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back to article iPhone to whup Sony PSP 2

The head of a casual gaming giant reckons Sony's upcoming NGP - aka the 'PSP 2' - will be "dead on arrival" and claims it will never match up to the might of iOS. Neil Young, CEO of games publisher Ngmoco, said the PSP successor will find it "difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications …

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FAIL

good enough vs. carrying around more things

iOS provides good enough gaming *without* having to carry around yet another rechargeable item. Also games for 0.59p are hard to beat. Sony might get some die-hard fans, but i think they are going epically fail.

Hence, a fail

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Anonymous Coward

Think iPod Touch...

Sony will have two problems here:

The casual gamer is almost definitely not going to buy a dedicated gaming device; much more likely to want to run games on a phone that they already have or will get as a contract upgrade.

The second part is the threat comes from a device like the iPod Touch, which is priced more to compete with the NGP, doesn't require a contract and is more likely (than a phone) to be bought by a parent for a child (I'd buy my 8 year old a gaming device, but not a phone).

So Sony and its partners will have to deliver something that really pulls the punters away from casual platforms.

They'll never sell as many NGP's as iOS or Android devices, but they don't need to do that to succeed (i.e. make a profit overall). Not every iOS or Android device results in revenue for gaming, but every NGP will generate revenue for both Sony and the game publishers; whether it's enough for a sustainable platform is anybody's guess at the moment.

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Think PSP ...

Apple will have two problems here:

The hard core gamer is almost definitely not going to buy a phone for a gaming device; much less likely to want to run games on a phone that they already have or will get as a contract upgrade.

The second part is the threat comes from a device like the NGP, which is priced more to compete with the iPod Touch, doesn't require a contract and is more likely (than a phone) to be bought by a parent for a child (I'd buy my 8 year old a gaming device, but not a phone).

So Apple and its partners will have to deliver something that really pulls the punters away from proper gaming platforms.

They'll never sell as many NGP's as iOS or Android devices, but they don't need to do that to succeed (i.e. make a profit overall). Not every iOS or Android device results in revenue for gaming, but every NGP will generate revenue for both Sony and the game publishers; history has shown that even if they give the NGP away for free they will be in profit almost immediately.

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Did I miss something?

When did the iPod Touch start needing a contract?

As an aside, I would have thought that parents looking to purchase a gaming-only device for offspring too young to have a phone are more likely to opt for the more child-friendly Nintendo DS series than the hard-core Sony.

This looks like a nice piece of kit, but I'm struggling to believe that it will sell to anyone other than the extreme gamers - you know, the ones who'll spend £500 on a new graphics card to get an extra 2 fps.

Of course, game designers could put in a bit of effort so that you could play $currentmegadeathshooty$ at home on your main console, then transfer the save game to your portable device to continue playing a graphically reduced mobile version and then transfer back to your console later (or maybe do the whole thing via "the cloud"). But so far, they've not shown any inclination to create that kind of user experience.

If they did, then I might think about getting the new PSP and even buy two copies of the game.

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Agree!

I've had a PSP for some years. In the early days there were lots of updates with new features, but there's been nothing for years.

Plus when it comes down to kids buying games, iTunes games are pennies, whereas PSP games are tens of pounds. I know when my four kids all had the choice, they all wend for iPod Touch's because they have more game choice at pocket money prices.

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Anonymous Coward

Different market

Sony are definitely more interested in hardcore gamers over casual as they will buy many more games over time and be willing to spend more on them.

Personally, physical controls for gaming are a must. I really can't take to touch screen controls for even simple games. For something like Metal gear give me analogue sticks and push buttons every time

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Alert

It'll be huge...

You wait, people will be in lines all night long to be there when it goes on sale. The Sony AppStore (can I call it that?) will crash from the shear demand of people trying to get hold of games, the prices of the memory cards they chose to use will skyrocket. It'll become THE gaming device to be had and you will see the top 3/4 of it sticking out of peoples pockets where ever you go...

Apple will compete by bringing out the iPad2a(and a bit) that will have two joysticks sticking out of each edge.

