SONY NGP AS PSP SUCCESSORBy rmr_view • Feb 1st, 2011 • Category: Electronic & Electric
Sony said the successor to its PlayStation Portable (PSP) machine will go on sale late this year,the next generation portable Sony NGP offering the quality of a home console in an on-the-go machine boasting a screen double the size of smartphones. Sony is trying to get an edge over Nintendo Co, maker of the DS handheld game machine, Xbox 360 home console and apple iPad also iPhone. The popularity of smartphones including the iPhone is a potential threat to game machine makers as more people play games, watch video, send e-mail and chat on cellphones. People are also using other portable devices such as Apple’s iPod and iPad to play games.
SONY NGP AS PSP SUCCESSOR
Sony NGP comes packed with motion sensor and GPS location technology so that gamers can tilt and sway the machine to play golf games, kill monsters and experience other virtual realities. It has a touch panel in the front and touch pads in the back to allow players to tap on the machine to move images, in addition to the usual buttons and switches.
Also provided is a third-generation wireless connection plus the already available WiFi, allowing for more social networking and downloads. Its 5in screen is OLED – a different technology from liquid-crystal display – for good colour and image quality about 4x better than the current PSPand feel as playing on the PlayStation3 home console.
The NGP is at a glance similar to its predecessor, but a closer examination at the hardware reveals that the NGP, true to its name, has way, way more features than the PSP. The most pronounced additions to the device are the dual analogue sticks (which is particularly promising for first-person shooters), the front/ rear cameras and the larger 5in Organic LED screen.
The 5in screen is actually a capacitive touchscreen, so we might have accidentally fired a missile at an ally or something. Of course, touchscreens are pretty much standard fare for mobile devices these days, but in a move that nobody saw coming, Sony also added a capacitive touchpad to the rear of the NGP.
The game screen – and hence the game world -was essentially sandwiched between two touch sensors, allowing the player to “pinch” and “poke” at elements in the game from different directions; like the game world was on a piece of paper in your hands. It’s a different take on user input and, combined with elements such as the six-axis motion sensors, it underlines the NGP’s efforts at making a unique and immersive user interface.
Now, given technology’s inexorable march towards social networking, it’s inevitable that the other big push that Sony is making for the NGP is its networking aspect.
As an example of this, every game on the NGP will feature a “Live Area” accessible from the NGP menu screen; this is a combination of a boot screen, an online updates page and a place where you can see what other players are doing or chat with them.
If the Live Area feature is reminiscent in functionality to a Facebook page, then the NGP’s location services – such as its ability to let you know what nearby players are playing – kind of reminds us of FourSquare.
We’re not entirely sure yet why we’d want to know what gamers around us are playing, but we’re certainly interested in using the location services to figure out where’s that guy who keeps beating us at Call of Duty. Sony, please put that feature in.
Now, let’s wrap things up for the NGP: The 3G-and-WiFi-enabled portable gaming system is eschewing the less-flexible UMD media in favour of downloadable games and a new Flash-based memory card format exclusive for the NGP.
Also, PlayStation games developed for Android will be compatible with the NGP, as Sony’s planning on a lot of connection between the two sister systems.
The NGP is slated for release during the 2011 holiday season, but alas, further confirmed details are scarce.
We’re still eagerly waiting to find out the Sony NGP price as well as the list of launch titles, but for now Sony’s just happy enough to just tease us with the general concepts for its Next Generation Portable.
Any way you look at it, the surprises revealed at Sony’s PlayStation Meeting holds a lot of promise for the future of portable gaming. Having a feature-laden successor to the PSP is always a welcome thing among gamers, but it’s the PlayStation-Android collaboration that’s even more exciting as it has the potential to cause a big change in the world of mobile gaming.
Sony’s new portable gaming platforms look to be very attractive prospects for game developers, but frankly it’s the gamers that would benefit the most from the potentially large library of games that could be developed. The only thing we as gamers need to do is to wait and see if those games live up to our now high expectations.
Until the next time Sony shares more details with us, we’re going to keep on wondering and anticipating what the next generation of portable gaming has in store.
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