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The battle between the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP handheld game players just heated up again. Faced with the PSP’s movie and music playback capabilities, Nintendo announced yesterday that it will be releasing an adaptor for playing MPEG-4 videos and MP3 tunes. The DS is out now, and the PSP will be out early 2005. The Thunderdome is open for combat: two handhelds enter, one handheld wins.

Though Nintendo has the brand recognition in the handheld space, Sony certainly can’t be counted out of the game. After all, this isn’t the first time Sony has encroached on Nintendo’s surf; just look at how the Playstation stormed the home console arena. I got a DS in the mail a few weeks ago, and have mixed feelings about it. It’s sort of big and clunky compared to the Game Boy Advance. Also, I haven’t seen too many games that really take advantage of what I think is the DS’s coolest feature: the dual touch-screens. Maybe that’s just a matter of time.

Ultimately, the fate of the DS and PSP won’t be decided by movies and music; the real tipping point in the success of any new system comes down to the games.

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