I wouldn’t say that. PSP was relevant.
The PSP has distinctive characteristics that were cutting edge in handheld gaming. Most notably, it was more powerful, and that drew a lot of interest in the console. The Gamecube, on the other hand, lacked any cutting edge features: while it was more powerful than the PS2, this power was neither cutting edge nor of interest to any significant number of people; the XBox was the cutting edge console in terms of power: the PS2 had DVDs and DVD playback: and ended up getting the vast majority of the exclusives that generation. Despite Gamecube having more power, developers still offered more features and content to PS2 games - in some parts because the controller on PS2 was more versatile (see Capcom fighters and SSX games) and others because there was a lot more space on the discs, and others because PS2 was perceived by devs as having the fan base of the games they were releasing.
When it came to content, PSP and DS both had a significant amount of exclusive content; the Gamecube’s third party support was your everyday repeatable multiplats (Ubisoft, EA, and Activision sorts of triple A shovel-ware, often spotted, though not always, by the year printed at the end of the game’s title).
The big issue with Gamecube is that (despite having a handful of survival and horror games) it was positioned in the industry as a console for children; this was its primary niche - while the PS2 took the crown as the mainstream console. The PSP was a first stab for Sony into the handheld market and it was a victory since it competed with DS in the mainstream handheld market, and wasn’t relegated to success in a niche like the Gamecube. The DS just happened to smoke the PSP in the end; and they did it primarily with what could properly be called a gimmick upgrade (DS Lite); and I don’t mean it like how people insulted Wii as a “gimmick” to try and downplay the fact that motion controls were an actual new way to play games that tens of millions of people found fun, and not just a bell or whistle to offer shine (Wii’s sleekness was a gimmick, though).
That’s my take on it at least. Gamecube was an inadequate follow-up to what is Nintendo’s biggest blunder in the company’s history: using bulky expensive cartridges on the N64 - which precluded devs from releasing their content on the console: it was enough that even Squaresoft quit and released some of the most significant games in history on another console; and they weren’t alone, many others left or did not release any significant games on N64 as a result of cartridges (Capcom had a boom period on PSX, and it could have been in N64 too: but it took them FAR longer to get a lower quality RE2 out on N64 due to cartridges). This is what Gamecube needed to make up for, and instead it was the only one of the four big company consoles that lacked any cutting edge appeal (DC’s cutting edge status was cut short when PS2 released, and it pretty much died on impact).
Well, I agree with a lot of what you said, but I'll just list ways in which GC/PSP were similar. Gamecube's hardware was a misstep with its small disks, and lack of DVD playback. PSP's hardware was a misstep with it's, battery life sucking, disc drive in a portable, and requirement for proprietary memory sticks. Gamecube and PSP were both more powerful than DS and PS2 (but I agree that at least PSP was significantly more powerful). PS2 got the bulk of the 3rd party exclusives, while Gamecube mostly got ports of AAA games that came to all three platforms. DS got the bulk of 3rd party exclusives, while PSP mostly got (heavily downgraded) ports of PS2, and PS3 games. It also got a few ports of PS1 games that weren't really remakes, just slightly enhanced ports of old PS1 games.
I'll just list non-port, DS/PSP exclusive 3rd party games rated 80 and higher..
Valkyre Profile Remake
MGS: Portable Ops
Half Minute Hero
Valkyria Chronicles II
Megaman Powered Up
Tales of Eternia
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core
Megaman Maverick Hunter X
Socom: US Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo
Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman
Dissidia Final Fantasy
The number of 3rd party PSP games that were either ports of PS2/PS3 games or quickly ported to PS2 is pretty huge. I have half a mind to take out the MGS games since those were eventually included in collections, but I don't think that would be fair, since those collections took a long time to get made.
Give me a minute and I'll update this with 3rd Party DS games for comparison.
Okay DS games...
Dawn of Sorrow
The World Ends with You
Dragon Quest 9
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Portrait of Ruin
Final Fantasy IV Remake
Dragon Quest V Remake
Tony Hawk's American Sk8land
SMT: Devil Survivor
Professor Layton and the Last Spector
Bleach Blade of Life
Ninja Gaiden DragonSword
Phoenix Wright Ace Attourney
Etrian Odyssey II
Phoenix Wright: Trails and Tribulations
Bleach: Dark Souls
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2
Trauma Center 2
SMT: Strange Journey
SMT: Devil Survivor 2
Sonic Rush Adventure
Etrian Odyssey III
Anyway, it's almost 2:1 in DS's favor.
And sure, I could have counted games rated below 80, or counted games with fewer than 10 reviews. But I think the outcome would have been pretty much the same.
Overall the DS' library is just flat out better than the PSP's hands down, just like how the PS2's library is just flat out better than the GC's. But that doesn't mean PSP/Gamecube weren't worth owning. And I agree that PSP faired much better than GC in terms of sales, standing out (via graphics upgrades), and library. Gamecube mostly got stomped by PS2, and barely treaded water vs Xbox. GC's 22ish million sales were pretty pathetic. Meanwhile PSP went head to head vs DS and got a respectable 80 million units sold.
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