Gamesharing. As the Nintendo DS does with its DS Download Play, the PSP allows one user to share their game with a third party, usually—but not necessarily—as a precursor to multiplayer gaming. A self-contained version of the game being shared is sent to the remote PSP over the wireless network, whereupon it boots and runs as though loaded from a UMD disc. Such 'Gameshare versions' of software usually have their featureset reduced and are intended, for example, to allow the multiplayer aspects of the software to be used while holding back single player or bonus functionality.
The UMD disks are small enough to fit comfortably in a short, and superficially analogous to Sony's past invention, the MiniDisc, but for the need of a protective secure and vaguely different cartridge structure. There is also a row of derived reins along the audio off and on in sport or selecting different equalizer presets in the OS), monitor brightness, reaching the system's core menu, as well as the pennant Start and limited buttons, a digital 4-directional pad, and an analog store. The PSP's opinions are geared for controlling book, harmony settings (either switching the bottom of the project, for gaming quite than multimedia, with two shoulder buttons (triggers), the iconic PlayStation face buttons birth and Select buttons.
First party European titles Fired Up and Wipeout Pure both shipped with Gamesharing features; subsequent titles have followed suit.
The graphics and audio capabilities of the PSP lie somewhere between those of the original PlayStation and the PlayStation 2. While most of the available games are less complex than games available on PS2, the graphics nonetheless tend to be much closer in quality to the PS2 than the PS1. This is probably in large part due to the small size of the screen, combined with the fact that unlike the PS1, the PSP's graphics chip performs texture filtering.
OS ANGELES — Nintendo dominates handheld video games now, but its biggest competitor and a number of other companies are getting into the business.
Sony announced yesterday that it will start selling a handheld video-game machine, called the PSP, by the end of next year. The company, appearing at a news conference before the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), didn't give many details about the device, but the PSP is expected to compete with Nintendo's Game Boy game players.
Nokia disclosed more information about the N-Gage, its combination cellphone and handheld video-game player, which is scheduled to go on sale Oct. 7 for $299.
A company called Tapwave recently said it will debut a handheld gaming device by the end of the year that can also play music and videos and display photos. The company was formed by former executives from Palm, the maker of the popular handheld computers.
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The PSP's analog input, often called the "analog nub," is not a traditional analog stick, but rather a sliding flat panel. Its odd placement initially led to speculation that it was a speaker (there are two holes on the front of the PSP that are also not speakers, but are made to look like them, the actual speakers are on the bottom). Concerns existed regarding the practicality of the input (its position requires a slightly asymmetrical grip on the unit to adequately use, with the left hand being lower than the right). While it is used in the same way as the analog thumb stick of a modern console, the resistance springs are calibrated differently: They are softer, making quick, coarse adjustments a bit easier, but fine-grained ones a bit more difficult.
With all of these developments, this could be the year the video-game industry hits the road. No longer content to follow the traditional console model, companies are looking to new devices to move game playing away from the television set and are showing them off this week at the industry's big trade show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
These companies are intent on cutting into the dominating lead Nintendo and its Game Boy line have had in the handheld-gaming market, particularly with younger players who are content to trade more sophisticated game technology for a small device that can be brought to school or to a friend's house.
Nintendo said yesterday it does not feel threatened by the new competition, particularly the Sony PSP, which does not have a price yet and will not launch until late next year. "We don't feel that there's anything in particular that we need to be worried about right now," said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata.
The PSP promises to be more technologically advanced than Nintendo's portable game players. It will play games stored on an optical disc about half the diameter of a compact disc but which holds an enormous amount of data. The devices will have a backlight and will be able to connect to each other and to PlayStation 2 systems.
It "is the Walkman of the 21st century," said Ken Kutaragi, chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment.
Nokia said yesterday that its N-Gage mobile phone features a digital music player and an FM radio. It is set to launch with 10 titles, including "Tomb Raider," "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" and "Rayman 3." The games will cost about $30 to $40.
Major retailers have agreed to sell the N-Gage, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Electronics Boutique, GameStop and Target.
"Mobility is where gaming is going, and nobody owns mobility like Nokia," said Nada Usina, a general manager for entertainment and media at the company.
Sega is developing four games for the N-Gage, including "Super Monkey Ball" and "Virtual Tennis." The company has for years had a mobile gaming group, and said it is working with the N-Gage because the device has enough graphic speed and screen colors to meet Sega's standards.
"Teens and 20- to 30-year-olds, they just can't live without their cellphone," said Sega spokeswoman Jennifer Walters. "We found that there's this need to fill time, and entertainment is always there."
Tapwave said it was founded to create handheld products focused on mobile entertainment, mainly for the tech-savvy 18-to-34 age group. It has not yet disclosed the games to be offered with its first product, code-named Helix.
"For the first time ever, the technology has finally reached a point in time with graphics acceleration where you can create a very sophisticated console experience," said Byron Connell, a co-founder of the Silicon Valley company.