Battle of the handhelds

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This year’s E3 games show has so far been dominated by the unveiling of two new next generation handheld consoles. While the Sony PSP is impressing visitors to the LA gaming expo with its sleek looks and impressive spec, there’s a question mark over its battery life. And while the double screen arrangement of the Nintendo DS is certainly intriguing, it does have a very cheap and plasticky feel about it. Our man in LA Simon Munk gives his opinion on both consoles:

About the Sony PSP:
Sony’s E3 booth includes hands-on time with its portable console, the PSP. Boasting near-PS2 levels of graphics, WiFi connection and commitments to develop for it from nearly every major games publisher there are only three questions left for the PSP. One: when? Sony’s press conference confirmed end 2004 for Japan, March 2005 for North America and Europe. Two: how much? On this, Sony remain tight-lipped, but we’re betting above £200. Three: battery life? Sony hedged by saying comparable to other portable devices, listing everything from two to ten hours. Remember, any application that uses the disc-drive constantly will drain the battery like a vampire on a feeding frenzy.

About the Nintendo DS
Nintendo also showed off a new console at E3. Its Dual Screen machine features one touch-screen, WiFi connectivity and a highly plasticky feel. The early issue with the DS, if Nintendo’s press conference is anything to go by, is it’s an innovation in search of an application. Both a new Mario game and a new Metroid Prime game used the second screen as map/heads-up display overspill. The DS is due for launch Japan and the US in 2004, Europe early 2005.

Simon Munk is the editor/publisher of Games Digest

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