The last few days have seen the end to much fervent rumour regarding the second generation of handheld video games consoles from Sony. The wait is over as the NGP has finally been announced.
After many months, if not years, of waiting, Sony has finally announced the device that will replace the PSP. Codenamed NGP, this Next Generation Portable video games console comes packed with many features which take hand held gaming up a couple of notches. These start with a 5-inch OLED touch screen, which offers a glorious level of detail and sharpness. The device is powered by a quad core processor, which is not far away from the PS3 in its power.
Also, the rear of the device holds a touch panel, which is an innovative way of allowing the user to control the action in a particularly intuitive fashion. Adding to the feeling of control is the inclusion of double analogue sticks. Many gamers will certainly be glad for this feature, after finding the single nub system of the PSP infuriating in its inflexibility.
Two cameras also join the party, one front facing and one rear, which it is hoped will allow the NGP to take advantage of emerging augmented reality technology, as well as allowing for more advanced social networking.
The NGP is due for release at some point this year, although prices have not yet been released. Sony have been beaten to the market by Nintendo with their 3DS so we must wait and see if this will hurt its chances of success. Having said that, the two devices are arguably much different to each other.
Finally, the NGP does away with the ill fated UMD format. Games will be provided either as a download, or on a new proprietary memory card.
The NGP will follow the release of the 3DS from Nintendo. An update of the DS lite, the new Nintendo handheld adds a 3D screen along with higher screen resolution to the DS in the hope of extending its undoubted success.
It ought to be said that these Sony and Nintendo products are aimed at different markets. The Sony NGP will most likely appeal to more serious gamers who require the additonal controls along with a large screen to be immersed. Indeed it is likely that using the NGP will feel only slightly removed from playing a game on a full games console. This is made more likely by it's incredible processing power.
The Nintendo however is aimed at a more relaxed, recreational user. The 3D screen offers excitement, and the games lineup, along with the mainly touch screen interface allow for more novelty experiences. Sony have combatted this by introducing their own touch interface and will hope that they are able to satisfy both the hardcore and casual gamer groups.
The early evidence is that Sony may well be able to do this. By incorproating both touch interfaces and button controls everyone is kept happy. Further to this, at the same ceremony, Sony announced PlayStation Suite. This is a cross platform application that will be compatible with Android smartphones allowing for mobile phone users to play PlayStation branded games on the go. These games will of course also be compatible with the NGP.
In summary, the NGP looks set to redefine mobile gaming. It is a device that ticks every box of every gamers wishlist. The only question mark is price. Surely they can't sell such a powerful piece of technology at anything other than a very high price. Time will tell.
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