New Sony PSP ad takes aim at iPhone

Sony PSP ad targets Apple iPhone gaming

Sony has released a new ad for their PSP gaming system and it takes aim squarely at Apple's iPhone and iOS gaming.

"That [iPhone] ain't built for big boy games", the latest PSP spokeskid, Marcus Rivers, says to a goofy looking guy playing "Lame Castle". "That's built for texting your grandma and calling your girl."

Rivers then shows off a few older, $9.99 catalog titles, and calls the goofy guy to drive home the $9.99 price point before hitting the tag line: "step your game up."

Obviously this acknowledges the growing competition from iPhone, especially the low price point of iOS games.

And since goofy guy can text grandma, call his girl, and play great new games without having to lug around a second, gigantic device -- one that's still bound to physical media and hasn't seen a real hardware update since before Marcus was born -- it might not be a winning strategy for Sony. (That Android PSP phone, however...)

Video after the break. Does it make any of you want to carry around an iPhone and a PSP?

[Ars Technica]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

iPad live podcast #17: Centerfold hold

Next up →

China Unicom launching iPhone 4 (with Wi-Fi!), iPad

Reader comments

New Sony PSP ad takes aim at iPhone


lol poor Sony, I had a psp for a couple weeks before I took it back, years before the iPhone was released. They almost got me with the Ps3 but Xbox 360 is better.

Rene, interesting points, and to be honest I agree with quite a few of them, heck that's why I won't buy an iPod, because I don't want to carry a seperate device for my music and games when my phone can handle them. But I will say you may want to be careful before stating "facts" and basing judgements on them. There are three points in particular I want to address 1) The PSP Go is NOT tied to any physical media, 2)The PSP Go is a hardware update(though some might argue how "real" of one it is) and 3) is really not much larger than some of the newest devices hitting the market. Overall though, great post on what is a fairly sad ad campaign by Sony, it illustrates better than anything else I know just how powerful iOS is at gaming, no matter what device its running on.

Any PSP that isn't a PSPGo is tied to hardware (UMD discs).
I had a PSP but traded it in since it's a slowly but surely dying platform in the States. Thrives elsewhere, namely Japan. I'm more of a DS guy.

PSP sadly is old. The only updates Soby has made is with the PSPgo but it was nothing real. Just 16Gb memory and slider processor, ram or CPU updates whatsoever.
That Android PSP everyone is talking about could be a good deal tho. Sony, please use nowadays hardware with it and no the old cheap one...

Sony is kidding themselves, if they think I'm going to be carrying around a separate device just for games (as is Apple if they think I'm going to buy any more stand-alone iPods). And besides, if I were to get a dedicated portable gaming device, I'd go with Nintendo for the Mario and Zelda titles. Sorry Sony, please try again.

Great article, bashing the PSP and including blatant lies, the PSP Go does NOT rely on physical media. And the PSP Go hardware upgrade came out about a year ago. Mobile gaming sucks anyway, why would want to game on my iPhone 3GS when I have a 40" HD tv and a playstation 3 upstairs.

It's always fun to see someone dig their own grave. R.I.P. PSP- You served your purpose. Your time is done.

It doesn't make me want to carry a PSP but I like the commercial. :-)
I agree on the Android PSP. That might be a killer system there.

That's PSP's last ditch effort to actually sell some units and expand their audience beyond kids like Marcus. No one is buying Sony's handheld like they use to in the good ole portable gaming days. Most people want to either game at home or on a mobile device that allows you to do more than just game, watch movies and surf the net. If Sony can get their PlayStation Phone to play games that look as good as they do on the PSP as well as a phone that can match or out do the iPhone, then they might have a prayer.
Number one: the PlayStation name is associated with gaming and everyone won't be allured to that idea, espcially if they indend to gain all demographics of people in order to establish a foothold on marketshare. Face it Sony PlayStation, stick with game systems and leave the mobile multifunctionality devices to Apple's iPhone where elegance finally matches usability with a household name that won't disappear overnight, especially to a handheld gaming device. Seriously? C'mon!

I have a PSP but I haven't touched it in over three years. The battery has probably melted by now. I used to love it but UMD was a big mistake and the UI was awful. Even on PS3 today the browser is a disaster. I lost faith in Sony a long time ago and I don't see myself buying any Sony gear in the foreseeable future.

I think that the PSP is a much batter gaming device. Although, with all the games I have loaded in my 3GS I won't bother carry my psp anymore.

Hardcore gamer here and I need my buttons, until they can make a Monster Hunter game for iPhone work, then I might, but right now PSP baby! Give me my Monster Hunter Portable 3rd!

