PlayStation NGP – First Comments

Now that Sony has unveiled the first info on the successor to the PSP, the various mega sites have beaten the NGP to death with their coverage, predictions, options, etc.

To keep things short and simple, I will offer up a few comments of some items that caught my attention.

The NGP will contain 3 motion sensors, including six-axis motion support. It will be interesting to see how well this capability is implemented in games; hopefully it will not just be a cheap gimmick.

The NGP is set to have front and rear cameras, which should be perfect for practical applications such as video conferencing. Gaming should also benefit – basically a built in PlayStation Eye Camera (or two).

The NGP will have touch screen technology. This one is pretty obvious, but when there was a lot of speculation around the PSP Go, a touch screen was in demand.

GPS will be built into every NGP. There should be plenty of apps in the work for instructions to the nearest bar or cheapest place to buy some new NGP game.

The NGP will support Wi-Fi. Let’s just hope this works if you are off the 3G network, either by physical location or lack of funds to support your mobile phone needs.

And oh by the way, the NGP is obviously a phone. I thought I would save that one for last and make a clever joke, but in retrospect, the implementation and execution were poor.

All of this is great stuff, but what about the price? Predictions range from $249-349 according to analysts quoted on PlayStation LifeStyle. The PSP has notoriously poor battery life, so Sony better be able to muster 15+ hrs for a full charge.

Of course for a portable gaming device, games matter. Sony is starting off with a solid library of PSOne Classics to play on the go, Minis, and whatever else is in their current PSP PSN stable of games. Will that be enough? I still hate the fact that not all UMD based games are available in digital format on the PSN. At this point in the PSP lifecycle, I believe that is unlikely to change, and I think there is almost zero chance that Sony will offer some sort of conversion utility.


2 thoughts on “PlayStation NGP – First Comments”

  1. I was bullish on the PSP back in 2004/2005. Couldn’t understand how people kept buying Gameboys and the PSP not only promised PS2 on a handheld, it had that big bright color screen — PDAs at the time didn’t have such a screen and they were going for over $300.

    I picked up a launch unit at Target and got Lumines. But I thought about it and while I liked good puzzle games, I couldn’t see spending over $300 just to play that game — other launch titles didn’t interest me. So I returned it.

    I never did pick up a PSP. There was no compelling reason to buy sports games on both a console and a handheld, they were pretty much two self-contained experiences. Maybe if I commuted on a train or flew a lot, I would have bitten.

    On a purely technological level, the NGP is very appealing. But I think it may have a tougher time even than the original PSP. I’ve mentioned smart phones in the past. Now tablets are set to explode. Is there room for probably a $300 device with $50 games in this scenario? Especially for people who have smart phones, tablets and a console at home? Would you rather spend $50 to play Uncharted on a 5-inch screen or $60 to play Uncharted on your big screen with surround sound?

    Smart phones sell tens of millions a quarter, sometimes over 10 million in a month. Sony will be lucky to sell a couple of million in the first year. Even if there was big demand — it could be popular in Japan — they may have problems building enough, with components like the OLED screen being supply-constrained.

    Personally, if there were enough non-gaming apps, like a good GPS navigation app, I might be interested in a 3G unlocked model, for use overseas. But it’s not going to run Android so Sony would have to try to draw developers.

    I would think they will not encourage smart phone games developers because they can’t collect licensing fees from them and their licensed developers may not be too happy about putting out $50 games to compete against much cheaper games on the same platform. But to really get good use out of the cameras, GPS, electronic compass, 3G, etc, they need 3rd party development.

  2. Good post with some great points. I think the 3DS will sell like hotcakes, so if Sony can nail the price they may be OK. It really comes does to price point and games. If the games are not differentiated from the iPhone and the like, there is really no point.

    I have written on this some over the last part of 2010; the PSP offers some great experiences, but the prices (in general) suck and the battery life makes for a poor portable gaming experience.

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