Note: The following first point is obvious to some, but it is only my starting point in this discussion. My main arguement will be the Multiplayer Gameplay along with single player experiences. Expect more soon
Well, we have seen many of these threads in the past, but I would like to create a more controlled and fact-based arguements. I have the opportunity to play both the NDS and the PSP and I must say one thing: There is an obvious winner in a few categories.
So, Is it a portable gaming system?
This is the ultimate question when purchasing a portable gaming system and is also the most overlooked aspect of handhelds now-a-days. I will discuss how the DS is a portable gaming system 100% and how the PSP is only 50% portable in the eyes of a gamer.
The NDS was manufactered/developed by none other than the company that introduced the world into the generation of the gameboy and the most renowned handheld lines ever made. The NDS is not a gameboy, but it is made by the same company that loves its products. The Gameboys were all built with portability in mind. The gameboys were virtually indestructiable when first observed and survived many hardships from children to adults. The same goes for the NDS. The NDS was built with portability and structual integrity in mind. The NDS is both portable in size and portable in handeling. The NDS is nearly indestructable from common accidents and can fall out of your pocket on accident and no worrying is needed. The NDS is considered a 100% portable gaming system because it fits in the owner's pockets and is designed under the assumption that this will be played like a baseball bat in a game, hard hitting and constant use.
The PSP on the other hand is a different story. Sony has had a bad repuation with the creation of the first batch of PS2's that were "faulty". I myself owned one of these first PS2's to be released and can say that I did not feel safe carrying it around from house to house (like I do with all my other systems). This same concept can almost be applied to the PSP. The PSP utilizes a cd-recognizing/reading laser that is placed at the center of the PSP's structure. This shows to faults already: A type of CD format is used (load times) and it is that much easier to break/damage. Nintendo has "stuck" with the catridge aspect for holding their NDS games because they are structually strong and there are no load times when reading off of a cartridge like so. The PSP utilizes a new "CD" format known as the UMD that was specifically designed to be used on this new handheld system.The UMD requires the PSP to load the game through the process of spinning the disc. This means that there will be times in which you must wait a few minutes until you are able to play a game. THUG 2 is a perfect example: It takes about 4-5 minutes just to play 1 level (through the booting from the main menu to the playable area). This format can be easily scratched up and damaged due to the UMD's CD's casing. This outer-shell protects most of the "CD" area like a cartridge shell does to the internal chips of a cartridge, but this shell is much more unstable than the cartridge's shell. On another point, the UMD shell contains an area about 1x1 (inches) of space in which the laser reads the UMD and must thus be revelead to the outside elements and can not contain any interferance.
Now, the first flaw of the PSP in being a portable system is placed on the table, what about the other 25% in which makes it not-so-portable of a system? This last part is the structure/design of the PSP. The first noticable errors were the UMD disc drive opening due to the applying of pressure and the twist of the hands while holding the PSP. This made it so that the UMD would "fly" out of it's readable containment area and move into the open air. This only possed a threat to the UMD, not the PSP as it runs the game without the need of the UMD for the most of the time. The PSP also experienced some button placement issues with the Square button. This button overlapped part of the LCD screen "leftovers" and would (at times) make it harder to recognize the execuation of that key.
So, why are load times and structual erros bad? In the world of handheld gaming, load times were non-existant on most main stream systems and provided users with a direct access and quick access to their gaming experience. The PSP requires you to offer a few minutes of your free time to load the game files and settings. Structure is also very important. If you do not have a structually strong system, you are at risk to damaging it and in the end, buying a new one/replacing the old one.
More to come at a later date. (Multiplayer Aspects, Gameplay, Controls, Innovation, and much, much more)
Note: These observations have been made by myself and I have been a handheld gamer almost since the beginning of the Gameboy and other various handheld systems. I'm in no way saying that the DS is better than the PSP yet. But..through carefully analysis of manufactaors intentions for the system, the DS seems to be going just as Nintendo predicted and wanted.