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At Apple event, iPhone and iPod Touch challenge DS and PSP

By / September 9, 2009

Apple's Phil Schiller, Senior Vice-President of worldwide marketing, speaks about the iPod Touch's game playing capabilities during a special event in San Francisco September 9, 2009.

Robert Galbraith/REUTERS

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At the Apple announcement today, Steve Jobs and the gang came out swinging against video game titans Nintendo and Sony.

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Although the company is rather new to mobile gaming, Apple has broken a lot of ground very quickly. It designed a powerful pocket-sized gaming platform, built a thriving App Store, and brought several major game publishers on board.

So, at its 9/9/09 event in San Francisco, Apple spent a good amount of time trash talking the competition.

"People are starting to see what a great gaming device this is," said Apple exec Phil Schiller, according to Engadget's transcript. "When you think about the companies that came before us... when you played those other systems, they seemed so cool, but now when you look at them, they don't stack up against the iPod Touch."

How true are Apple's claims? Can iPhone really rival the DS and PSP? Let's break it down.

The playing field

While sales for the iPhone and iPod Touch still lag behind those for DS and PSP, Apple has caught up faster than many expected.

"The fastest growing product in the [iPod] line is the iPod Touch," Schiller said. "Now, I'm proud to tell you that we've sold 20 million Touches. Couple that with 30 million iPhones. This technology is taking off so quickly."

Fifty million is within arm's reach of the Sony PSP, which has sold 55.9 million units worldwide since its Japanese launch in 2004. The upcoming PSP Go could hasten Sony's pace, but the numbers show Apple overtaking it soon.

The DS is a different story. Nintendo's touch-screen device not only outsells the PSP, but also zooms past even the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3. US customers alone gobbled up more than 123,000 new DS units during the last week of August. Worldwide, its lifetime numbers break the 100 million mark, boosted by two smart device redesigns, including the recent DSi.

"Games are expensive"

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