Microsoft is not yet ready to unveil a handheld gaming device, and it may not for quite some time looking at the performance of the PSP. While Sony has met moderate success with the PSP, it has struggled against Nintendo in the sector, and in spite of better hardware, has been unable to beat the Nintendo juggernaut.
Zune, Microsoft's current music player, can play both music and video -- but will it ever play games? Perhaps. Microsoft's Robbie Bach spoke with Dean Takahashi on VentureBeat
, and had a few things to say about what they're learning from the PSP. "The PSP is a reasonably successful product at the profit-and-loss level. But as a product concept, there are cautionary tales to learn from it. While it is good at producing audio, it's not a good music player because it doesn't have local storage (except for flash memory slots). You can't keep your music there. It has a beautiful screen, but you can only get the video under the Universal Media Disc format. That format hasn't been successful. On a game level, it has done well. But even there, it is mostly PlayStation 2 ports. There isn't much original content."
Bach's comments ring of some truth, but they seem to based on the image set by Sony during the PSP launch. Since then, PSP can run full-resolution video off Memory Stick (although there are still a number of arbitrary restrictions on video playback). PSP has gained a number of original non-ported games, but it must still fend off the image that it doesn't have original content. "When you do these devices, they can't be pretty good at a lot of things. They need to be great at what they do. Zune is a great music player. We have local storage, a marketplace, the social network. We didn't do video right out of the gate because you want to do those things in a high-quality way. Same thing in the gaming space. It is technically possible to do games on there. But you aren't going to see a broad gaming effort from us until we sort that through and have it figured out."