Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sony Announces Next-Gen Portable, Coming This Holiday

Hot on the heels of Nintendo’s 3DS announcement last week, Sony held a press conference yesterday in Japan to announce their newest handheld device. Being referred to by its codename NGP (Next Generation Portable), the device was said to be available this holiday season, though a prices is still undetermined.

The NGP (being dubbed PSP2 by most major outlets) will feature a five-inch (16:9) 960x540 OLED screen with multi-touch capability, a rear touch pad, front and rear camera, built in speakers and microphone, a six-axis motion sensing system (three-axe gyroscope and three-axis accelerometer, and a three-axis electronic compass. The device will be able to connect through 3G or Wi-Fi, and have Bluetooth capability. One of the newest features of the device is the addition of two analog sticks for natural control in games. Sony claims the device, which uses an ARM Cortex-A9 core and a SGX543MP4+ GPU processor, will be able to produce console quality graphics equal to that of the PlayStation 3. For a comparison of size to other mobile devices, Kotaku put together the chart below.

The device will utilize small flash memory cards for games, allowing for add-ons, DLC, or save data to be stored direction on the card. Sony also says that they will be able to provide memory cards with higher capacity in the future to allow developers to store more data and better games.

Sony also announced its list of 82 publishers and developers supporting the new device. A few demos were showing including Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, and Monster Hunter. A new game titled Dungeon Defenders by Epic Games was shown, touting that it was originally designed for the PlayStation 3. Activision also announced it was bringing the Call of Duty franchise to the NGP. The full list of all 82 publishers and developers can be found on Pocket Gamer.

Sony did announce that the device would be available this holiday season, but no price was announced. In an interview with Game Informer’s Phil Kollar after the press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment president of worldwide studios Shu Yoshida said, "From the very beginning of the project -- since 2008 -- pricing was one of the considerations that we had. Hopefully when we announce the price, people will see the proper value." When asked about the PlayStation 3’s launch price, Yoshida laughed and said, “It’s not going to be $599.”

Let’s hope Sony has learned from its predecessor handheld device, the PSP. If I had to guess a pricing point, I would hope it not be more than $299. While the device itself is much bigger than the first PSP, it still holds the mental vice on people that something smaller should cost less. When compared with the PlayStation 3, this is what will be running through the minds of consumers.

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