The Brass Tacks:
There is little question as to which handheld console won the sales war this generation. Nintendo has announced that the DS has now sold over 47 million units in the United States, beating out the PS2 to become the best selling console in US history. As of the most recent data available, worldwide, the DS has sold more than 135 million units, while the PSP has sold over 62 million (17 million in the USA).
The lower sales of the PSP are attributed to a number of factors. The DS, with its innovative touchscreen control, has more mass appeal than the more-traditional PSP. The PSP has also been more expensive than the DS in every iteration, ending with the PSP Go costing almost as much as the PS3, and selling quite poorly. Sony's marketing for the PSP, which has largely revolved around claiming that the DS is for little kids and the PSP is for "big boys," has also failed to resonate with the public.
In the end, although the PSP is a good machine that deserves more attention than it has received, it's hard to argue with the brass tacks. This generation, the DS has dominated not only the handheld market, but the entire console market. While much ado was made of the battle between the PS3, 360, and Wii, the DS quietly outsold them all, and the PSP lagged far behind.
As of this writing, the next generation of handheld consoles appears to be Nintendo's to lose. The 3DS is earning rave reviews at conventions and trade shows, both for its 3D imagery and its impressive-looking launch library. Meanwhile, Sony has been playing the PSP's successor close to the chest. The device has only appeared in private meetings, and Sony is said to be working on problems with heat management, power consumption, and battery life before showing the device to the public.
Will the 3DS work as well as advertised and spread far and wide as the DS did, or will Sony pull out a surprise console with greater mass appeal? While the DS has conquered this generation's handheld market, the coming generation looks exciting, and portable gamers may be in for a wild ride.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*