think that the developer costs will make more of a difference

[Dragona] Bloodworth: ti's like devving for PS2.

[Mike Sklens] I fear develoeprs jumping ship. I'm guessing Nintendo has license prices VERY low on DS

[Mike Sklens] I've heard the DS license price is lower than that of the GBA

[Dragona] if anything devs can say they're getting twice the bang for their buck.

[Jonathan Metts] If Nintendo can convince developers to really dive in deep with the DS features, they have a

chance at staking out a piece of the market. But a lot of publishers, especially American publishers, I

think will want to make N64-type games with the barest of special features.

[Dragona] Mike S.: GBA dev prices are INSANELY high for what they should be.

[Jonathan Metts] Obi, that is true. DS licensing fees are lower than GBA.

[Dragona] *licensing

[Jonathan Metts] and GBA license fees were recently reduced

[Dragona] How much lower?

[Jonathan Metts] so DS will be even lower

[Dragona] The question to ask is "is it significantly lower than PSP's licensing fees"?

[Jonathan Metts] It's hard to say. Nintendo doesn't talk specifics on their fees

[Dragona] not compare it to GBA

[Dragona] well that was rhetorical. :P

[Mike Sklens] well with PSP games priced at $50, I'd say that the DS fees are pretty low

[Mike Sklens] compared to PSP

[Dragona] Nintendo hasn't been all that hungry for exclusive games anyway.

[Dragona] Remember Tales of SYmphonia?

[Dragona] NIntendo made NO MOVE to keep it exclusive to GC

[Mike Sklens] they've let a lot of exclusives slip: Viewtiful Joe, Killer 7, Symphonia

[Dragona] and in a short time, the PS2's INFERIOR version sells more than the GC's lifetime sales.

[Michael Cole] I dunno. I'm purchasing my DS, and I am hoping it will have mostly 2D games. I think

I'm in the majority for the target DS launch userbase

[Mike Sklens] The biggest feature on the DS for me is the wireless multiplayer

[Dragona] yes the userbase makes a difference. But it's absolutely insane.

[Jonathan Metts] PSP has that too.

[Dragona] Nintendo could have kept Symphonia.

[Dragona] They could have kept Jow.

[Dragona] *joe

[Dragona] but they didn't want to give any incentives.

[Dragona] SCE / SCEA lock exclusives whenever they can.

[Mike Sklens] I fully believe Nintendo will be able to wreck up in the 7 to 16 year old market. The

communication features will definatly appeal to that crowd

[Dragona] See, MGS/DMC/etc

[Mike Sklens] but the 17+ market, which was looking solid until this PSP price, is going to be tougher than


[Dragona] So much for breaking into the "older gamer" demographics.

[Michael Cole] This is because Nintendo would rather rely on its own games. It makes business sense

to them, but not to fans who want to see exclusives stay

[Dragona] Also don't forget the Sonic Mega Collection + and Super Monkey Ball DX

[Dragona] Nintendo isn't even trying to keep games exclusive.

[Jonathan Metts] It does seem that way.

[Mike Sklens] The DS is sort of saying they don't want to rely on their own games though. They only have

ONE first party title launching in America, backed by over 10 third party titles

[Dragona] MIKE C.: that's bullshit and you know it.

[Dragona] Sony became so powerful through 3rd parties.

[Dragona] Nintendo is going to see its marketshare shrink ans shrink if they keep ignoring that fact.

[Jonathan Metts] Some of the exclusives they have gotten turned out to be not so hot, like Twin Snakes and

RE. (Hopefully 4 will change that.)

[Michael Cole] I know it is bullshit. But taht's what Nintendo genuinely believes

[Dragona] Mike S.: I agree with that.

[Michael Cole] If they didn't, they wouldn't stand for those things you mentioned

[Dragona] Then Nintendo is going to be niche in less than 10 years.

[Mike Sklens] It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. This is Iwata's first console launch

[Dragona] Apple-style (computers, not ipod)

[Dragona] And Sony will have the ultimate monopoly, handheld and console.

[Jonathan Metts] Obi, do you really think Nintendo's single DS launch game is a statement about

third-parties? I think it's a lack of preparation.

[Michael Cole] Nintendo already is...a niche, in my opinion

[Mike Sklens] perhaps a little of both

[Jonathan Metts] if they had the games ready, they would release them.