I will then ride home on my Unicorn, knowing that the world is at peace and petrol is cheap...

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ITS GOT THUMBSTICKS!!!!!

Well, if you define the casual gamer as someone satisfied with Angry Birds, then yes, they'll not touch the NGP, because they've already spent hundreds of pounds on something that will satisfy their low aspirations.

On the other hand, if you want a proper gaming experience, iOS has yet to produce anything aproaching a workable FPS, driving game, or indeed any kind of game that you'd want to control with thumbsticks, because the touchscreen equivalents (and the gyroscope) are just fundamentally rubbish at controlling games. The original PSP was also pretty poor at FPS's with only one thumbstick, but the NGP has 2 and that is a potential game changer on portable gaming.

So, yeah, the NGP is probably only going to sell to the hardcore gamers, because apparently most sheeple are satisfied with the mini-game pap that floods the app store. Bitter? Me?

(on a related note, where the hell are all the god games and rpgs on the iPad? Command and Conquer? Baldur's Gate? They don't have to write new, just port the old ones! The damn thing could have been made for Black and White, for chrissakes! Civ:revolution is not enough!)

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FYI

Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 is available for iOS, admittedly, its not great on the iPhone (screens a bit small, controls a bit fiddly) might be ok on the iPad tho

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P.S. i think the PSP2 will take off BIGTIME.

I wouldn't listen to young, being a iOS app dev. ofcourse he would say portable gaming is dead. he wants people to use his apps that lack REAL gaming functionality. Hes just anoyed that he may have to create another COD - Unlocks app for the PSP2 version of COD.

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Thumb Up

i think the PSP2 will take off BIGTIME.

COD multi player on the move will shift alot of these, thats just 1 game.

With other games coming out for it also, i cant see it not catching on.

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One Device To Rule Them All

Why do the manufacturers seem to think that we all want one device that does everything so-so or badly. The best analogy I can come up with was the argument against IE being part of Windows."a screwdriver is a useful tool, but it doesn't make it more useful by glueing it to your hand". Because you can do something doesn't mean that you should

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Bronze badge
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Nah...

The PSP2 isn't supposed to be a direct competitor to the iPhone. Sure, many commuters etc. won't be happy with the idea of carting around a second device in addition to their Jesus phone purely to play games on the train, but that isn't the point. This isn't aimed at that market.

If the PSP2 really does live up to the hype and if Sony can keep the firmware under control to cut down piracy (a MAJOR problem for the original), this has the potential to be great, and to breathe new life into the portable console market.

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Silver badge

He may have a point

Speaking as a current PSP owner, I've noticed it's becoming harder to find shops that still sell PSP titles. My local Game and Gamestation have axed their sections and the UK version of Sony's PlayStation Online store reduces me to rage at it's pathetic range of titles, compared to the US or Japan.

It's also worth reminding ourselves that Sony tried to compete head on with the iPhone and iPod Touch in the form of the PSPGo, which due to the abysmal store, as mentioned above, tanked massively.

Will the NGP have more success? Maybe initially but with the iOS devices, not to mention the 3DS, Sony really can't afford to fuck this up.

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Little Britain Mode: whatevvvvvaaa...

Casual gamers that actually game will be buying the PS3 phone AKA Xperia Play. And non casual gamers too.

I have not decided on the actual subject of "parental extortion" to dangle it in front of junior just yet. The moment I will do so, I will be getting one. Just so that he sees exactly what is the bait at the end of the tunnel on a daily basis.

It is a casual phone for "casual phoners" as good (if not better) than any fondleslab out there and you can actually play games properly on it with proper controls for a proper shoot-em-up.

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Troll

Handheld gaming consoles are for kids, Apple can take that too

Nintendo has proven that handheld consoles with games like Mario, while briefly popular among the adult audience are mainly attractive to kids. Nintendo manages to sell tons and tons of consoles to kids all around the world. They keep the price of the console reasonable, but the games cost a fortune and they are fantastic at making marketing tools like cartoons (i.e. pokemon) and other things to attract kids all around the world to the games.

