Denki News

April 3, 2007

Why the DS outsells the PSP

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 4:03 pm

Why does the DS outsell the PSP? Lots of people have theories. They say there aren’t enough good games (something that a glance at the top rated games for each system will disprove). Or maybe they say it’s too expensive. And people will go on about how innovative DS games are in comparison with many PSP games. But the reality is that most people play crap like Hannah Montana DS or the Suite Life of Zach and Cody. It’s not the quality of the games that makes the real difference here. I think the answer is simple. At least to some extent, Sony misread the portable game market.

A huge number of Game Boy owners were kids. Why? Because the system was affordable, portable, and under their complete control. And of course, this also led to a lot of games being produced that appealed to kids. Nintendo pretty much kept this up with the DS (although it was originally a little on the large and pricey side compared to the Game Boy).

Sony on the other hand, went a different way. They priced their portable machine well out of the reach of most kids, and made games that were not very accessible to them as well. $40 for a game is a lot of money for a kid, and with a few exceptions, the PSP just doesn’t have the kind of games that kids like. Even games that should be kid friendly, like LocoRoco, are actually a bit on the hard side. The result is that the PSP is a system mostly for older teens and adults. Contrast this with the DS, which can be enjoyed by BOTH young kids and adults. Maybe Sony thought that the market for high-end portables with multimedia capabilities was higher than it actually was. Maybe they overestimated the appeal of playing console-style games on a portable. But I think it’s clear that alienating children as a market was a mistake.

In short, I think the biggest reason behind the difference in sales between the two systems is simply that the PSP just isn’t very kid-friendly. In fact, if you removed kids from the equation, it wouldn’t surprise me if the two systems were nearly even in sales. It’s possible that the decision to target an older market was the correct one to make, however. If Sony had tried to compete directly with Nintendo for kids’ gaming dollars, they might have failed miserably rather than becoming a respectable second-place player in the portable gaming market.

Thoughts? (I personally prefer the PSP to the DS, but I think Nintendo did a lot of things right in marketing the DS.)

March 24, 2007

Folding@Home: PS3s beating all other platforms combined

Filed under: Technology, Video Games — icruise @ 1:59 am

A couple of days ago, Sony released version 1.6 of the PS3 software, which included the ability to run the Folding@Home client. Folding@Home is a project run by Stanford university that uses the combined power of thousands of computers to perform calculations that would otherwise take expensive supercomputers months or even years to complete. The data is part of research on curing diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s (more information can be found in this CNN article). The amazing thing is that since the PS3 has been added to the mix, it has quickly pulled ahead of all other platforms. As of this writing, it had almost twice as many TFLOPS as all of the other platforms combined. That’s about 19,000 PS3s beating out about 200,000 other computers! I’m currently letting my PS3 fold when it’s not in use and I suggest anyone who has one do the same.

EDIT: Just to be fair, it has been pointed out to me that the PS3 and PC clients aren’t doing precisely the same thing. The PS3 is a lot faster than the PC at the work that it is being given, but the PC is doing some calculations that the PS3 can’t do.

January 14, 2007

Is the PS3 really overpriced?

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 11:11 am


If you spend any time at all discussing the next-gen consoles, someone is bound to bring up the idea that the PS3 is overpriced. But is that really the case? There’s no mistaking the fact that it’s expensive — too expensive, in fact for many people to afford. But of course that’s also true of the Xbox 360. It’s too bad that this generation of game consoles (with the exception of the Wii) seems to be out of reach of so many. I think this is a big reason why the portable systems and the PS2 are so popular. But is the PS3 really overpriced? (More after the jump.)

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January 10, 2007

A quick next-gen system comparison from someone who owns all three

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 3:09 pm

I suppose having all of the consoles in a particular generation isn’t that unusual, but it’s also true that most people only buy one console (and maybe one portable). So I thought I would write something from the perspective of someone who has owned and used all of the next-gen systems. I have a longer piece on the back burner examining each of the consoles in detail, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get the time to finish it, so I thought I’d go ahead and get this abbreviated version out while it’s still topical. (More after the jump.)

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December 12, 2006

And the top-selling video game system for November is…

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 9:11 am

This article at Next-Generation gives the sales figures for video games in November:

PS3: 197,000 units
Nintendo Wii: 476,000 units
Xbox 360: 511,000 units
PS2: 664,000 units

Obviously the PS3 and Wii sales are constrained by supply — they’ve both sold out completely. The interesting news here is that the PS2 is actually the top selling home console. I think its price — about half that of the next cheapest console (the Wii) — is a major factor, combined with its unmatched game library.

Sales of portables were as follows:

PSP: 412,000 units
DS: 918,000 units

Obviously the DS is doing very well, but the PSP’s sales are also very respectable, having increased almost 50% from the same time last year. One thing the article doesn’t mention is Game Boy Advance sales. I’m very interested to know how many GBA SPs and Micros were sold. I’m sure it’s in the hundreds of thousands of units, despite the fact that the system is clearly in its last days.

