For anyone who follows video game news, you’ve probably heard of the name Michael Pachter before. Mr. Pachter is a well known analyst who frequently comments on the goings on in the industry, tries (and quite often fails) at predicting future events and sales, and offers his insight into the future of gaming.
He recently took a bit of a jab at Sony and their PSP strategy, and claimed that the PSP2 was likely to be DOA if it came to its upcoming gun fight with the Nintendo 3DS toting a plastic knife. Or rather, sporting a normal, run of the mill, non-3D screen (though one that should offer stunning clarity and unrivaled handheld graphics).
While there’s always something to be said for new tech, I have to disagree with his assumption in this instance. Let’s face it, the PSP2 is going to face an uphill battle against the 3DS, with or without a 3D screen, regardless of their game library, and regardless of the price they come to market at. Nintendo simply has that good of a track record with handhelds that it gives them a tangible advantage before the party even gets started. And they’ve certainly not lost any momentum leading up to the 3DS’s release. The DS is still going strong, and the buzz around the 3DS has been even stronger.
So it’s doubtful that not having a 3D screen will overly impact sales of the PSP2. In fact it could be a blessing. Utilizing the same strategy as Nintendo would serve little purpose. They were first with the 3D announcement, and they’ll be first to market with their new handheld. By the time the PSP2 comes around, the whole 3D handheld gaming thing will be old news.
The Price Needs to be Right
As Mr. Pachter added, price is an issue (with the PSP, and presumably the PSP2 as well). Which begs the question why he thinks avoiding high priced 3D technology is a bad thing. The PSP2 should now have a very real opportunity to come to the table with a superior technological product, and be able to sell it for a very similar price point as the 3DS (which is likely to retail for $250). The lack of pricing parity was undoubtedly what helped push DS sales in comparison to the more costly PSP, and that may no longer be the case in the next handheld war.
As for their strategy, I think Sony’s strategy is quite clear; offer the superior handheld gaming experience and portable entertainment hub. While I won’t call 3D a gimmick, as it’s clearly the future of display technology, I think it is gimmicky, in the sense that it’s new, and the casual user is going to want to experience it. That’s the crowd Nintendo is aiming to corral. Likewise, that is not Sony’s target audience, nor should it be.
I think Sony can and should be content to stick to their vision, make a great product, and make as much money as they can from it, and if it winds up trailing the 3DS in sales, so be it. There’s room for two different and profitable handhelds on the market.
So what do you think? Should the PSP2 come equipped with a 3D screen, and would you be willing to pay more to have one? Or would you rather have a superior system minus the 3D screen? Will no 3D ruin sales of the PSP2? We want to hear what you think, so let us know in the comments.