Posted on January 26, 2011, Phil Hornshaw Sony’s New ‘NGP’ Features Dual Analog Sticks, Everything We Thought
UPDATE: Engadget is reporting the NGP’s stats, complete with a stats sheet from Sony that details everything we’ve mentioned below. Most notable is the system’s quad-core Cortex-A9 and quad-core Imagination Technologies Power VR SGX543MP4+GPU. Laymen’s terms — it’s powerful. Like, more powerful than any handheld ever. As it would appear, powerful enough to handle slightly modified Playstation 3 games.
Sony is right now rolling out the “Next Generation Portable,” the thing we’ve been calling PSP 2, and it’s got basically everything we thought it did plus one cool new feature: cross-platform compatibility. And judging from the game demos played at the show, the portable not only is as powerful as the PS3, it’ll probably have PS3 games ported straight to it.
The new portable boasts dual analog sticks, a five-inch OLED touchscreen that’s supposed to have four times the resolution of current PSPs, front- and rear-facing cameras, a rear touchpad, a gyrosensor and support from Playstation Suite, Sony’s new Android app that allows users to download old emulated Playstation games and new games developed specifically for Sony. It’s also supposed to support viewing from all angles.
NGP will carry 3G support in addition to Wi-Fi support for online gaming, and the Playstation Suite support means you’ll be able to play it against people playing Playstation games on their Android phones. That’s a big deal.
Sony also announced a lot of big franchises that’ll appear on the new device: Hot Shots Golf, Killzone, Uncharted, Resistance and LittleBigPlanet were among the names. Support from other third-party developers seems massive as well.
One of the more interesting features is the five-inch touchpad on the back of the device. It mirrors the size and location of the screen, so when you touch the touchpad, it’s like touching the screen. Games can be compatible with multiple types of controls, including the touchscreen controls you would get on a device like the iPhone or an Android smartphone. The touchpad gives you touchscreen abilities without having to crowd up the screen with your fingers.
The touch controls also seem more responsive than those you get on a mobile device — during the demo, objects were moved around the screen by pinching them with two fingers. That kind of multitouch versatility could mean some very cool game controls are in the works for this thing.
Another thing: the combination of those cameras and a gyroscopic sensor in the NGP give it augmented reality capabilities. During its demo, Sony showed the NGP switching to a first-person view during Hot Shots Golf and moving the device around in physical space in order to change the view of the course.
So far, we don’t have a price point for the new portable, but Harai mentioned having it on shelves by the 2011 holiday season. Start saving — it’ll probably be expensive.