The Philip Rational:
The War Machine (Springs to Life) Part 4.
-By Philip Wesley-
-Presented by DMG
-May contain harsh language-
-Presented 03/07/2005-

I am starting to get sick of people (read: idiots) saying that Nintendo is DOOOOOOMED because the PSP is currently moving a good amount of units. Is Nintendo really doomed? Remember when Nintendo announced the Nintendo DS? Does anyone remember what Iwata said? The exact quote was "People ask if the Nintendo DS and the new competiting product will affect the 99.9% portable market share that the Nintendo Game Boy Advance currently enjoys. Well, it can't really go up can it?"

And he is absolutely right. If I consult the Media Create Hardware Sales for the week of the 21st to 27th of February, this is how the portable market is broken down. I'm removing the none portables, like the the Play Station 2, Game Cube, and Xbox.
  1. PSP         - 41,867 units
  2. DS          - 26,761
  3. GBA SP - 11,124
  4. GBA       -      341 (This product has been discontinued.)
If you add up all the Nintendo portables, it would appear to be like this:
  1. Sony        - 41,867
  2. Nintendo - 38,226
Looks horrible, does it not? I mean, if you were an idiot, you would say: "OMG! Nintendo is OWN3D! PSP 4 LIFE!!!!!!!!!!1" But my readers are not idiots. Let us look at the total sales for 2005, so far.
  1. PSP         - 442,536
  2. DS          - 354,803
  3. GBA SP - 159,850
  4. GBA       -     4,762
Does it still look bad? Let us go ahead and add up the math and see how badly Nintendo's handhelds are doing.
  1. Nintendo - 519,415
  2. Sony     - 442,536
That is where the overall market stands in Japan. Let us look at the totals since the inception of JUST the Nintendo DS and JUST the Sony PSP in JUST Japan.
  1. DS  - 1,850,401
  2. PSP -   924,788
"But that's not fair to Sony! They launched with less units and a week later than the Nintendo DS!" That would be the point, folks. If Sony had "won" the war, then -even with that one week difference- Sony would have already surpassed the DS in terms of units sold. Calling the war for any side is a little hasty right now.

Sony is playing catch-up in PSP unit sales and that is to be expected. What is currently happening is that Nintendo and Sony are building a USER BASE. The user base in Japan for the Nintendo DS is already higher than that of the PSP and that bodes well for game sales. Until just recently, no PSP title was able to crack the top three in video game sales. Oddly enough, it was a port of an old RPG called Popocropolis and could have very well been on the GBA as far as graphics were concerned. It broke into the top 2 on a week when the biggest selling title was a brand new PS2 Dragon Ball Z game. Popocropolis sold a grand total of 33,759 units on it's first week of sales. Compare that with the recent DS release Another Code and its first week sales of 59,346 units. Remember that both companies lose money on the hardware and gain money on sales of software. In terms of software sales, Nintendo is still complaining that DS software sales are slow in Japan.. even though they have completely smoked the PSP in software without fail. Since the release of the PSP, the Sony unit has had less than five titles even crack the Top Ten in terms of sales. The DS has had most of its launch line-up sell through rather well and it has breached the top 3 in software sales several times. Both Super Mario 64 DS, and Wario Ware Touched! have sold over 600,000 plus units in Japan alone. Not bad for a company that is "losing." I expect Tales of Eternia to be the next PSP game to reach into the Top 3.

It appears that Nintendo plans to segment the handheld industry. If Nintendo wanted to, they could have put full backwards compatability with their GB line into the Nintendo DS, lowered the price by a few hundred Yen and we would not even be having this conversation on sales. IF Nintendo wanted us to consider the DS as a GB successor.. the total sales would look like THIS for 2004.
  1. Nintendo - 4,344,036
  2. Sony        -    482,252

Good thing that the Nintendo DS is just a "third pillar!" Just for fun, let us add all of Sony's unit sales for the PSP, PS2, and PS One into one lump sum and compare it to JUST Nintendo's handheld sales.
  1. Nintendo - 4,344,036
  2. Sony        - 3,395,189
Just for giggles, let us throw in Nintendo's "Game Cube" (726,640) into this fray.
  1. Nintendo - 5,070,676
  2. Sony        - 3,395,189
That is total unit sales in Japan for 2004. (SARCASM) It certainly seems like Nintendo is DOOMED. (END SARCASM) Will the end of 2005 look any different? Well, yes. Sony has discontinued their PSOne line and the PS2 will see a dramatic sales dip once the PS3 is introduced to the market. Depending on how E3 goes, Microsoft may bite a huge chunk out of the PS3 sales with their Xbox 360 unit. The fact that Microsoft has support and 2 RPGs coming from the creator of Final Fantasy bodes well for the unit. SquareEnix is also supposed to announce about FIVE Xbox 360 games at E3. The real thing to ask is: "Is Sony Computer Entertainment DOOOOOOMED!!!!1??" If Microsoft delivers a cheaper unit than Sony? Maybe.. There are over 125+ titles in development for the Xbox 360. Microsoft intends to make Howard Stringer eat their shorts. Should be an interesting E3. Is it just me, or is Howard Stringer - the guy who failed to create a place for Sony in the online market by authorizing sueing fans and then decided the best way to maintain sales was to introduce a new proprietary format every few months- the wrong person for the job? I guess Sony has chosen Howard Stringer (A John Kerry-esque sack of crapfully crapful crap) because Ken Kutaragi (Sony's Howard Dean) is an embarassment to the human race in general? "Mistakes? NEVER! OUR HANDHELD IS PERFECTION! PERFECTION! ANY ERRORS ARE THE FAULT OF THE CONSUMERS!! YEAAAARRRGH!"

