I HAD to write about this. Someone sent me a link to IGN that reports that Sony just announced a Portable Playstation. All I can say is, IT’S ABOUT TIME!
They did exactly what they should. A 1.8 gig 3″ diameter disc, much like a Gamecube. They can fit an entire PSOne game on a disc, even a 2-disc game. Awesome. They can repackage PS1 games for an instant library of titles, then make new ones. All on familiar technology – I bet the PSp will have the same, or near same, dev kit as the PSOne. A backlit screen! Right off the bat – no waiting a year to make you buy the unit twice (yes I did just type that) Interacts with other things, such as cell phones. USB2 support. The list goes on…
And the end result?
I love Nintendo. I played my NES to death. I was still playing Perfect Dark on the N64 when Timesplitters came out. I wanted the Gamecube to succeed because I thought it was cool. Having said all that, I do believe this is the death toll for the Big N. At least for them being a hardware company.
Slowly they are being beaten on all fronts. The Genesis gave them a run for their money. Then the Playstation outsold them. They had big hits like Goldeneye, then Rare left them. Now they’re squeaking by on units, a mere fraction of what Sony sells. Their big games are lucky to sell a million copies these days.
They are becoming the next Atari.
Resting too much on their laurels, the Gameboy is to Nintendo what the Atari 800/2600 was to Atari. (I consider the Gamecube a non-factor) Atari tweaked the 800 computer to build the 5200 game system. The 7800 had the same processor as the 800 computer, the same sound processor as the 2600 (2 stinking channels!?) and its fabled “Maria” chip is just a slightly upgraded ANTIC chip, also found on the 800. (I may be a little off in my tech but it’s close enough to make a point). Then, in 1987, Atari tweaked the 800 again to build the XE Game System.
Old tech, new box. Older tech, newer box. Is that so much different than the Gameboy? A Gameboy Advance is no more “advanced” than maybe a 1991-era game system. Ok, it’s got as faster processor but where’s the polygon support? By not ‘advancing’ the Gameboy Advance enough because they didn’t need to (since they had, as the Afterburner guys put it, a “portable monopoly”) they have retro-actively shot themselves in the foot.