[Jeff Shirley] *sigh*

[Chris Bethea] i can easily see Nintendo becoming the "Apple" of the gaming world

[Mike Sklens] they could get off their asses and rush-translate WarioWare

[Bloodworth] they have reached out to companies that hadn't developed for GBA

[Michael Cole] Unless you count GBA owners like kids who just play their Spongebob game

[Dragona] Chris: they have the diehard fanbase for it

[Jonathan Metts] I can only hope that they'll have one or two more before Christmas itself hits.

[Chris Bethea] exactly

[Dragona] Mike S.: I don't think Warioware is going to sell systems, as much as we all love it.

[Michael Cole] HELLO. GAMECUBE. It is a niche. A large niche, but a niche.

[Dragona] Not a niche yet.

[Mike Sklens] right, but it would at least speak that they are ready

[Jonathan Metts] But here's the deal, at least Apple is considered a true competitor to Microsoft.

[Dragona] wqith 20% of the marketshare? (Thereabouts) no.

[Mike Sklens] Speaking of Apple, if Nintendo did one smart thing it would be to partner with Apple. Too bad

that'll never happen

[Jonathan Metts] What is Nintendo right now, to the American public? Not even a contender.

[Dragona] nO

[Dragona] no

[Dragona] If nintenod was smart

[Dragona] they'd be butt buddied with Matsushita.

[Dragona] PANASONIC Q could have been HUGE

[Bloodworth] At this point I don't see a strong must-own game on either system

[Mike Sklens] Q could and owuld ahve been huge, if GameCube didn't exist and Q was the only option

[Jonathan Metts] I agree with Dan.

[Dragona] iF NINTENDO itself had not made Matsushita limit the amount of systems available

[Michael Cole] Neither did the PS2

[Dragona] so they couldn't outsell the stock GC.

[Mike Sklens] yeah, The PSP is seriously laking in killer titles

[Mike Sklens] it's all PS2 games

[Bloodworth] But I think DS is winning in terms of variety

[Jonathan Metts] Both systems show a lot of promise, but software is pretty dull at this point.

[Dragona] Other than a few games.

[Dragona] on either side.

[Mike Sklens] the thing about DS though, is that in teh beginning people will be willing to play a game

that's not as big simply becaues they will be able to play it differently

[Mike Sklens] I'd aruge that the DS's "killer app" is it's uniqueness

[Dragona] PSP also has wireless you know. :P

[Dragona] That's why Nintendo's pushing the stylus so much. :P

[Michael Cole] Does it have a built-in chat program, though?

[Dragona] People don't want unique though.

[Dragona] that's the problem.

[Dragona] They want "mass market" items.

[Mike Sklens] well, the uniqueness will draw some people

[Michael Cole] I think being able to find other people easily is what MAKES the wireless work

[Dragona] But not casuals. The ones who drive the industry?

[Bloodworth] I've heard that the PSP's wireless tech is somewhat behind the DS though

[Michael Cole] And you think casuals are actually interested in handhel gaming if it is pretty

enough, Dragona? That's what I'm not so sure about

[Jonathan Metts] This battle will be fought on playgrounds, in school cafeterias, and in mall gamestores.

[Jonathan Metts] It's all about hype, and PSP is engineered for hype from the ground up.

[Mike Sklens] Sony's plan is to MAKE them interested, TYP

[Mike Sklens] with a SEXY design

[Bloodworth] I also don't believe that you'll be playing PSP games with one copy

[Dragona] Bloodworth: it has the same protocol. It's lacking the Nintendo proprietary version.

[Mike Sklens] People were interested in digigal music players, but iPod is a totally different beast.

[Mike Sklens] iPod isn't just a music player

[Michael Cole] He's not talking about the transfer rade, Dragona

[Michael Cole] (rate

[Jonathan Metts] It's all about hype, and PSP is engineered for hype from the ground up. <---- DING


[Bloodworth] which will make THE difference in multiplayer

[Mike Sklens] it's a fashion accessory, a cultural icon

[Dragona] Nintendo cannot hype for shit compared to Sony.

[Dragona] At all.

[Mike Sklens] Sony is aiming dead on for the iPod image

[Dragona] I think tehy'll get it too.

