Sony recently announced that it would sell the PSP in Japan for $185, and $235 in a value pack with battery headphones, carrying case, and memory card. This is well below the expected $300-350 price point that analysts and Sony insiders had been predicting. In this week's Gamers' Thumb, James and Troy talk about what this means to the DS vs. PSP debate.
The announcement that the PSP costs $185 in Japan really blew me away. I was totally, completely shocked. I didn't know how it was possible, Sony reps had been quietly floating me $300-350 price points, I told them I thought it would be a slow start, and that was going to be even more true after Nintendo announced a $150 price point. Apparently Sony figured it was going to have to take some early losses to join in the portable fun, much like Microsoft with the Xbox. I've seen estimates online that Sony is losing $200-300 a PSP unit sold. That's an incredible amount, and given the demand for this thing at the roughly $200 price point, they could lose hundreds of millions of dollars on this.
Nintendo can't be happy though, for fifty bucks more, the PSP looks really attractive as a game system. Still, Sony hasn't
All in all, I think this makes this handheld fight a lot more interesting. Sony is now infringing on Nintendo's territory with the price point, something I didn't feel it was doing at a $300-350 point. Before Nintendo would be content to sit and take its market and let Sony have its section, now it may be a bigger dogfight. How much you want to bet SUPER MARIO BROS. DS (the new 2D Mario game) or another huge Nintendo first-party game (MARIO KART, ANIMAL CROSSING) hits the same day as the PSP? -JS
Obviously, Sony's announcement comes as much of a surprise to us, as well as the entire gaming community. Many people were expecting Nintendo to have a lead going into the first handheld wars in some years, but with Sony's announcement that the PSP will be under $200, that could change the tide of things. I for one can say that I have thought twice about picking up the Nintendo DS next month now.
There are a few concerns I have for the PSP though. With the system not having a flip screen like the DS or GBA SP, the screen seems more prone to scratches. Especially with it being as large as it is. One look at my original GBA will prove enough concern for me (and I'm relatively easy on systems). The battery life doesn't do too much for me. While Sony may tout the four to six hour battery life, when you throw in wireless gaming with a bright screen and you're looking at probably half of that.
The system looks really sharp though. I keep becoming more and more impressed with the screenshots and video I see of it. NEED FOR SPEED UNDERGROUND really does it for me. I have a feeling that Nintendo won't go down without a fight, but I really think Sony just upped the stakes. -TR
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Big week for games starting with a huge
Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.