What's interesting is the iPhones when you're done with them AREN'T thrown away. The majority of the people who had iPhone 1,2,3 and 3Gs that have upgraded have handed down their phones to their spouses or their kids. Many people even justified the upgrade to the iPhone 4 by saying "well my kid needs a phone". And with tools like "Find my iPhone" it is very popular for parents to make sure that an iPhone is in their kids backpack which makes it so they can be easily found if necessary. I have even used "Find my iPhone" to track down my son who went to a friend's house after school and I couldn't remember where the house was, so I just popped up the tracker on my iPhone and drove straight too him.

There is however a good point made in the article regarding "When you can play high end games with a full game pad...". Well, this is where making accessories for "last year's phone" really makes sense. And Apple even has reason to make this popular.

Step 1 : Apple makes a standard API for game controller cases so that games can detect and use game pad cases or external joysticks. When this happens, the on screen game pad disappears and the controller takes over.

Step 2: Sega and other companies which already make console games for the iPhone put more effort into the nintendo age group. More Sonic and stuff.

Step 3: Apple attacks Nintendo head on in the press. Point out that there's no need for a silly thing like a handheld 3D console when you already have your old iPhone laying around waiting for your kid to use it. Focus on things like "Who needs Mario when you have Sonic and Sonic only costs $2".

Step 4: Sell a shit load more iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches by explaining that it's MUCH cheaper than Nintendo and PSP. Simply put, it is. Since my kids started using their iPhones, I have only had to pay for one massively overpriced Nintendo game (a new pokemon episode).

Step 5: Have a huge internal game development group at Apple which develops their own new franchises while also assisting companies like Lucas to port things like the Lego games. Buy the rights to awesome games which went the way of the do-do due to bad marketing like "Croc, Croc 2, Titan Quest etc..."

Remember the gaming business is worth billions. Apple, if they built 'Apple Games' similar to "Microsoft Games" would have a new billion dollar enterprise within a year. Publish the games for i(Phone|P[ao]d]) as well as for the Mac. Hell, might as well do the Windows versions as well since the Windows port would be little more than just make files and an installer.

Step 6: AppleTV 3

Make the games work with that too using BlueTooth controllers. Hell, most would probably work with Apple TV 2

Step 7: Watch Nintendo, Microsoft Gaming and Sony finally give up and start making games for Apple devices instead.

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Casual games seller in casual games promo shocker

I don't know if the NGP will be a massive success but the way this fool is talking you'd think the original was a total failure. To some that might be true but in reality it's done well enough to have three revisions and to get a successor. The addition of dual analog sticks and the rear touch panel look like good additions, especially as the sticks are actual sticks and not nubs like on the original PSP.

Apple make a nice device but there are only so many casual games you can sell and only a limited amount of controls you can use without having your hands all over the screen. The NGP offers more, it isn't aimed at casual gamers and never has been. There are casual games available for it but that isn't the same thing. It's also worth pointing out that it's been compared to PS3 level performance with plenty saying that's rubbish. They said the same thing when the original was touted as being on a level with the PS2 and it turned out to be very much like PS2 in terms of performance.

The biggest advantage Apple and game makers for iOS have is the app store. Quickly get a game and playing it in a few minutes. Perhaps Sony will offer that but even if they don't I think it's very stupid to be calling it DOA.

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Megaphone

The problem with the PSP...

...is how bloody expensive it is! If you can get *near* PSP quality games on an iPhone or Android device (like the Xperia Play) for free one a contract, why would you pay hundreds for a PSP?

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Anonymous Coward

The problem with the PSP...

"If you can get *near* PSP quality games on an iPhone or Android device (like the Xperia Play) for free one a contract, why would you pay hundreds for a PSP?"

There is no 'if', you can't.

And if you can't get near PSP then you can't get near NGP. Also, the price fro these things settles in the 100+ quid. And they last a few years as the games improve as the DEV gets used to the system.

iOS does not do proper games, sorry.

