So a while ago, I think a week before E3, or maybe even during E3, Nintendo announced that it won the war against Sony in the handheld dept. That from then on, it would focus on a new competitor, the iOS devices. Let me go back in time a bit and go through some history, it may be a little hazy, so forgive me if I’m not 100% accurate.
Sony and Nintendo have had a long war against each other in the handheld gaming department, with Nintendo clearly taking the lead. I don’t want to anger any Sony fan boys, but the numbers speak for themselves. I remember when both the PSP and the Nintendo DS were announced. At first I was 100% sure that Nintendo’s hold on the handheld game market was coming to an end. The PSP looked amazing, it did, as the ads say now, everything.
From music to movies, gaming to web browsing etc...The DS did not look appealing at all, it could only play games and offered wireless trading, it was a shame I had stopped playing Pokemon by then. (This next part is my opinion, Sony fanboys read with caution) The PSP for me turned out to be overhyped and overpriced. The original DS was also a disappointment for me as it was very bulky, not something I wanted to carry around while…anywhere really.
The original PSP was also bulky, but it was a little easier to store in my pocket, I mostly ended up using it for music more than anything else, turned out that I’m not really into many of Sony’s games, at least the ones that were available on the PSP. I ended up selling my PSP right after I graduated from high school, and pretty much dropped the whole handheld gaming.
After a while though Nintendo redesigned the DS and Sony had done the same with its PSP. I ended up buying a black DS Lite and special edition silver PSP slim (the jack and Dexter one). The PSP had more games that I was willing to play, like burnout and ratchet and clank, I also played Final Fantasy Crisis Core for a really long time, but surprisingly I found myself playing the DS more.
Little by little the PSP started losing its appeal and was demoted to music player once again. That’s around the time when the iPhone 3G came into play; I bought my 3G in January ’09 and really didn’t use it for gaming as much. Still played a lot on the DS, and since the iPhone was also an iPod, the PSP was left on a corner of my desk and started collecting dust. For a while it was DS gaming, iPhone music/internet/movies/texting my grandma.
I had downloaded a few games from the app store, but nothing to entertaining to switch it to my game device of choice, but that started changing after a while. Not only were more and more apps being submitted all the time, but a lot of the causal games I enjoyed were becoming available on the app store. I had always wanted to buy bookworm and bejeweled, but the $20 price tag kept me away from them because it didn’t seem worth it. Both games were $2.99 in the app store.
Soon after that I found myself buying even more games, Gameloft had the racing game Asphalt 4, which I had played on my previous phone (Samsung Blackjack II), aside from that there were other great games being added all the time. In the ad that Sony released, they boasted the “great games” showed were only $9.99. I didn’t really see anything appealing in those games, I don’t play golf, and I’m definitely not paying $9.99 for a golf game on a PSP when the iPhone has one by Gameloft for $4.99.
Out of the 3 games showed in that commercial, maybe the first one looked interesting to me, maybe. Now does that mean I’m not the hardcore gamer I once was? No, in fact I see golf, and the second game they had (sorry don’t know the name) as casual games, not the hardcore Sony is always aiming to be. At $9.99 they seemed overpriced to me, especially since I can find cheaper versions in the app store.
Now I don’t want to say that I can find a clone or something better of every PSP game in the app store, because I would be lying to myself and to you. I’m obviously not going to find a Final Fantasy Crisis Core, or a little big planet like game, but, Square Enix does have a few games in the app store, one of them being Chaos Rings which I downloaded the other day, and so far it’s very promising.
The app store caters to a mostly casual crowd, but if you look hard enough you can find something for the hardcore gamer. I’m not talking about the very popular Angry birds or Plants Vs. Zombies games. For RPG gamers Square Enix has a lot of games available to download. Including Final Fantasy 1&2 (both for $6.99 right now on sale) which go for $17.99 used at gamestop. That’s just a couple of the many RPG games available, Zenonia would be another game, at $2.99 it’s a steal.
If you like FPS games, N.O.V.A. and Archetype are two great FPS games that allow you to play online for free over 3G. If you like street fighter, the iPhone has street fighter for $9.99. I could keep going with all the games available but I think I got the primary games that would appeal to the hardcore base.
With more developers like EA, Ubisoft, Capcom, and Sega (to name a few) porting the games they have onto the iPhone, it seems to me that Sony’s big boy campaign is more of a cover up for its worries that it will lose its small hold on the handheld gaming market. I’m not going to say that the iPhone or iDevices will completely take over mobile gaming, but it is stepping up, even if it wasn’t intentionally, they are getting into that market (especially with the explosion of the causal demographic in the past few years).
Nintendo has already noticed, and Sony is starting to realize it. Nintendo in my opinion has nothing to worry about, but Sony hasn’t been that strong in sales for its mobile department, and for a company that boasts “it simply does everything”, the iPhone does movies, music, internet, gaming, social and business…there’s an app for everything…