Just a week after Tapwave offered a sneak peek at its Palm Powered handheld for adult gamers, expected later this year, Sony has announced that it will bring a handheld gaming device to the market as well. However, the Sony PlayStation Portable, or PSP, will not see the light of day until late 2004, according to Sony, providing upstart Tapwave with a one year head start in this lucrative market.
According to an article on CNET's NEWS.COM website, Sony's gaming handheld will contain a screen capable of 3D imaging and utilize a new optical media format capable of storing 1.8 gigabytes of information on a small CD-like disc. Meanwhile, Tapwave's "Helix" device simulates 3D through software, using Fathammer's X-Forge 3D Game Engine, and stores information on Secure Digital media cards, currently available in capacities up to 512 megabytes.
Although Tapwave was unavailable for comment, Brighthand's Steve Bush did question several representatives of both Tapwave and PalmSource about the potential of Sony entering this market at the Tapwave launch last week in San Francisco. Concensus was that Sony would likely not enter this market as it would potentially adversely affect its PlayStation 2 sales.
Althought the Mobile Gaming market will likely be segmented by price -- GameBoy securing the low-end youth market and Tapwave, Nokia (with its N-Gage) and Sony battling for the adult market -- it will be won as much by software (i.e. games) as by hardware, if not moreso. Although Tapwave has aligned itself with several well-known partners, including Activision. Midway, and Infogrames, Sony has a distinct advantage in this area.
Sources: News.com; Yahoo! Japan (photograph)
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