8 Reasons the PSP Will NEVER, EVER Overtake the DS

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Our own pantsing expert Jason Chen recently wrote up 8 Reasons Why The PSP Might Overtake the DS. It was a fascinating article with some worthwhile arguments. But alas, he was completely, entirely wrong. Jason's logic is the consumer electronic equivalent of Zeno's Paradox, perfect in theory...but clearly fallible in real world testing. So here are my 8 reasons the Sony PSP (though a great handheld system), will never, ever take over the might Nintendo DS.

• PSP Slim sold more in first two months only because DS Lite couldn't.The PSP-2000 may have reinvigorated the platform, with Sony shipping 2 million units in the first two months. And that's impressive, especially since total DS figures were only 1,828,621 over the same period of time. The difference? Nintendo didn't sell/ship more because they were out of hardware—DSs were sold out everywhere. And it didn't start with the DS Lite, either. From hardware importer Play Asia at the DS launch:

Hardware supply of the Nintendo DS™ has been tight since end of 2005, most shops were completely sold out for weeks and once supply arrived, all units were sold out like hot cakes. When Nintendo announced the new Nintendo DS™ Lite in the end of January, everyone was hoping for a hold back and increased supply upon release of the improved hardware...


• As long as we're talking about sales, the DS has topped 40 million units worldwide. Sony has, respectably, reached 25 million. Both numbers look big, but remember, Nintendo already has a nearly 2:1 lead. And that's plenty of breathing room when you...

• Nintendo has the one-two brand punch of Wii, which is the leading home console in the world. Since its launch, the Nintendo Wii has not been outsold for a month worldwide ever by the Xbox 360 or PS3. There's simply no stronger brand right now in video games than Nintendo.


• The PSP doesn't offer an alternative experience so the PSP will inherently always battle the PlayStation brand for market share. What do I mean? The PSP is exactly what it promises to be: a portable PlayStation. And while that's great, the lack of a different interface on the PSP means that other than its portable nature, there is little gaming-wise drawing consumers to the product. In other words, Sony is essentially selling oranges and smaller oranges. Nintendo, in its two screens and use of touch, is selling oranges and apples. While this was a gamble originally, the public likes the unique taste of both flavors of gaming. Buying a Wii cannot replace the experience of buying a DS, or vice versa. So people are more tempted to buy both.

• The DS supports more than just the DS through backward compatibility. Sure, the PSP is great at playing PSP games. But with the DS, Nintendo took a lesson from Sony's PS2 and made their portable compatible with Game Boy Advance titles (GBA). Is it a huge deal? Maybe not. But one thing's for sure: backwards compatibility never hurt a console's sales, especially when it supported such a large library.


• DS games sell better. Way better. Let's turn away from consoles sold for a minute and look at the software moved—a stat just as important for the success of a platform. The PSP has no titles whatsoever in the top 100 of all time video game sales charts. Their best selling title is Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories which has moved a meager 4.5 million units...at least when compared to the success of the DS. From my count, the DS has 8 titles in the top 100 charts, with Nintendogs breaking the top 10 with 15.41 million copies sold worldwide. And it's not the only title to move more than 10 million copies. Oh, and Mario and Pokemon and case closed.

• The casual market is the real deal. Whether you love it or hate it, casual gaming exists and it's big. We've seen estimates as high as $2.5 billion a year (even if that number is a little questionable). Bottom line: the DS attracts both casual and "hardcore" gamers. Does the PSP do the same? I don't think so.


• The DS just had the most successful week in history with Black Friday. Nintendo moved 653,000 DS units, the most consoles in one week ever.


So while the PSP is a wonderful machine and probably doesn't get enough credit—honestly, it looks like two handhelds can get by just fine in this market—the PSP is not dethroning the DS. Sorry, it's just not happening (see above). But a future PSP2 or PSPP or whatever? Who knows? Sony has done pretty well during their first foray in the portable industry.


[all sales data taken from vgchartz]