Achievement 2: Taking on Nintendo’s Handheld Console and (Almost) Winning
When you think of Nintendo’s most iconic hardware, the NES, SNES, N64, and Wii home consoles often spring to mind first, but it’s arguably the company’s handheld systems that have been its strongest, certainly most consistent suit. SEGA had rivaled Nintendo’s SNES in the early nineties, and Sony had beaten them later that decade with the PSOne, but no company had stood toe to toe with Nintendo’s portable offering. Kazuo Hirai was out to change that, and that’s exactly what Sony did with its PSP.
Hirai famously said in 2005: “Some have said that the PSP is our answer to the (Nintendo) Game Boy. Well, here’s how we view the world: PSP will elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld gaming ghetto and Sony is the only company that can do it. We happily accept this challenge and, dare I say it, the baton has been passed.”
Sony’s PSP, launched in 2005, embodied the company’s “kando” philosophy: innovating awe-inspiring technology that emotionally move people. The PSP was sleek, streamlined, sexy and powerful. Its gorgeous screen and industry-leading graphics were unparalleled; far ahead of Nintendo’s equivalent. Notably, in tune with Hirai’s vision of amalgamating music, television, and gaming into one portable unit, this was at the forefront of the PSP’s design. Unlike the DS, Sony’s handheld could be used to do everything, and in an ecosystem predating smartphones, the PSP was hugely well received for including these feature. You could also play Ridge Racer on it, and who didn’t want to do that?
Although it wouldn’t reach the popularity of the Nintendo DS, one of the greatest selling consoles of all time, it certainly was a worthy competitor and offered experiences that DS owners couldn’t get.