Sony unveil ‘Next Generation Portable’ (PSP2)

Jeremy Clarkson and the Sony NGP aka the PSP2

The rumour mill has been churning for the last few weeks, with talk of the PSP2 being as powerful as a PlayStation 3 and launching with a Virtual Jeremy Clarkson game. Now the day and hour has come – 3PM January 27th 2011, Japanese time – and Sony are unveiling the next portable PlayStation to the world. They don’t call it the PSP2 – they now call it the Next Generation Portable or NGP.

Sony Next Generation Portable - NGP

Whilst the NGP looks much like the original PSP, it now has two analogue sticks and a high resolution 960×544 pixel 5-inch OLED screen. Aside from the looks though, it packs a bunch of new features – a touch sensitive backside, 3G data connectivity (and WiFi obviously), GPS, motion sensors, front and rear cameras, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU (for comparison, the iPad packs a single-core Cortex-A8) and a quad-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU (it’s speculated that the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will sport a dual-core version of the same SGX543 GPU).

NGP gameplayGone are the PSP’s UMD discs, replaced with flash cards that seem a lot like SD cards. Online connectivity is one of the big selling points – with downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, rankings, achievements, location-based services, and all that jazz. Among the first games shown were Killzone, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty, and a whole bunch of titles which look to be roughly PS3 quality (the system doesn’t have to be as powerful as a PS3 to output similar graphics on to a lower resolution screen).

Sony NGP - the PSP2

Uncharted NGP

Sony say it will release this holiday season, so Christmas 2011 then. It all looks very nice so far, and very much in the same style as the original PSP and a lot of the predictions. We’re still awaiting the pricing.

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  • “a touch sensitive backside”? Ooh matron!

    So basically Sony are going with pretty much the same strategy that worked so underwhelmingly for the PSP? I quite like the name though.

  • Yeh it’s very much a beefier PSP with all of those features geeks predicted in their wishlists (a touch panel, two thumbsticks and a high-resolution screen being exactly as predicted).

    I’m not sure if repeating the PSP strategy is really the best move, but the hardware is predictably good.

  • Oh, they’re still unveiling the games – Sega are porting Yakuza to the NGP. Actually looks really good, although one of those “why wouldn’t I just play it on the PS3?” things.

  • If it can play ps2 games similarily to how psp played ps1, then I’m sold. If it can’t – well then, there’s always hacks.

  • Looking at the port of Metal Gear Solid 4 (running directly ported PS3 code on the NGP), it can probably play PS3 games near-perfectly (on its lower resolution screen). Its quad-core GPU is pretty capable (I think about 8-10x more than the current iPad GPU).

  • The Unreal 3 engine is up and running on it. It should make it easier for developers to bring their titles to it.

    Glad to see PopCap onboard too. I really like their past games.

  • Aside from the issue of just playing PS3 ports on this thing (why would I buy games on both systems?), my main concern is just the battery life.

    It’s literally packing about twice the performance of the highest end mobile phones predicted to be released later this year (they’re predicting a dual-core A9 and a dual-core SGX543 in the iPhone 5)… and those phones already have shitty battery life.

    I suppose if they put a big, chunky battery in the back, they might manage 5-6 hours, which is just about acceptable – and fortunately for Sony, the 3DS is supposed to have a similarly terrible battery life.

  • Monster Hunter Portable 3, Resistance and Hot Shots Golf were also shown.

    Capcom has Lost Planet 2 running on it, but apparently it’s just a tech demo.

  • How the “touch sensitive backside” came about:

    “So, how do we follow up the PSP?”
    “Well, the Nintendo DS is popular. How about a touch screen?”
    “Touch screen my arse!”

    I have nothing helpful to say.

  • “I’m not sure if repeating the PSP strategy is really the best move, but the hardware is predictably good.”

    Haven’t you heard? Repeating the same action again and again but expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

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