iPhone OS is a more popular development platform than DS and PSP

3 handheld systems.According to a recent study by Game Developer Research, the iPhone OS has surpassed both the Nintendo DS and the PSP as a handheld gaming development platform. The study showed that 19 percent of all developers are coding for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which is more than double the stats for both Nintendo and Sony.

If you think this isn’t a big deal, consider the following: handheld games are now 25 percent of the total gaming market, up from just 12 percent before the iPhone came on the scene. That’s some huge growth, even if you figure most iPhone gamers are playing simple things like Bejeweled 2 and Tap Tap Revenge. Sure, there’s no Scribblenauts, not yet anyway, but the platform has enough support from both gamers and developers that I’m sure we’ll see more serious titles in the future.

The problem for me is still the lack of physical controls. I know the touch thing is cool, but it’s also completely frustrating to cover your game screen with your thumbs. That’s not enjoyable. I’m still waiting for that universal controller add-on to launch.

Source: Electronista

Sony sees iPad as a gateway to the PSP

iPad gaming.Someone needs to sit down with John Koller, Sony’s hardware marketing manager, and give him a quick lesson on cause and effect. He seems to think the iPad, as with the iPod Touch and iPhone, will drive PSP sales for customers looking for “deeper, richer console.” Personally, I think he’s nuts.

The numbers look good – the PSP and PSP Go have tripled in combined sales since the launch of the iPhone. But that doesn’t make the two related. My guess is the price of the PSP has gone down so much and the units have been hacked so many times that it’s become accessible enough to encourage a lot of gamers to buy.

I talk a lot on Gadget Teaser about the death of dedicated devices and the future of the all-in-wonder. I think handheld gaming is following the trend toward multi-purpose machines. Apple has simply put together a better system for supporting that kind of platform. If Sony doesn’t make some changes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see PSP sales plateau in the next 2 years.

Source: WSJ

Analyst Ben Schachter thinks GTA may have peaked

Grand Theft Auto logo.Grand Theft Auto is one of the most iconic gaming franchises of our time. Few games have sparked so furious social debate while maintaining incredible sales and garnering legions of followers. One analyst thinks we’ve finally seen the series peak, though. Ben Schachter wonders if the lackluster sales of content like the Liberty City DLC and the handheld Chinatown aren’t the death rattle of Take Two’s little baby.

…we must raise an even bigger question: has the Grand Theft Auto franchise peaked? Given the strength of GTA IV in 2008, the question may seem misplaced, but our concern is that the very highly rated new GTA content for Xbox as well as PSP and DS did not perform up to expectations in 2009. Now, we very clearly understand that these do not represent ‘true’ new GTA titles. However, the fact is that these were compelling titles, attractively priced, and reasonably well-promoted, yet they fell relatively flat. We do not mean to pour salt on an open wound, but this does raise questions about the strength of TTWO’s crown jewel. It is an issue we will monitor closely (we also note that we expect increased competition in the open-world action genre in 2010 and beyond).

He goes on to consider the underwhelming financial report, raising questions about whether or not Take Two can turn a profit without a GTA release. Sure, Rockstar has some strong titles, like Borderlands and Bioshock, but those aren’t the kind of games people are spending as much time in as GTA, making it more likely that you’ll see second hand buyers over the seemingly ubiquitous purchasing of a GTA title.

Source: Industry Gamers

DSi LL outsells PSPgo

DSi LL next to a normal DSi.The DSi LL launched in Japan two days ago and is already reporting strong sales. According to Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, the plus-size version of the Nintendo DSi moved more than 103,000 units on the first day.

Those aren’t incredible sales, but they’re good for a cosmetic update of the popular handheld. The DSi’s original launch sold 170,000 units in the same amount of time in Japan. The PSPgo, which like the DSi LL is more of a cosmetic update, sold just 28,000 units in that same amount of time in Japan.

There’s still no word on the DSi XL launch date for the US (first quarter 2010 is all I’ve heard), but I’d imagine sales here will remain strong. The fact that the system comes with three games pre-installed is nice, and in the case of handhelds, most people prefer a larger screen.

PSP Go already on sale

PSP Go.Usually when a console debuts you can expect prices to remain stable for a while. The hype of the console sells it, usually at just about any price. The PSP Go, on the other hand, is already on sale at Fry’s for $199.

The price drop confirms that profit margins must be pretty wide on Sony’s new portable. Not too many people are buy the thing, and there isn’t exactly the same expected software revenue as other portables, so taking a loss really doesn’t make sense. With so few purchasers, it seems like Fry’s is just trying to be the only retailer to sell out of the device before the holiday season hits.

The deal is only good in-store until the 22nd, and may not be available everywhere so be sure to call ahead.