There are rumors of a Sony Ericsson PSP phone using Android 3.0 Gingerbread. The phone is rumored to have a slide out control like the PSPGO. Also its own Game only App Store with PSP titles. We'll see this fall should be th release date. Can't wait... Bye bye iPhone Android is the way to go.

What Sony should focus on is making a cradle that your iPhone fits into with a dpad and all the necessary buttons then start selling it's psp titles in the app store. I would buy something like that if they could make it under 50$ :)

They DO realize that most $5.99 iOS games look BETTER than the $9.99 titles in the ad right? Sony really shot themselves in the foot with this one...

The ad is actually kind of funny. There's a lot of race-related subtext in it. Anyway, it is notable that Sony is responding to the competition in gaming on the basis of the price of games. What's interesting is that the PSP probably competes more with the Touch than the iPhone. Whether or not a kid that age gets an iPhone is completely dependent on his/her parents' willingness to pay for the plan - whereas the Touch's biggest target demographic is probably between the ages of the two actors in the ad.

I so need a pspenis in my pocket as well as my iCrap! Seriously, all the iPhone could possibly use is a device that wraps around it with a joystick and buttons. But I haven't run into an issue yet with the way games are as is. They are intuitive and work fine. But then again, I'm not a retard that plays video games all day instead of enjoying life and working. The iPhone is fine for me.

Like I said when the news was posted about their Android "gaming" phone, Sony is trying to compete with Apple since they long ago lost against Nintendo in the mobile gaming market.

The PSP is a better gaming system but I carry a touch the games are way cheaper I keep myself occupied with new free ones every week. Its UI is so intuitive my 2yr old uses it and has his favorite apps. Sony can not match this in the psp. Anyone that still cant admit the PS3 is the best gaming system is delusional.

Yeah I have to agree with the article. I had a PSP that I got for free (I won it brand new) and I eventually sold it after wasting money on games that were nothing special. I also got tired of having to carry around a bunch of little crappy discs. The PSPGo is a joke. Its $200 for a system you have to be on WiFi only to get games. It also doesnt have enough memory to hold enough of their big games. I'd rather spend $0.99-$4.99 on an iPhone game and enjoy playing it while waiting for a plane or for food somewhere.

Ah, to battle amongst 2nd place. Must be nice for them, lol.
Its like Sony has given up on going for Nintendo and just settled for trying to fight Apple for that silver medal.

I was actually planning on getting a PSP........for my 5 year old! :o) She really wants one so that she can play Little Pet Shop and Barbie games.;O)

Apple is the best .. I love Steve Jobs .. Sony will file for bankruptcy in a few days. Best gaming platform is the iPhone

Video not showing up in mobile theme. That's happening very often.
I love my iPhone and I like my psp. The psp is good for when u know you will need something to do for hours and don't wanna kill your phone battery. As far as those mentioning they don't carry an iPod for music that just doesn't work for me. I prefer a separate device so I don't eat up memory/battery of my phone. Plus I hate when I have to kill my music for a call.

Ads like this make no sense. Bashing competitors doesn't make you sales. In fact, it means you are sweating them

I have a PSP that I purchased about a year before my iPhone 3GS. Use to lug that thing with me to work everyday, it's pretty heavy when you include the big clam shell case that I had. I haven't touched the thing since I purchased my iPhone last summer (when the 3gs was released). I do not want to carry around two devices and the iPhone does everything, can watch movies, surf the web, listen to music, text people, take pictures, etc. etc.

I agree that to carry a psp around and a phone is a turn off but the quality of games for the psp is far superior than some of the games on the iPhone.too short most have bugs and quality isn't that good

I think it's all part of an advertising campaign building up to the supposed Android/PSP phone.

I am SHOCKED that some heavy-hitting gaming company hasn't come out with a case that adds physical gaming buttons to iOS devices. With iOS 3.0, I thought that sort of thing would be inevitable. They could create an entire platform of their own based on the accessory, then license the API to other game developers to use the accessory. That would eliminate 99% of the complaints about gaming on the iOS platform. Why that hasn't happened yet is beyond me.

Seriously though, the iPhone/iPod Touch cannot compare with game specific built devices. I love my PSP and honestly don't take it everywhere I take my iPhone, but when it comes to real games I can't stand to play them on my iPhone. If there was a bluetooth or connectible controller piece for games I might change my mind though. I wish Apple would let the iPhone be the device it could be.

@mcdoobie No, you are incorrect. The original PSP can indeed download and play games, without a UMD. You are tied to memory stick, but you can get one comparable in size to an iPhone afaik.

ive had a psp for a while now, ad use it like never. maybe on long car trips but thats about it.
iphone however is always with me, so if i want to play a quick game i can
current fav:mega jump