It’s thanks to the wireless java technology and the popularity of their range that Nokia has begun the new challenge for the handheld crown. Just released a few weeks ago, the Nokia N-Gage combines the best elements of a mobile phone with an almost Playstation like quality console system, complete with online gaming [for a full review of the N-Gage by yours truly, head to www.geeksinbasements.com].
Along with Nokia’s attempt at a next gen handheld device, Sony announced the Playstation Portable (or PSP for short). Despite the best intentions of Nokia, Sony has set the new landmark for portable power, and the console hasn’t even been released yet (or at least, not before this articles published date). We’re only now seeing early design sketches of what the system may look like, and things are looking impressive indeed.
So the question has to be asked: What will Nintendo do now? Surely they can’t sit there and watch their market share shrink to alarming proportions? Or can they?
Nintendo has mentioned in a few statements that they are not worried about the release of both the N-Gage and PSP. Why? Because, as the specs of both systems prove, they are not all-out games systems, therefore they are targeted at a much more tech savvy audience compared to that of the Game Boy.
Yet this is the same company that said a similar story about the PS2 and Xbox some years ago (and before that the Playstation), which left the company holding on only thanks to the Game Boy itself. If Nintendo were to do a similar thing by the time the PSP is out on the streets, it could be a disaster for the one time leader of the market.
And then there’s the dark horse in the story. I speak of Microsoft, of course. The one time software manufacturer joined the console race with the Xbox and now find themselves selling at similar or stronger rates to the PS2 around the world (not keeping in mind the already larger user base of the PS2 thanks to its jump start).
Rumors have always been floating around in the last few years about the possibility of Microsoft releasing their own handheld system. Although Microsoft claim otherwise, there’s every chance the company will eventually enter the handheld race, although it may be later rather then sooner.
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