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Why would you pay hundreds for a PSP anyway, they're only $129.99

Hundreds for a PSP? excuse me? PSP retails for $129.99, in the UK that's under 100 quid. there aren't many currencies left in the world in which the PSP costs hundreds of anything.

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Silver badge
WTF?

One name Neil Young should keep in mind and that is ...

Aaron Barr who also shot his mouth off only to eat his words, big time.

Young should also bear in mind that the quality of product matters, not the quantity. Poor games products bore people and then they give up and move on to something else.

His market is so ephemeral that it can disappear in a flash, so he shouldn't be so cocky.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Missed the point

The individual doesn't understand where the PSP's biggest market was, travel.

The benefit was it was a compact media device (at the time) that was NOT your phone.

When you're travelling you rely on your mobile to get you out of situations forced upon you, flights cancelled, lost etc

The last position you want to be in is no phone battery because you couldn't get off angry birds.

Most people still carry MP3 players, even though most phones have had this capability for years. If there was no longer a market, why do Apple still sell iPod's?

>"It's not a PS3 quality experience," he said. "You need a range of things and what I think the >iPod Touch and iPhone have been able to do is offer people Swiss Army Knife-type >functionality for a device that plays games really well."

So does the PSP.

The PSP pre-dates the iPod Touch and the iPhone by 3 years and pretty much did it first.

I doubt Sony would drop video and music support, given it was one of the key features of the 1st generation system.

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I disagree

"Most people still carry MP3 players, even though most phones have had this capability for years."

Most people used to carry MP3 players because the music players on phones were too awkward to use (all phones had different ways of connecting to computers) or they could not use their own earphones (and the phones came supplied with crap earphones). Now most phones use micro-USB cables and 3.5mm sockets for earphones I think most people are using their phones instead. Both myself and my partner and many of my friends have given up on MP3 players/iPods now that we have phones which offer a music experience at least on par with the majority of MP3 players. As far as I can see it the market for MP3 players is dead. Portable games consoles might last longer and that is because phones can't yet match the gaming experience of these consoles.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: I disagree

the market for MP3 players is dead? Go to a gym, take a look at people jogging, chances are they'll be listening to music. On tiny MP3 players that cost £30, not £500 phones strapped to their arms.

as for phones replacing portable games consoles, not for serious gamers they won't. Touch screeen controls fail, your fingers cover the very game you're playing and, unless your game uses just a couple of controls, there simply is not enough room on a phone screen for all controls. Take a look at how many buttons and sticks are on the Sony... they're not there for decoration, they're there to makes games playable. Take the space those controls cover and overlay that on a phone screen and you'll have no actual game play left.

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Game Over

The age of dedicated portable gaming systems is over. Yeah some self-proclaimed "hardcore" gamers will still want/buy it but with the 3DS and the Mobile Phone gaming possibilities most gamers will be happy. Portable gaming is not about power and hardcore games anyway, it is about fun, easily playable short-ish games.

Hence NGP fail.

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Dopey

"some self-proclaimed "hardcore" gamers"

There are bajillions of them, not 'some'. Are you advocating leaving all that money sitting on the table?

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Silver badge

Hard to tell

They've not only competing with iPhone though are they, they're trying to compete with the handheld gaming king - Nintendo - who have led the pack since the original gameboy days. And this time around they have the 3DS, which is out now and has 3D and everything so it must be great!

And the Sony model will be a lot more pricey than the Nintendo offerings. And they let the last handheld platform just kinda languish for a few years. And there's quite a bit of bad-will towards them anyway.

Going to be tricky to pull of a huge success.

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Considering over 60 million PSPs already sold...

...The PSP started from nowhere in the handheld gaming arena against Nintendo. NGP/PSP2 arrives in a market with a contingent of existing PSP owners who may upgrade, as well as new buyers.

However, what the iPhone/smartphone game proponents fail to realize is that there is a world of difference between a $2 waste of time and a high quality video game. Casual games are a separate market segment, and full video games are not casual games. Instead of some guy that makes tat that sells for pennies because people consider the product disposable, why not talk to developers of actual video games about the topic?