PSP Go piles on the headaches

sony_psp_go_headacheFor all I thought was wrong with the design of and idea behind the PSP Go, Sony almost talked me out of my disbelief. I thought maybe, just maybe, the 10-year plan was something I just couldn’t understand. Turns out it’s just that, something I don’t and will likely never understand, and something that just isn’t working.

The PSP Go has launched to mediocre reviews, which is no surprise considering it’s essentially an aesthetic overhaul. But Sony has also botched the launch, with several features not working as expected and a long update system before the device can even be used. As Destructoid’s Jim Sterling experienced, “I have been in my house for an hour… an hour… and I have done nothing but download, rip, copy, install, update, install, rip, copy, install, install and install.” That’s a hell of a first experience to give user, most of whom are likely among Sony’s most loyal customers. The people buying the PSP Go at launch aren’t likely to be the people who’ve never owned one or even thought about one. They’re the ones interested in or committed to the platform.

To make matters worse, Sony also failed to deliver on a launch promo for European customers. If you bought a PSP overseas, Sony also gave you a voucher to download your choice of three games for free. Unfortunately those downloads were locked to the device on which they were downloaded. That means no transferring from your PS3 to your shiny new PSP – again, a big problem for Sony’s loyal few. As things stand, the problem still hasn’t been resolved, so a lot of players are stuck with unplayable games sitting on PS3 hard drives.

On top of it all Sony killed the UMD trade-in program, which really could have changed things for the PSP Go. A cosmetic upgrade is a fine thing when it allows for the use of old media. By not giving PSP owners a method by which to upgrade to the new device, Sony again screwed it’s most profitable population – the hardcore loyalists.

I’m sorry Sony fans, but if there’s one message buried just below the surface in all of this it’s that Sony doesn’t want you. Sony thinks it can survive without you. It’s another plan I’ll gladly admit I don’t understand, and probably never will.

Uncharted 2 could migrate to the PSP

Uncharted 2.I’m pretty pissed that Uncharted 2 is only available on the PS3. I’m never going to own one, no matter how cheap it gets, but I really want to play the game. There was a ray of hope for me this weekend when Naughty Dog’s co-prez Evan Wells said he’d like to see the game expand beyond the PS3. What he meant was the PSP, another console I will never EVER own.

The interview is pretty good, though. Wells talks about continued support for the game through DLC, the development process that could turn Uncharted 2 into the most played game on the PSN. At the end of the interview Evan Wells was pushed for answers about a Jack & Daxter sequel for the PS3. He wouldn’t say anything definite, but he made it clear that the company is committed to J&D in the future.

Source: Examiner

Sony Really Wants The PSP Go To Fail

PSP UMD disc.When Sony first announced the PSP Go, I decried the lack of a UMD drive. The nonexistent feature meant existing collections of PSP games could not be used on the new device. Then there was hope. Sony announced plans to implement a “good will” program by which PSP owners with UMD discs would be able to get a digital copy for use with the PSP Go.

Well it looks like that’s not going to happen. “We were evaluating a UMD conversion program, but due to legal and technical reasons we will not be offering the program at this time,” an SCEA spokesperson said today. The change makes the “upgrade” even less appealing for its October 1st launch.

PSP Go Domain Owner Gets Spiteful

Pspgo.co.uk isn't what you'd think.I’d say the number of people who try to guess at domain names are few and far between these days. Google’s become a household name, and with that comes the expectation that when you’re looking for something, you’ll probably look there first. That didn’t stop the owner of pspgo.co.uk from getting a little spiteful with his domain address.

Doesn’t look much like a PSP Go page, now does it? That’s actually a clone of Nintendo’s DSi site. While the owner hasn’t officially come out and said it, it seems likely that someone is a little pissed he hasn’t been offered a fat wad of cash for the site.

You will of course notice that there is no site for pspgo.com and I’d call it a watertight bet that Sony just doesn’t care about having direct traffic from pspgo.co.uk. If someone is really dying to get their hands on a PSP Go (they’re barking up the wrong tree here), I’m sure, and it seems so is Sony, that the individual in question will resort to other means.

Sony Considered Second Analog Stick for the PSP Go

The PSP Go hands-on.Stories like this make me want to smack someone at Sony. Hard. Preferably on or around the mouth. In the most recent issue of Game Informer, Sony executive Shuhei Yoshida said the company had “a very serious discussion” about adding a second analog stick to the PSP Go but decided against it for fear of splintering the market.

Judging by the latest NPD numbers, that was a totally brilliant strategy. Nintendo’s DS sold more than 4 times as many units as the PSP, which came in at a meager 163,500. I’m not sure why you would be so concerned about splintering the market when you’re actually losing it. And for what? To stick to the 10-year plan for all consoles? That’s what Yoshida says.

“We are talking about the mid-life cycle of this platform,” he told Game Informer. I’ve got news for Yoshida – you might not make it to the end. Ignoring your customer base is a sure way to produce abysmal sales numbers. If the PSP keeps tracking as is, the next five years will be one ugly ride.

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