Today Sony have finally confirmed their next generation portable gaming system or NGP as they are referring to it. Although they didn’t confirm an actual release date they have said it will make its debut at the end of 2011. So this holiday season you could be gaming on what Sony are calling the “Ultimate Portable Entertainment System”.
So what do we now know about it, and does it live up to the many rumours that have been circulating over the past 12 months? Let’s look between the lines of the press release to see what we can find.
With Wi-Fi and 3G network connectivity Sony are claiming “infinite possibilities for users to encounter, connect, discover, share and play with friends wherever they are.” Many of you will look towards your cell/mobile phone at this stage and see that it does in fact also have Wi-Fi and 3G, so nothing really new there, but it is a technological leap from the PSP.
Stunning OLED and Revolutionary User Interface
The NGP has a multi-touch 5-inch organic light emitting display (OLED) as the front display and in addition to their it has a multi-touch pad on the rear. This is definitely a new innovation and will add a new dimension to portable gaming. In Sony’s words users will be able to “interact directly with games in three dimension-like motion, through “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” moves of the fingers.”
This sounds extremely impressive and will require gamers to learn a new way of controlling games by using both the front and the back screen to interact with the game. Like most innovations it will all depend on how it is incorporated into the gameplay on whether it feels like an awkward addon or a fully integrated part of the game.
Super Oval Design and Dual Analog Sticks
Let’s stop for just a second and take a deep breath, Sony have listened to the masses, Dual Analog Sticks. Here is the feature many people wanted on the first PSP, they were crying out for it on the PSP Go and now they have their wish, yes the NGP will have dual analog sticks. While the description of the design being ‘super’ seems like marketing hype it is still good to know that you won’t be carrying around a ugly device that looks like the distant cousin of a brick. “NGP adopts the Super Oval Design form factor, created to fit comfortably in users’ hands.”
LiveArea is a feature that will be packed into every single game that is developed for the NGP. What does it do? Sony claim, “Users will have access to the latest information of games provided from SCE and 3rd party developers and publishers through PlayStation Network.” A main feature of LiveArea will be the Activity log that will be constantly updated to show you any accomplishments from users playing the same game. Considering the praise that Autolog, that is part of the recently released Need For Speed, received then this could be a masterstroke on Sony’s part as it will add a competitive edge to every game.
Near is a geo-location feature that will lets users know what is being played by your PlayStation friends in the near vicinity, it will also tell you what they have been playing recently.
New Game Medium
The NGP will be using a new flash card which has been developed for the new handheld to store games and game add-ons. This leaves the door open to use higher capacity flash cards in the future as they are developed.
NGP will feature not one, but two built-in cameras. One at the front and one at the rear. It will also feature three motion sensors, gyroscope, accelerometer and electronic compass, so expect these to have game features that take advantage of them.
The other major announcement today from Sony is around PlayStation Suite (PS Suite), which will also closely coordinate with NGP. “The newly developed and released game content for Android based portable devices can also be enjoyed on NGP. As a result, users will have access to not only the most leading-edge content, but also some of the more casual experiences that typify the mobile market place.” Platform Nation will bring you more details on PS Suite later today.
How about a table summarising the specs for the NGP? Cast your eyes down below as Platform Nation has what you want.
|CPU||ARM® CortexTM-A9 core (4 core)|
|External Dimensions||Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)|
|5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
|Rear touch pad||Multi touch pad (capacitive type)|
|Cameras||Front camera, Rear camera|
|Sound||Built-in stereo speakers
|Sensors||Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass|
Wi-Fi location service support
|Keys / Switches||PS 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?|
So now the details are released into the wild, what are your thoughts? Leave comments below to let every at Platform Nation know if you think Sony have created the portable gaming system of your dreams, or is it too little too late?
(Images: AV Watch, Japan)