You’ve probably heard about Sony’s PSP, a handheld game player. It sounds smart: they positioned themselves away from Nintendo’s Game Boy and leveraged their engineering capabilities by putting a lot of high tech into it, plus the capability to play movies and connect to other devices. And they’re big enough to have a decent go at pushing this thing into the marketplace. Apparently, the financial markets agreed – Nintendo’s stock fell when Sony announced their plans. Nintendo’s GBA is not technically advanced, but then, it never was. Nintendo’s strength lies in it’s software and it’s product strategy.
What I find interesting is the shift of the technology arms race from the PC, to the console, to the handheld platform, to the mobile phone. Writing a game for a mobile phone is similar to writing a computer game twenty years ago, writing a game for the Game Boy Advance is a bit like developing for the SNES, etc. People who ruled back in the day with their old school software 3D engines on the Atari ST can now re-use those skills on GBA. But at some point, it will all go away.