Gamers around the world love when new consoles come out. It used to be that handhelds and consoles were treated different in that regard; gamers around the world only loved when Nintendo’s new handhelds came out. Seriously though, Sony’s PSP has fought tooth and nail to keep some kind of hold on the market. It wasn’t until the past two or three years that they finally started to see any kind of real return, despite the release of the PSP Go.
Just a few days ago Sony officially announced the existence of their new handheld, currently codenamed Next Generation Portable (NGP). Why should you care? There are currently three competitors in the handheld market: 1) Nintendo’s DS and soon to be released 3DS; 2) Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod via the iTunes store; 3) and coming in a solid third place is Sony’s PSP. Via the Katamari Damacy method, Sony’s new device roles predecessor and its competitors into one nice package. That means that this new handheld has the potential to snipe its competitors fans. Gamers love having the most capable device, especially if it affordable and Sony promises that the NGP will be affordable.
The PSP has gone through several phases in order to figure out its identity and, for most gamers, none of those felt quite right. Either the pricing was too high or it felt uncomfortable to use. Sony assures us that the new oval design is very comfortable to hold over extended gaming sessions. In the face of its identity issues, Sony decided to make this the all-in-one handheld device minus 3D.
To be honest, 3D seems to be a gimmick at the moment anyway, but with Nintendo set to make some serious bank it is hard to wonder why they didn’t just throw that in to the melting pot as well. The NGP sports a larger screen and dual touchscreens (one is on the back). As well as all of this good stuff:
• CPU: ARM® Cortex™-A9 core (4 core)
• GPU: SGX543MP4+
• External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
• Rear touchpad: Multi touchpad (capacitive type)
• Cameras: Front camera, Rear camera
• Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
• Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass
• Location: Built-in
GPS, Wi-Fi location service support
• Keys / Switches: PS button, Power button, Directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left), Action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square), Shoulder buttons (Right/Left), Right stick, Left stick, START button, SELECT button, Volume buttons
• Wireless communications: Mobile network connectivity (3G), IEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode), Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR （A2DP/AVRCP/HSP）
What does all of this mean to you? It means this is a PSP with a right stick and in a shape that is hopefully better for longer play time. Oh, and it’s powerful as hell. Hideo Kojima did a tech demo running Metal Gear Solid 4 and says the NGP has the same (or close to the same) power as the PS3. Kojima is very excited to see what people are going to do with it. It has all the functionality of the old PSP (admittedly not hard as long as you have a screen and some buttons) and both of its competitors (minus the 3D). The possibility for games is fairly unlimited.
For those wondering about the games, the NGP will feature flash cartridge based games (no more UMDs). That is a bummer for those who have a UMD collection out there and Sony hasn’t released any information on whether or not there would be a way to port your existing collection to NGP. If they go the route they did with the PSP Go, I wouldn’t hold your breath for being able to port your collection.
What do you think? Are you excited about this new handheld?