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Silver badge

Which is about a third of the nintendo figures

And I wonder how many actual unique customers there are, because I account for three of those 60 mil PSPs due to theft or damage.

There is a world of difference between a $2 causal game a decent handheld game. The question though is not whether there is a difference, it's whether anybody cares.

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Stop

DOA

i don't think Sony's going to score big points with this. IOS has plenty to offer and the andriod platform als has a plethora of games available, it makes no sense to by a PSP with which you can make phonecalls. no matter how sexy they make it, it's just too unwieldy to be a competitor. with de 3DS on one side and IOS/Android on the other, Sony will be starting to feel the squeeze sooner rather then later.

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Bronze badge

As the only portable device for "serious" gaming,

it'll pick up a small but devoted following, until Sony realise just how small this following is and abandon it.

Lynx/Game Gear vs Gameboy, again, and Nintendo will win (again).

Shame, really, as it's exactly the sort of thing that I would have lusted after, when I was 13.

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FAIL

Small and unprofitable!

I agree completely. Looks nice, but I don't think it'll go mainstream compared to the Nintendo 3GS or iPod Touch. I'm sure it will be suitably expensive and having 'features' like not being backwards compatible* and yet another proprietry game/media format** will be nails in the coffin.

* Yes OK you can download existing PSP games. But only from Sony themselves so they're going to be stupidly priced. Did they learn nothing from the PSP Go disaster?

** ATRAC, MicroMV, UMD (for films), multitudes of MemoryStick (Sony cameras now take SD!), MiniDisc (not a disaster, but not a complete success). I'm sure there are others.

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Silver badge

Mr Young

He is Assanging. Or he does not have kids. Or both.

We buy our kids phones for phoning and games consoles for gaming.

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Dead Vulture

What do I think?

I think I'm tired of articles that end with 'What do you think?'.

Yes, we know you have a comment system, thank you.

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WTF?

Xperia Play

Surely the Xperia Play is what should be compared to the iPhone? I'm not really sure of the point of the NGP.

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Silver badge
Joke

That's what NGP stands for...

"No Goddamned Point"

(Before you ask, "iPhone" stands for "Inferior Product, Hugely Overpriced Nad Extension".)

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Flame

If Gaming Controls are what you want..

buy a smartphone cradle..

really the only thing the psp/ngp has that a smart device does not is sticks and buttons, these could easily be added to a smart phone via a cradle.. the problem that exists is that smartphone games dont need all the sticks and buttons.. so you'd have to port in some content that does..

its not a biggy really and *if* there were a company that made handheld consoles and phones you'd have thought they would be there already.. (you'd want an extra capacity battery in the cradle too)

Anyway the NGP is dead in the water not because smart phones are better but because it has SONY written on it, and that many lawyers are too expensive and do not represent good value for money....

sony = Do NOT want.

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Silver badge

Actually, they've got quite a nifty touch sensor..

..but on the back so your fingers don't get in the way of the screen. No other smart device has that. Considering that's where your fingers are anyway when holding one of these devices that's a smart, unique piece of design.

And isn't your argument a little circular? There's no joysticks on a smartphone so smartphone games don't need them so there's no need for joysticks for smartphone games....

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Anonymous Coward

nifty..

but the rear touch sensor could still be added on via a cradle... and the cradle would still cost less than the whole psp/ngp device...

my point about games was in relation to the comments above, where the consensus seemed to be that stick gaming was in a different league.. Which I can understand for precision or reaction speed games, ie fps or driving.. whereas touchscreen gaming is undoutably different although equally fun.. so not a circular argument just two types of games, only one is available at present, but handheld console manufacturers do have the other type!

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Flame

A touchscreen is enough for all gamers....

... in the same way that 640Kb should be enough for everybody.

To contradict an earlier poster - Nintendo proved that there is a huge portable market for adult gamers long before the iPhone got Angry Birds.

