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Sony NGP vs. Nintendo 3DS: The Fight for Mobile Dominance

by Jack McGrath | February 6, 2011February 6, 2011 11:00 am PDT

Sony NGP and Nintendo 3DS both launch this year, but which new mobile gaming platform is right for you?

Although there is still some ambiguity regarding the exact technical specifications and price point of Sony’s Next Generation Portable (NGP), it is certainly set to battle with Nintendo’s 3DS for dominance in the mobile gaming arena. Despite the fact that the two devices differ greatly in terms of core audiences, they are inevitably bound to clash in an effort to gain consumer attention and developer support.

From what we know about the NGP, it is an impressive device to say the least. Boasting a 5-inch OLED capacitive touchscreen display with a 960 x 544 resolution as well as a multitouch gesture area on the back of the device, it is armed and ready to bring a graphically impressive, intuitive, and immersive experience to hardcore mobile gamers. The next iteration of the PlayStation Portable will feature dual thumb-sticks (not those annoying nubs from its predecessor) alongside a revamped user interface that places a heavy emphasis on location-based social networking as a backdrop for gaming. It’ll run on an ARM CortexA9, a quad-core processor, meaning that it’ll surpass the 3DS in graphical prowess for years to come.

Conversely, the 3DS is not looking to blow gamers away with graphics or processors, but rather establish a consistent, casual user base. Nintendo has decided to accomplish this through the inclusion of a glasses-free 3D display (hence the 3DS moniker), a novelty that’ll stir up buzz about the portable gaming console. Comparatively, its processor is faster than its predecessor but nowhere near Sony’s offering. Alongside this, Nintendo’s handset lacks much of the connectivity solutions of Sony’s device, notably 3G and GPS.

With all of the technical specifications considered, the NGP is the obvious winner, right? How wrong you would be in saying that, considering the fact that the best hardware does not necessarily create the best platform. Historically, the trend has displayed that a device that is affordable and interesting beats one that caters to a select minority of gamers, the hardcore. This was seen in the DS, which completely outsold the PSP despite the fact that it had more raw power.

However, the real winner will be decided by developer preference and support, and right now there is no certain winner. Nintendo has decided to move its first-party titles out over time to keep interest in the device building over the handheld’s lifespan, initially releasing a slew of third-party titles. Third-party titles have always become an issue with Nintendo hardware due to over-saturation of low-quality releases and consumer confusion, and is seems as if this disease will continue to exist with the 3DS. The launch titles, 23 in total, that are going to accompany the 3DS in stores on March 27th are:

  • Pilotwings Resort
  • Nintendogs + Cats
  • Steel Driver
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
  • Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition
  • Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
  • Madden NFL Football
  • The Sims 3
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D
  • Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars
  • Ridge Racer 3D
  • Dual Pen Sports
  • Super Monkey Ball 3D
  • Thor: God of Thunder
  • Crush 3D
  • Bust-a-Move Universe
  • Samurai Warriors: Chronicles
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions
  • Asphalt 3D
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Shadow Wars
  • Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs 3D
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 3D
  • Rayman 3D: Rabbids Travel in Time

On the other hand, the Sony NGP is going to provide more focused content, a consequence of Sony’s significantly harsher quality standards. However, this means that the NGP will not be plagued with the issue of over-saturation, giving a concentrated list of solid titles. Due to the fact that there are no dates that have been given with these (working) titles, it is difficult to say as if Sony will go all-in right off the bat, which will most likely result in a lack of title consistency over the lifespan of the handheld. Here are the games that have been revealed so far:

  • Hot Shots Golf
  • Gravity Daze
  • Killzone
  • Hustle Kings
  • Reality Fighters
  • Smart As
  • Broken
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Little Deviants
  • WipEout
  • Resistance
  • Uncharted

As one can easily see, there is a greater number of 3DS titles set for launch, and an even greater number in development. Only time will tell which of the two consoles will have a better library, but I’m betting my money on the NGP. It might be personal preference, but I would prefer solid, immersive experiences as opposed to light, casual minigames, which is what many of the 3DS games will certainly turn into.

What do you, fellow gamers, think? Are you going to pick up the 3DS or the NGP? Which one do you think will see more success once they are both on market? Let us know in the comments below.


Jack McGrath

Rooted in his childhood obsession with dismantling and reassembling gizmos and gadgets around the house, Jack McGrath's knowledge of programming,...

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