Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I'm a bit late with this news, but Sony finally made an official announcement on the PSP's successor, after countless leaks and rumors.  The NGP (Next Generation Portable).  I'm guessing the name will change.
Here are the highlights:
- 5" OLED capacitive touch screen (with 4x the resolution of the PSP's screen)
- Dual analog sticks
- Rear touchpad
- Front and rear cameras
- Sixaxis motion sensor (same as the Move)
- Three-axis electronic compass
- Built-in GPS
- Wifi
- Blutooth
- 3G
- Games now run off a proprietary flash storage format, instead of UMDs.
Oh, and thing is practically as powerful as a PS3.  Supposedly.  Developers have been able to port over PS3 titles fairly quickly, making only some graphical sacrifices in the process.
My inner tech-geek sees those stats and passes out.  That is one sexy package Sony is putting out.  Seems to have all the bases covered.  Way more powerful than a 3DS.  More connectivity options.  A little more of everything.
Of course, the PSP had more of everything too and it got crushed by Nintendo.
After my giddiness over the tech specs passed, my first thought was: This thing is going to cost a million dollars!
I'm real curious to see what the retail price is going to be, because anything over $299 will be too high, but even at $299, Sony has got to be taking a huge loss per unit.
Another thing, the NGP is huge!!  At least, it is in relation to other mobile gaming devices.  It definitely isn't portable in the sense that you can't put it in your pocket and go.
I have several concerns with this hand-held.  Size.  Cost.  Battery life and heat output (like I said, it is pretty damn powerful).  Cost of games is a concern too.  Thanks to the app store, the mobile gaming market has exploded, but with that boom, price expectations have also changed.  .99 cent iPhone games are the norm, with "premium" games costing no more than $9.99.  And those are looked at as pretty damn expensive.  Given the power of the NGP, the cost of game development has got to be pretty huge, so the games themselves have got to cost quite a bit as well.  Granted, there is still a definite market out there for this type of portable gaming, but it is much smaller than the market for $.99 iPhone games.
My other concern is that I see this thing going the same route the PSP took.  Basically, trying to emulate the console experience on a console.  But that is not what I am looking for in a portable game.  I want something accessible, fairly easy to pick up and play, and most importantly, a experience that I am able to jump into quickly, play for a short amount of time if needed, and get out of just as quickly.  If I want a deep RPG, or action shooter, or a game with an elaborate story line, then I actually prefer to experience that on my couch, on my console.  I am not one of those gamers (at least anymore) that will play a portable gaming machine while sitting at home.  My consoles offer that experience in a much better package.
We'll see how it goes for Sony.  Like I said, I absolutely love the technology, I just don't see me using this device on a daily or even weekly basis.  I'm definitely not going to be carrying it around with me wherever I go.  So if reserved for road trips and vacations, then I don't think I can justify the cost.
I'm not that interested in the 3DS either, so it looks like I'll continue to get my mobile gaming fix from my iPhone.

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