EDIT: This article has an interesting paragraph that answers my question:

“Nintendo hardware outsold all others combined. Nintendo sold 476,000 Wiis, 918,000 Nintendo DS portables, 641,000 Game Boy Advance handhelds and 64,000 GameCube consoles that have them selling 2.1 million of the 3.9 million systems purchased for the month.”

December 4, 2006

The PS3 Wall of Shame (eBay scalpers)

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 6:57 pm

eBay has made some special rules for people selling their PS3s at auction. For one thing, you need a picture of the console in your possession and a picture of the receipt as well. Obviously, this is to prevent people from selling imaginary PS3s, but it has had the interesting side effect of giving us a glimpse into the lives of the people who are selling the machines. This thread on Cheapassgamer.com (free registration required) shows dozens of the more interesting pictures that people have posted with their auctions.

An incredible number of people have bought these consoles with the sole intention of selling them on eBay, and you can see this in some of the pictures. A lot of them are clearly not gamers, and you have to wonder how some of them scraped together the money get the PS3 they are selling. Many people included their kids in the picture, perhaps in an attempt to appear likeable, or to convince buyers that they need the money. There are almost as many that include partially clad (or even apparently naked) women holding the PS3. And a surprising number include sob stories about needing to pay for school, bills, or other expenses. Many of these people have set very high starting points for their auctions, such as $50,000 or $100,000, apparently hoping that some rich person with a soft heart will take pity on them.

Finally, one thing that is striking about these photos is that so many people have more than one system. Some people have as many as 10 (see above). Selling one system doesn’t seem so bad, but it’s people like this who are just making the PS3 supply situation worse than it already is. Ironically, these people’s dreams of striking it rich are probably just that — dreams. Although there was a short period right after the PS3’s launch on the 17th of November when people were getting $2000-$3000 for a PS3, prices have now decreased to the point where you’re likely to only make $200-$300. Not exactly a great reward for camping out for days in front of a store.

November 20, 2006

Call of Duty 3 screenshot comparison Wii vs. Xbox 360

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 6:17 pm

Yes, this is an unfair fight, but this kind of comparison is rather eye-opening. Here are screenshots from similar places in the Call of Duty 3 on both the Xbox 360 and the Wii (thanks, Gamespot). I didn’t include the PS3 since it should be about identical to the Xbox 360. The difference is startling. These aren’t the exact same places in the game, but I’ve chosen shots that seem similar to one another in terms of their content.

I’m not doing this to bash the Wii (I like a lot about it and I think the games made specifically for the system should be good) but cross-platform games like Call of Duty 3 really do seem to suffer on the Wii. (Pictures after the jump.) (more…)

Turn your Slurpee into Wii

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 4:32 pm

7-11 is apparently doing a tie-in with the Wii where you can get a chance to win a Nintendo Wii when you buy a Slurpee (and they even have a flavor called Strawberrwii Banana). But the real news is their slogan. I’m a little surprised Nintendo went along with this (assuming they had any input). I do like the Slurpee shaped Wiimote, though. It’s also the first time I realized that “Slurpee” has the word “pee” in the name…

I can’t decide whether it’s cool of Nintendo to be tongue-in-cheek with their product name or just stupid.

Click the image above for the full-sized view. The original ad was in the December issue of EGM magazine.

November 11, 2006

The darker side of the PS3 launch

Filed under: Japan, Video Games — icruise @ 8:22 pm

Kotaku has an excellent article written by a reader about the recent PS3 launch in Japan. Most of the coverage I have seen has focused on the long lines of people waiting in front of the stores but what I didn’t realize is that a large portion of the people waiting there are actually Chinese nationals who are being paid to stand in line and purchase the machines. The people who pay them are presumably going to sell the PS3s for a profit.

Similar things are going on in the US, with more people buying the systems to sell them at auction than to play them. It’s easy to blame the people doing this, but I guess in the end they are just responding to the situation that Sony has created. 400,000 units for North America? Only 80,000 units for Japan? Madness.

Foreigners And Fights, PS3 JPN Launch’s Dark Side [Kotaku.com]

November 6, 2006

Want a PS3 a few days early? Don’t have a preorder at all? No problem…

Filed under: Bargains, Video Games — icruise @ 9:00 am

Play-Asia has just offered up the Japanese version of the Playstation 3 for preorder. The price for the 60GB model is $999 and the 20GB is $899. This is a hefty markup over the retail prices of $599 and $499, respectively, but given how hard it is to get a preorder for these things, and the fact that they will probably go for closer to $2000 on eBay just after launch, it’s actually not such a bad deal. (Yes-Asia.com is trying to sell the same thing for $1899!) You may even get it a little early, since Japan is having their PS3 release on November 11th instead of the 17th (admittedly, shipping time will probably most of that up).

The only thing you need to consider is that while the system language can be set to English and PS3 games and Blueray movies will play without problems (PS3 games are region free and Japan and the US are the same region under the Blueray specs), this console won’t be able to play normal DVDs, PS1 and PS2 games from the US.

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