Smartphones kicking handhelds where it hurts

Smartphones kicking handhelds where it hurtsIndustryGamers grabbed Neil Young (that’d be the ngmoco Boss as opposed to the singer-songwriter) at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, for an impromptu natter about the impact of mobile gaming on traditional handhelds.

Pondering the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, Neil said: “I think they are hurt; I think they're clearly hurt. I think PSP is done and the new [NGP] is dead on arrival. It's really difficult to compete with an app store that has hundreds of thousands of applications and a wide range of options where the average price paid is around $1.20 and there are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of free applications that are really high quality."

That view certainly ties up with the results of a recent survey, conducted by Information Solutions Group on behalf of developer PopCap. The survey concluded, among other things, that many avid gamers now see their mobile as their primary gaming platform.

Young went on to explain: “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. It's not like it's crap at playing games – it's pretty good at playing games and it can do a whole bunch of other things as well.”

It remains to be seen how the PlayStation Phone will fit into things. It’ll attempt to straddle the handheld and smartphone categories when it launches on April 1.

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