Back to handhelds, Nintendo and Sony are fragmenting the market. This appears to where the market is going right now.
  • Game Boy    = Games
  • Nintendo DS = Experimental Software & games
  • Sony PSP    = Multi-Media & games
Nintendo recently announced software like Nintendogs and Electroplankton. These types of software could be done on other systems: Nintendogs was originally a Game Cube game. However, they could only be done well on the Nintendo DS. The point of Electroplankton is to manipulate lights and sounds via touch and voice interfacing for the creation of music and color spectrum shows. Imagine trying to do that with the PSP which has no built in microphone or touch screen. You would have to manipulate a cursor and click on items using the analogue stick. No where near as accurate or as compelling as actually touching the unit. Electroplankton is an example of experimental software. It really would not work the way it is intended to on anything else. The PSP is aimed at multi-media units. The purpose of the PSP appears to be as an attack on other digital audio players and personal video players. That said, the Game Boy appears to be the only unit focused squarely on games. The Game Boy will continue to do well this year and with good reason. Here is a small look at five awesome must have titles for the Game Boy Advance that are out this year, as well as a bit on that "Next Game Boy Unit" rumor going around.

The Five MUST HAVE (Yet not obvious) games of 2005.

Riviera: The Promised Land - You were expecting me to mention Wario Ware Twisted! or Pokemon Emerald? Those are going to be hot, but I think that Riviera will be a pretty hot title in itself. The game has an odd engine to it that focuses a bit more on storyline. It does has some sweet storyline though. RPG gameplay with a heavy story is always welcome in the United States.

Sigma Star Saga - This better have the Wayforward Walk in it. Wayforward Technologies gave the Game Boy Color an Xtreme Sports RPG that totally pushed the abilities of the GBC. If I told you I was not expecting their Namco published Space Shooter RPG to be hot, I would be lying. It may not have the sales that some of the other must haves on this list will: But you should buy it. It will completely rock your socks and share its ice cream with you. It's from the people who gave us SHANTAE. So, preorder this one.

Tales of Phantasia - Nintendo swears this is coming here from Namco. The game is a remake of the old Super Nintendo game and it features a minute intro song as well as some sweet music and graphics. The gameplay is classic RPG goodness with lots of groovy mode 7 style graphics. Noting that most of the games listed here are RPGs, you and I both know the GBA is going strong with an EPIC BANG.

Fire Emblem 2: The Sacred Stones - While not really the second one, this is pretty much what people will refer to the game as. The original Fire Emblem was beautiful goodness from the Advance Wars people. New characters, a deep storyline, great music, and epic combat. This is teh cool. It is like am emblem of pure awesomeness, but on FIRE.

Mega Man Zero 4 - The fourth part of Capcom's robotic samurai epic is tied with the fifth installment in their Battle Network game series as one of the hottest titles this year. Expect a dark storyline coupled with loads of frantic action and sword slashing goodness as new threats, new characters, and new allies join the fight. Ceil is watching!

The amount of titles we can expect to see is actually quite good: Expect a slimy game from SquareEnix to be shown at E3 and Nintendo still has F-Zero Climax, DK: King of Swing, Earthbound Collection, Earthbound 2 (Mother 3), and a few surprises a E3. Like NES Classic Series 3...

"I keep hearing rumors about a new Game Boy unit and I am concerned!" I will address the Game Boy Next this following week. But for now, I will address what is on a lot of peoples minds: "Is Nintendo just going to release an update to the GBA SP?"

I think they need to. The Game Boy Advance SP is a great device, don't get me wrong, but the ability to improve what is already there is vast. A few of the "improvements" being touted are as follows.
  1. A screen similar to the DS screen - I whole-heartedly support the idea of giving the Game Boy Advance SP a sharper screen like the one for the DS. This would be the best thing they could do for the system as it currently has the worst screen on the market in the handheld world. Well, the Wonder Swan Crystal has the worst screen, but between the DS, PSP, Zodiac, Gizmondo, and the GBA SP; the battle is clear. New screen, PLEASE.
  2. Slicker clamshell design - While not needed, this would be like giving racing ridges to a car. Sure your car may run well, but why NOT make it look even better?
  3. Actual Headphone Output - We have all wanted this, and Nintendo would be nice/wise to give it to us.
  4. Integrated Play-Yan - While this would be interesting to see, it would add a little bit of thickness to the unit. If this was implemented into the unit, the previous three ideas would HAVE to be implemented into it. A multi-media capable GBA model priced at a low cost would hurt the other multi-media console. All that would need to be added is the ability to browse pictures in the unit. Since it uses the more universal standard SD Cards, instead of Sony's non-standard Memory Stick Pro Duo, the advantage is already there. People could take the SD card from their camera directly and view images on a GBA. That is pretty handy to have. Considering that 1GB and 2GB SD cards cost less than HALF the price of a Memory Stick PRO Duo and are assured to work on the Play-Yan endowed unit.
  5. Integrated Wireless - This would be nice, but really is not needed. I think the current wireless adaptors are fine and there are not too many games that use the device as it currently stands.
Well, there you have it folks! See you next week!.

-Editorial by Philip Wesley-
-Sources: Media Create, Nintendo
-Property of