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Why don't portables get more respect?

The DS sells more than most consoles. The PSP has some games that look better than many PS2 games. Despite this, there are few magazines or websites devoted to portables. When the web or a mag do focus on a portable, it always seems to be to a lesser degree. If you need any proof, just look at the number of portable games that go un-reviewed compared to consoles. But when the sales are up as is the quality of the games, why do handhelds still get shafted?

They're a substitute

It seems as though some gamers and press view portable games as a substitute for "real" gaming. Just something to pass the time when you're somewhere unpleasant and unable to play a console game. While it is true that the very nature of a portable game is to give you gaming on the go, it doesn't necessarily mean it isn't as fun or as valuable of a gaming experience as console games. Anyone who's gotten sucked into Lumines or Vice City Stories for hours can attest to that.

Kid Stuff

While it's true that many games aimed for children have been released for portables through the years, there's no shortage of great games for any age. Especially this generation of portables, it seems more and more portables are aiming their sights for older gamers. Brain Age, Metal Gear and GTA are proof enough that in no way are portables just for the playground.

Less vocal fan community

One thing that hurts the portable gaming community is that despite the great sales for systems and games, the fan community is far less vocal than the typical console fan base. Of course part of this seems to be self perpetuating since if there aren't many online or print sources for portable gaming, there are obviously less places for those fans to express their feelings.

Not as many huge titles

Some would say that the portables lack blockbuster titles and that is why they garner less attention. This hardly seems like a good excuse though since at this point nearly every blockbuster franchise has a version on handhelds. From Metal Gear to Mario, if there is a big game on a console there is typically a counterpart on the portable. Not only that, but some portable games consistently sell better than most console games.

So while there may be no good reason portables get overlooked, it does seem like they're on there way to reversing this fate. With the increased importance of blogs and forums in the gaming world, it seems like only a matter of time before portable games do get the equal respect they deserve. Until then, the average gamer may just be too busy playing their PSP to even care.

Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)

Dave Dodaro1

1-15-2007 @ 10:59AM

Dave Dodaro said...

One segment of portable gamers that gets overlooked is the male 25-45 with young kids category. I have talked to many dads just like me on message boards who play the PSP while the kids are watching the TV or play portables while keeping an eye on the kids in various parts of the house. My wife (and I) like the fact that I can play in the family room every night and still be with the family, not away in some other room by myself. Also, I can turn off the PSP, take care of the kids, and then turn it back on and be at the same part of a game like Madden, picking up where I left off.


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1-15-2007 @ 12:28PM

Alien said...

I use much more mi PSP for gaming than any other console , I wonder , why is this to , but I never got the answer . There are often even more important than consoles ( see Jap. console sellings in 06 ) .


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Jedi D-Dog3

1-15-2007 @ 12:46PM

Jedi D-Dog said...

I 2nd Dave Dodaro's comments - it's a great way to be in the same room with family without dominating the TV.

I can still talk to my wife while playing SOCOM:FTB online while she's watching TLC's "What To Wear So You Don't Look Stupid Anymore (But Seriously Good Luck With That)." If I wanted to game online I'd need to leave the room if it weren't for the PSP.


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Michael Anderson4

1-15-2007 @ 1:18PM

Michael Anderson said...

I like that this isn't a PSP vs. DS thing - because the issue is pretty generic to handheld gaming. It was one thing when I got funny looks traveling on business and using my GameBoy in airports in 1989 ... it is another thing when that happens now! I bring my DS or PSP to my kids basketball practice Saturday mornings, and can get ~1 hour in on some game and not miss a thing of what they're doing.


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Joe Blow5

1-15-2007 @ 2:51PM

Joe Blow said...

I am also in the same category as Dave Dodaro.
Though I have and love my 360 I end up using my psp more since I can be with the family while they are watching tv and still get my gaming on. Plus with the integrated browser it's the prefect gadget to have on the go.


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1-15-2007 @ 3:14PM

Vince said...

Heh, Mike got strange looks. Back in '96 I would go to work on the bus with my Sega Nomad and I'd bring an extra controller 'cause the guy next to me would want to play too.


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Dave Dodaro7

1-15-2007 @ 9:35PM

Dave Dodaro said...

I don't have a 360 (yet), but I agree with Joe, I'd still use my PSP more for the reasons already mentioned. Sony needs to be marketing to our demographic. I had a guy sitting next to me on a plane trip, and by the end of the flight he was sold on the PSP, good games, multimedia, internet, location free all wherever you need to's all good but Sony somehow can't get the message out properly.


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Dave Dodaro8

1-15-2007 @ 9:43PM

Dave Dodaro said...

I definately see Joe's point. If I had a 360, I'd still be on the PSP more often, for all the reasons already mentioned. Sony needs to be marketing to our demographic. On a recent plane trip, they guy next to me asked all that I do with the PSP. By the end of the flight he was buying one. Good games, multimedia, internet, location free's all good. But Sony does a horrible job of promoting it.


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1-16-2007 @ 12:46AM

trent said...

I third dave's comment and when browsing the internet lookin at "adult sites" its easier to hide the psp when some1 is tryin to look over your shoulder.


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1-16-2007 @ 2:26AM

Kat said...

One thing that handhelds have that home consoles don't (besides portability) is the fact that they sort of advertise that you're a gamer. Unless you have gaming t-shirts, if you only own portables, people might not know you're a gamer just by looking at you. But every time I'm in a waiting room and I pull out my DS or PSP, the kids (if not the other adults) around notice. "Hey, she's got a PSP!"

Plus, what Dave said... I play a lot more handheld games than console games, because I don't have to worry about starting up the console, dragging out the controllers, turning the VCR on and changing the input (mine are routed through the VCR due to lack of ports on the back of my old TV), and tying up the TV that other family members want to watch.


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1-16-2007 @ 8:09PM

shaun said...

Am I the only one that read that last point as "Not as many huge titties"?

...cuz that would be reason enough in my book to not give portables respect.


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1-22-2007 @ 1:08PM

symphony1125 said...

You guys want a good portable website?

Covering all things portable!


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