This argument is like saying no-one needs a PS3 when they can play Solitaire on the PC.

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Anonymous Coward

Games , thats what they need.

As the current owner of a PSP i just don't see the appeal in the PSP2(NGP). I wouldn't shell out for another handheld of theirs. The PSP is good as it is, although design wise the analog stick gives me major cramp using it. The biggest problem they have with the handheld is the lack of quality games. Most of them were a rehash of PS2 titles. I can't really think of one game that would really make people want to go and buy one of these machines. Sony should concentrate on publishing or getting other game makers to really make games that make people want to get one of these machines, not churning out back catalogs.

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Those who fail to learn from history...

Remember these classics?

The PSP is so much more powerful than the DS, it will wipe the floor with it...

The PS3 is so much more powerful than the Wii, it will wipe the floor with it...

People don't want Angry Birds (sales: 10m+) they want "proper games" like Gran Turismo 5 (sales 5.5m) or MGS4 (sales 4m)...

People will tire of Angry Birds knock offs and turn to stuff like Generic Military Shooter 7: This Time in Space or Advanced Urban Mayhem Simulator 5...

People will want to pay £40 for a game rather than paying 59p...

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FAIL

Seriously

You are comparing Angry Birds to GT5?

If you are just going on the sales figures that you provided then Angry Birds has netted £5.9M (roughly)

GT5 has netted at least £137.5M (based on £25 per sale so the figure will be higher given it was £40 at 1st launch)

Yep better quality, higher production values, higher sale price games still win hands down. I would rather have GT5's sales figures than Angry Birds. I would say they have nothing to learn from history there as the figures show that yes many people will prefer to pay £40 for a 'proper' game as it will be far better than the one you just paid 59p for.

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Re: Seriously

"If you are just going on the sales figures that you provided then Angry Birds has netted £5.9M (roughly)

GT5 has netted at least £137.5M (based on £25 per sale so the figure will be higher given it was £40 at 1st launch)

"

Well done. Now, for your second cookie of the day, how much did Angry Birds and GT5 cost to make? GT5 has been in development since God was a small child and they still screwed it up. One is produced and distributed for buttons, the other has to be manufactured, put into retail stores, licence fees for all those cars and music, advertising etc etc.

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true

But how do the cost of sales compare?

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Silver badge
Pint

Gross me out

"GT5 has netted at least £137.5M"

I think the term you are looking for is "grossed".

"netted" would be the amount it grossed (sales) minus the amount it cost (development, manufacturing, storage, distribution)

HTH

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Thumb Down

Sony doesn't like their customers

Why buy anything from Sony when they have a track record of suing people who try to modify their product that they bought and legally own.

AIBO - check.

PS3 - check.

PSP2 -?

FU Sony.

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Silver badge

umm, is it because...

..you just want to use it, not modify it?

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Silver badge

Comparing numbers is meaningless; Nokia are number one

How many of those apps are top end games, and how many are fart, Purity ring and website-wrapper apps?

And going by the official app store is meaningless, as on other platforms, you aren't restricted to only releasing on the official app store - you might as well claim the Iphones have more apps than Windows.

Is there a market for a standalone handheld console, now you can play them on phones? Who knows. I've no doubt that camera manufacturers are asking themselves the same question. But mentioning only Apple is misleading, since Nokia are actually number one by far, and Android as a platform also outsells IOS.

But just has Apple manage to turn a profit even though they're nowhere near number one, I don't see why Sony in turn can't also do a similar thing, making a profit by selling dedicated gaming devices to a niche.

The most obvious problem with phones is the lack of decent controls for games.

Re: Those who fail to learn from history...

Perhaps, but it's a shame you also don't learn that devices that can do the job at a lower price are winning out over more expensive Iphones.

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I'm a "casual gamer"

and share my existing PSP and DS with the family.

I'm happy with my budget smartphone, it does everything I need to.

I'm not going to waste money on an expensive model / iPhone just so I can play games.

I'm not an expert but from what I've seen 59p games apps do not really compare with the likes of GTA on the PSP.

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