Here you have it, the next portable console from the makers of the PS3 and the PSP. This is codenamed NGP: Next Generation Portable.
This device has been rumored and denied dozens of times over the last several years. Every time fans clamored for the next step in portable gaming, Sony answered with an upgrade to the PSP. We’ve seen several models, and each time we were excited and a little disappointed. Now? The NGP is coming.
And no, it isn’t a phone. Yesterday saw the spill of a prototype of the former PlayStation Phone; it’s now called the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. By changing the name of the PlayStation Phone to what you’ve just read, Sony’s made the division in their product offerings instantly apparent.
So, there it is, in all its glory. The NGP. Beyond just a clip, we’re going to run down some of the specs and games revealed during today’s press conference. Then we’ll follow that up with some of our own insight. Once we’re done, take some time to strap in and tell us exactly how what you think of the new NGP.
NGP Tech Specs
- Two Analog Sticks
- Front and Rear Cameras
- 960 x 544 Resolution (4x the PSP)
- 5 inch OLED screen
- Screen is touch capable.
- Front and back touch pads for additional control.
- 3G and Wi-Fi Capable
- Flash Card Media
- Motion Sensors
- “The most advanced CPU in its class.”
- New UI: LiveArea. A place to see what friends are doing, communicate, find games, check out earned trophies and launch media.
- LAUNCHES HOLIDAY 2011
The OLED Screen is Touch Based
That’s right, this sucker packs a gorgeous OLED display. Battery saving, high contrast-ratio wielding and glorious refresh rate rocking, the NGP will have one of the best displays available. The resolution comes in at 960 x 544, 5x that of the PSP. And, go figure, it’s touch-based.
Perhaps it’s to provide an answer to applications from Apple and Android or games from the DS. Regardless, touch screen based control is now a Sony thing as well.
As Nintendo goes, it seems, so goes the gaming world. The first thumb-controlled analog stick, first rumble feedback, first touch control and first motion control all belong to Nintendo.
The NGP will see a mesh of motion and touch based control. The front is a touch screen, the rear is an equally sized touch pad and the unit has a gyrosensor. This makes for all sorts of interesting ways to play. Users have every possible option in front of them, so hopefully developers will take the device and make games capable of both analog only and touch only controls.
Convergence on the NGP
Sony touted ways in which this handheld will immerse gamers. One way is by means of controlling the in-game camera. Players will be able to use the six-axis to tilt their perspective. The concept was demoed with Hot Shots Golf. As the system was tilted, the camera was tilted and the perspective was tilted.
What happened to the UMD?
The software will not be the same format as the original PSP’s. UMDs are out, memory sticks are in. It seems odd that Sony would be willing to slash apart their pre-existing library by removing the UMD drive, but they’d only be following in the footsteps of the DSi and the 3DS. Nintendo gamers lost the ability to play GBA games, now Sony gamers won’t have access to those PSP classics they already own.
Unless they download them from the PSN on their NGP. PSP games will be available in that capacity. No word on pricing or timing, yet.
Alongside the Wi-Fi option, players will be able to use their 3G connection to download games, movies and music. Players will be able to see what nearby folks are diving in to on their NGP with an application called “Near.”
This whole location based gaming thing will probably be great for places like Japan. That country is known for public gaming and long commutes, two things that make location based gaming very appealing. For those of us in the States? How often do you see someone sitting next to you for an extended period of time with their DS or PSP? Unless you ride a train for a good bit of your day, probably not too much.
Two Analog Sticks
This is the part that I’m most excited about. The NGP will be adventure gaming capable with the extra thumbstick. I cannot wait to sit down and play through Uncharted or a new Ratchet & Clank with two sticks at the ready.
And that’s it. We’ll likely get hi-res shots and a proper press release concerning the system and all of its features in the coming day or so. We’ll post that info then.
The price point was not announced and will likely be held until E3, if we were guessing.
Your turn. What do you think of the NGP?