Sony finally announced the successor to the PlayStation Portable, codenamed “NGP” (Next Generation Portable), at an event in Japan last night. It seems all our speculation during this week’s Next Gen News podcast was not in vain. The Sony NGP is looking to include a lot of the features we discussed. The NGP is said to run games at near-PS3 graphical levels. Tech demos of Lost Planet 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 were shown running on the device and looking incredible.
The Sony NGP is scheduled to launch this holiday season.
From a technical standpoint, the NGP is quite impressive. There is a 5" 960 x 544 resolution OLED screen which is multi-touch, as well as a multi-touch rear trackpad. The device has cameras in both the front and back. There is six-axis motion control. A built-in GPS will get you where you need to go. And finally, the NGP has Wi-Fi and additional 3G support.
The device is being constructed around five key pillars, says Sony: LiveArea, Location-based gaming, Social Connectivity, Merging Real and Virtual (this probably has to do with the incredible graphics on the handheld), and PlayStation Suite compatibility.
The first is a new touch-based User Interface called LiveArea. LiveArea will replaced the XMB bar seen on normal PlayStation devices and lets players access the PlayStation Store, Trophies, browse the internet, message friends and get to all other applications on the device. LiveArea also keeps you up to date on all the games you own, filling you in on the latest news for each title, as well as letting you know if your friends are playing any of the games you own.
The second pillar is Location-based Gaming. Sony’s NGP will include an application called “Near,” which tracks your location and logs where you’ve been. Think of it like foursquare. However, Near can also be used to see what NGP players in your immediate vicinity are playing. You can then buy the games those people are playing right through Near so you can join in on the fun.
Finally, PlayStation Suite will “provide PlayStation content to other devices,” including Android devices. PlayStation Suite allows Sony to emulate past PlayStation titles for the new NGP and Android mobile devices. Some of the titles shown off include Cool Boarders 2, Syphon Filter, Rally Cross, Wild Arms, and MediEvil. Sony wants Suite to blow up and become a new framework for mobile gaming development. The PlayStation Suite will be available by the end of this year.
Here’s the full rundown of technical specifications for the Sony NGP:
CPU: ARM Cortex-A9 core (4 core)
External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen: 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED
Touchscreen: Multi-touch screen (capacitive type)
Rear touchpad: Multi-touch pad (capacitive type)
Cameras: Front camera; rear camera
Sound: Built-in stereo speakers; built-in microphone
Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer); three-axis electronic compass
Location: Built-in GPS; Wi-Fi location service support
Keys/Switches: PS button; power button; directional buttons (Up/Down/Right/Left); action buttons (Triangle, Circle, Cross, Square); shoulder buttons (Right/Left); right and left sticks; 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)