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Sony's PSP Lags In Marketplace

Sony Corp.'s PlayStation Portable (PSP) could have been a serious contender in the portable media device market. Instead, the device has underachieved, just like its PlayStation 3. Indeed, Sony is beginning to look a lot like the Sega of old, which never managed to produce enough games that matched quality of its hardware.

The end of Sega's days as a videogame giant came down to the company's inability to secure as much third-party support as its competitors. Third-party support comes as much from traditional media companies as videogame publishers. Apple, which once had its own problems with third-party support, has become the crowning example. The ubiquitous iPod, thanks to the online iTunes music store, made it easy to buy and store music, movie and TV files. The PSP, which supports the same functions in addition to videogames, depends on an already-obsolete proprietary disc-format (called the UMD) to deliver video software. It was unable to generate the support to become a serious contender in the MP3 music market.

Sony's PSP could have been all this, said James McQuivey, a Forrester Research analyst, referring to its big screen, good storage and audio and video capabilities. Yet its 7.2 million devices sold pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions of iPods sold by Apple.

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