[Dragona] With the price.

[Mike Sklens] me too

[Dragona] And the fact it actually reads Mp3s. No SonicStage converting crap.

[Jonathan Metts] Nintendo should team up with Sega and make an iPod-style commercial for Feel the Magic

[Dragona] I still think the PSP is butt ugly.

[Dragona] Jonny: nitnendo won't do that.

[Dragona] You know it.

[Dragona] I know it.

[Mike Sklens] no, Nintendo should team up with Apple for such a thing. Nintendo can make the games, team

with Apple for hardware design, and leave case design completly up to Apple

[Jonathan Metts] I know. :-(

[Michael Cole] Agreed. I hate sony designs. That's why I'm only so-so for the DS redesign heh

[Mike Sklens] Nintendo couldn't design a hip sexy product no matter how hard they tried

[Dragona] Mike S.: Nintendo isn't even relted to apple. Sorry no.

[Dragona] Matsushita is the ONLY company that they're even remoetly close to.

[Mike Sklens] they are both computer companies. Nintendo's comptuers are used for games, Apple's for


[Dragona] therefore, start praying Matsushita wants to go M3.

[Mike Sklens] I mean, the both use IBM processors currently

[Dragona] Oh crap.

[Dragona] Sorry, that's the worst line of reasoning i've EVER heard.

[Dragona] :P

[Chris Bethea] nintendo just needs a good industrial designer, not Ive, but someone

[Mike Sklens] right

[Dragona] The DS design is fine.

[Mike Sklens] right

[Dragona] Itlooks better than the PSP.

[Mike Sklens] the DS design is fine

[Mike Sklens] the PSP is fuckign sexy

[Dragona] The PSP is fucking UGLY

[Michael Cole] That's a weak argument, Dragona. Nintendo can make ties with wahtever tech company

they want if it is to their advantage. Like that company they invested in for the DS ROM format

[Mike Sklens] to you and you only

[Dragona] It's like a mid90s' american car.

[Mike Sklens] it's got a huge screen, and a shiny face

[Dragona] MIKE C.: They can, but will they? NO.

[Dragona] The PSP is horrible looking.

[Dragona] In terms of pure design.

[Michael Cole] They did with IBM

[Mike Sklens] most people would not agree with you

[Dragona] I'm not talking about functionality.

[Dragona] Well, they can (censored)

[Dragona] I'm not the only one who thinks it's butt fugly either. :P

[Mike Sklens] I'd say more people like the design on the PSP than the DS

[Dragona] They have no taste. :P

[Mike Sklens] I'd say most people will be indifferent on the DS design

[Dragona] I don't "like" the DS desing.

[Michael Cole] No, but it isn't ugly to most people. Just like your point behind the general public

wanting graphics

[Dragona] but it's better than PSP in my opinion.

[Chris Bethea] the psp is not ergonomic, but its got the sleek reflective black/glass look going for it

[Mike Sklens] the DS design doesn't evoke anything

[Mike Sklens] the PSP design evokes a sleek system, that is very hip looking

[Dragona] It's just "meh", but meh is better than an ugly raindrop thing.

[Chris Bethea] the ds design is rather lackluster and its silver, not even polished metal, but silver plastic

[Bloodworth] umm... the PSP is metal?

[Bloodworth] I doubt it?

[Chris Bethea] no

[Chris Bethea] its plastic

[Jonathan Metts] it looks metal

[Bloodworth] lots of things look metal

[Chris Bethea] but its shiny, the ds looks like painted plastic, not attractive as an icon

[Mike Sklens] GBA SP

[Jonathan Metts] Well, I think we should wrap this up.

[Dragona] Gwarg.

[Jonathan Metts] I think it's obvious that we have a system war on our hands.

[Jonathan Metts] It will be fun to watch.

[Dragona] Massacre more like, if NIntendo doesn't act. :P

[Mike Sklens] even if you can't compare them, it's still a war

[Dragona] I dunno if it'll be fun for Nintendo fans.

[Dragona] :P

[Jonathan Metts] I think competition is good for gamers.

[Michael Cole] Nintendo needs to do something, even though I'm not convinced Sony can make handheld

gaming appealing to the masses

[Dragona] I think it's graet.

[Jonathan Metts] So I'm looking on the bright side. :-)

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