According to Sony – well, its UK MD Jim Maguire, to be precise – the PSP will win out over the iPhone 3G as a gaming console.
That may well be the case, but the fact that Maguire – and Nintendo’s UK General Manager David Yarnton – have felt moved to depreciate the high profile new kid on the gaming block is indicative of the sense of unease felt by the games console giants as Apple encroaches on their turf.
While the iPhone is not a dedicated games device, the gaming experience is far superior to that offered by previous mobile handsets. Hence the fact that, despite the iPhone’s relatively lowly share of the handset market, it is generating by far the largest share of game downloads – and that once downloaded, consumers play those games far more often than with games on other handsets.
Thus, unless you are a dedicated gamer, the iPhone 3G will more than meet your gaming needs. Furthermore, at a time when discretionary spend levels are under pressure, consumers will be in less of a position to purchase both a high-end handset and a high-end gaming device: and given the fact that the iPhone 3G is so much more than a games console and ticks a lot more boxes than the PSP (Play music! Make phone calls! Browse the Internet! IM your friends! Etc!) then that discretionary spend may well be going to Apple rather than to Sony or Nintendo.
Which is why, despite Sony’s protestations that they are not the slightest bit concerned with the rise of the iPhone, they are increasingly augmenting their core catalogue with the kind of “snacking” games most prevalent in the cellular game environment.
Just to cover their back, you understand.