2011 is proving to be simply amazing for handheld gaming, and even the overflow of gaming apps for iPhone and Android phones. Now, we get to enjoy two new kids in the block, Nintendo 3DS and the Sony NGP, which is also known as the PSP 2. Sony’s code word for the PSP2 is NGP, which stands for Nice Gamey Playtime. The main question still seems to be, if dedicated controls such as the NGP is still relevant or not, or will they just go into the category of tape recorders and HD DVDs. Though this is not a hands on review of the NGP, we can expect what to get out of it with the essential specifications. You will not be able to get your hands on the NGP until Christmas, but as soon as we get to it, we will give you a detailed review.
Sony has named the shape of NGP PSP2 as Super Oval Design. As far as the dimensions are concerned, the NGP is not one of those ultra compact types, as you will have to stretch your palms quite a bit. Measuring (W x H x D) 182 x 84 x 19mm, the Sony NGP is bigger than the PSP 3000, but a little thinner. The size of the display alone is as big as an iPhone 4. Being a lot wider than the 3DS, this is not going to fit into your pocket, unless you are still in the 80’s wearing baggies. It will not take too much space in a handbag or your backpack, but, do keep in mind the NGP is always going to be something of a headache to carry around.
Two Analogue Sticks:
One of the biggest criticisms the original PSP got was that, it did not have two sticks, well, this one has. On the front of the Sony NGP Handheld Console, you will find two analogue sticks that will make game playing on this device, as though you are using a controller, for a household gaming console of this era. With a 5″ OLED touchscreen display of resolution 960 x 544 pixels, we do not think that the NGP’s display will be an issue. The pixels seem to be plenty, but as we all know, there is a lot more to an amazing display than just the resolution, we are hoping that the panel will be quite bright and vivid. Sony has its work cut out with the OLED display as this 5” screen is going to just suck out the battery juice, which does not sound ideal for a device that is meant to be for portable gaming. Though you can always dim and preserve some battery, this will result in inferior gaming. We are quite eager to find out how Sony is going to manage this issue.
Touch Sensitive Rear:
On the rear side of the Sony NGP PS2 Game Console there is a touch-sensitive area that is about the same size of the display in the front. This area works much like that of a trackpad on laptops. As you can imagine, it is pocked and stroked while gaming. There is some real potential in this new idea. The combo of touchable front and back is fascinating, as Sony refers to stuff like “grab, touch, trace, push and movements. Actually, we really cannot wait to try it on our own, and the developers who will create really cool games is going to be incredibly interesting. There might be some cursor on the main display that will indicate where you are poking below; otherwise, it is going to be tricky to keep track of what your finger is doing. Audio wise, you get twin speakers and a microphone.
We can imagine that the display will be the most exciting aspect of the Sony NGP handheld. Staying with the successful template and at the same time increasing the power of the handheld will be nice, but we would like some innovation. Only time will tell how this particular aspect of the NGP will prove to be. Sony is also going to equip the NGP with the front and rear cameras. There is also a great deal of internal sensors that will allow the NGP fully equipped to deliver everything that is required to offer some reality.
As far as connectivity is concerned, you will get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and 3G. With this connectivity option, you get to download content and also browse the net if you have strayed away from s WiFi hotspot. We are not sure on how you will be paying for mobile-data usage; you may end up paying some monthly subscription or pay for some 3G SIM card. Of course, Sony can always make 3G usage free, like Amazon has done with the Kindle, but we will be surprised if it does. SCE (Sony Computer Entertainment) claims that every NGP’s game title will be allotted a space named the LiveArea where gamers will be allowed to share the excitement and fun with other gamers.
Hope that Sony will also facilitate online gaming with 3G, rather than restricting the internet facilities to just browsing and social networking; another thing that we have to wait and see. Word has it that the the Sony NGP PSP will soon offer access to one of the version of the PlayStation Suite, which is an online games store for Android that us under development. This suite allows you to download some of the classic PlayStation titles and also access the PlayStation network, from where you get to download heaps of other game related stuff. With this feature, PSP2 gets to play Android games and Android phones can play PSP2 games. However, when it comes to the latest games, the NGP will just stick with physical media. It seems that the Trophies system of Sony that was present in PlayStation Network, so you will be able to score points whenever you play, even on Android phone.
Games on Cards:
Fortunately, Sony seems to have had a clean break-up with the Universal Media Disk. It has got back to housing its games on cards that can be slotted into the NGP itself. These cards are of the same size as that of the usual SD memory cards, but we will be really stunned if they turn out to be real SD cards as we know well that Sony prefers using its own Proprietary formats.
The insides of the Sony NGP are very thoughtful. You get a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 processor powering this handheld delight. For seamless gaming, there is an SGX543MP4+ graphics unit, which is an incredibly potent piece of hardware. Just hope that, by the time NGP comes into the market, it is not outclassed by something else. We are also worried if this powerful hardware will also put a great deal of strain on the battery.
GPS and Sensor:
Since the NGP has built-in GPS, Sony promises some interesting location aware games through the PlayStation Network. You get an application called Near, which will let you know if your friends are near you. You also get the three axis gyroscope, three axis accelerometer and three axis electronic compass.
We are sure that the Sony NGP is going to be a great handheld gaming treat as far as performance is concerned. A few great ideas such as the inclusion of 3G and touch-sensitive area in the rear, will make the PSP 2 very special. Our major concern is that, it is going to be released so late, that the tech world might have just moved on and will no longer seem to be enticing. Make sure that you come back for our detailed review on the Sony NGP handheld gaming console.