7 Things to Know About Sony's NGP

By  |  Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

In typical Sony fashion, the newly-announced “next-generation portable,” or NGP, brings the kitchen sink to the console wars. It’s got every type of gaming input possible, hardware that beats any smartphone or portable game console and a 5-inch OLED screen.

I’m not in Tokyo, where Sony held a press conference for the new portable game console, but I’ve been digesting the press releases and news reports. Here’s what I think are the big takeaways from Sony’s NGP reveal:

Beastly hardware

The NGP’s quad-core processor is a reminder of how little video game hardware has processed since Sony launched the original PSP in 2004. This handheld is supposedly capable of running Playstation 3 games. I value good game design over raw performance, but that’s impressive.

Another input revolution, or gimmick?

While the NGP’s combination of joysticks, gryoscopes, buttons and touch screen will allow for all the types of portable gaming you can imagine today, the thing to watch for is its rear-facing touch panel. I see great potential in being able to interact directly with a screen without actually it, but I don’t want to see rear-touch controls tacked on in the same way that Wii games occasionally make you shake the controller for no good reason.

Done with disks, but down on downloads

Sony’s ditching the PSP’s UMD (Universal Media Disc) format in favor of specialized flash memory cards that store the game, additional downloadable content and saved game files. Think of it as a high-tech version of old-school game cartridges. Publishers will be able to sell their games as downloads as well, but with the NGP, Sony is conceding that the download-only PSP Go experiment was a failure.

Not for pockets

The NGP measures 7.2 inches long, 3.3 inches wide and 0.73 inches thick, making it a bit bigger than the current-generation PSP-3000 (6.6-by-2.8-by-0.63 inches). In creating a hardware monster, Sony seems content to sacrifice portability, and I think that’s fine. The NGP needn’t pretend to be a smartphone.

Bringing the A-games

Sony’s built a strong stable of exclusive games over the last few years, including Uncharted, Killzone, Resistance, LittleBigPlanet and WipeOut. And while some of these games have gone portable before, they were always held back by the PSP’s lack of dual-analog sticks and inferior graphics. This time, they’ll have a better shot at feeling like real console games, especially with the NGP’s bulked-up processors.

3G, in theory

As rumored, the NGP will have 3G capabilities on board, but what Sony intends to do with it is unclear. Will Sony work with wireless carriers to get a small allotment of free data, or will the user pay a monthly bill? With the current state of wireless data in the United States, I’m still skeptical that 3G coverage makes sense for a dedicated gaming devices. In Europe, at least, Wi-Fi-only models will be available.

Cross-platform insurance

Sony’s other big announcement besides the NGP was Playstation Suite, a software framework for both the handheld console and Android phones. Looks like Sony’s taking an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach to smartphone gaming. Smart.

The unknowns

Here’s a quick rundown of what Sony hasn’t announced: Price, launch date (aside from “end of year 2011“), 3G coverage options, cost of games, battery life, on-board storage capacity, resolution of front- and rear-facing cameras.


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19 Comments For This Post

  1. nick dafo Says:

    It is just great, totally blew away my expectations.
    Wonder if the ngp name is final, i think it is good!

    Man, quad core….
    We havent even seen that many dual core devices yet, i mean mobile devices not PCs

  2. nintendo guy Says:

    i rather get a 3ds than this waste of money!

  3. epic muffin Says:

    I wonder if you will be able to download ps1 classics for it

  4. sonyfanboy Says:

    yes it would

  5. Tucker Monticelli Says:

    Yes :p

  6. Bob Says:

    Yes you can

  7. NauseousPenguin Says:

    They said the battery life, it's about six or seven hours.

  8. David Says:

    The ngp is going to be better than the 3ds i dont care what any one says. And i herd call of duty is going to be on it

  9. Mouhsine Says:

    I'm not againt nintendo but i think that NDS is for dum people who cant concentrate and play games that high amount of intelligence and concentration ,i ll do anything to get my hands on a psp even that i'm from morocco and 300 $ seems very expensive but i will get one no matter what

  10. Reki Says:

    Wow, really? Most Playstation games (PS2, PS3 , PSP) require mostly button mashing. All of the popular games require no thought whatsoever. However, games are made for the DS/Wii that require thought. They include puzzles as well as other challenges to make the player think.


    God of War (PS3/PSP) – Mash this button to kill everything. Game is over before you even realize it.

    Lost in Blue (NDS) – Fend of wild animals, gather materials, build the tools you need.


    Killzone (PS3/PSP) – Duck into cover, kill everyone, get to exit.

    Metroid Series (NES/SNES/GBA/NDS/GC/Wii) – Quick fingerplay and certain tactics/weapons to destroy enemies. Abilities gained later allow further access to the world.


    Now, what was that about Nintendo devices made for 'dum people who cant concentrate and play games that require that high amount of intelligence and concentration'? Considering all of the PS fanboys I know are actually less intelligent than their Nintendo and MS counterparts.

  11. Jeff Says:

    Not exactly. you should know more about Playstation games before you start arguing how stupid you think it is. Now don't get me wrong i'm a Nintendo fan too, but theres plenty of games in Playstation that require some skill and thought. Like Final Fantasy. its a full on strategy game.
    and a whole list of others that i cant think of now. so research before you start blabbing about Playstation. and theres a problem with most of Nintendo games. THEY ARE ALL TOO SHORT. Every time i buy a Nintendo game i always beat it in a week. and when i buy anew playstation it takes me a while to beat.

  12. Lunias Says:

    Dissidia: Final Fantasy; completely original. Valkyria Chronicles II; first on PS3, never on Nintendo system. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker; first MGS game only for PS1. Burnout: Legends; yes, it's a racing game, but strategy is involved (kinda); Star Wars: Battlefront series is just fun. Need I list more?

  13. Douglas Thompson Says:

    Lol actually the first Mgs was on nintendo, the first 3d Mgs was on ps1 tho.

  14. Douglas Thompson Says:

    But aside from all that…I will be getting the ngp, way more appealing to have awesome games on a huge screen.

  15. Jon-Paul Says:

    God of War is more than just button mashing; it's button timing. And the game punishes you in god mode for getting it wrong. Of course if you play on easy, then yeah… mash away, but serious gamers don't play on easy anyway.

  16. ffgfg Says:

    C'mon. Nintendo and Sony are both awesome. Just depends on your taste, if you like Nintendo then play Nintendo games but if you like Sony then play Sony games if you like both then play both. No need to criticize.
    The NGP is so cool!!

  17. ffgfg Says:

    and so is the Nintendo 3DS

  18. gfgh Says:



  19. monkey Says:

    can anyone tell me wats the storage capacity for the ngp????