Sony's PSP2, aka NGP - Doomed from the Start? (and a quick mention of Sony Ericsson Xperia Play)

Bill Loguidice's picture

Sony officially announced their PSP successor, code-named Next Generation Portable (NGP). Details here. As you can see, its main technical features of note are a high resolution 5" inch OLED touch screen on the front, a multi-touch pad on the back, two analog sticks, and two cameras. It also has six-axis motion sensing system similar to the PS3's controller and a three-axis electronic compass. Typical for Sony, it's another "kitchen sink" handheld, with the only notable omission being 3D, a la the Nintendo 3DS. Unlike the 3DS - and even though I'm a long-time owner of the original PSP - I'm finding little to be excited about with Sony's new handheld. The PSP failed - relatively speaking, of course - because it did nothing to distinguish itself as a portable. Sony's strategy was to offer a portable console, which many people have no interest in. There appears to be a similar strategy with the NGP. The PSP was somewhere in-between the PS1 and PS2 in terms of power, the NGP is somewhere in-between a PS2 and PS3 in terms of power. If you look at the software list from the link, it's the same types of titles you get on the PS3. While there will be the usual augmented reality and sharing features (again, just like the Nintendo 3DS), the idea of a dedicated portable like this in today's world of smartphones and tablets seems a bit counter-intuitive, and it doesn't have the 3D angle Nintendo's 3DS features. As such, I'm skeptical of the NGP's success.

Rather further under the radar is the announcement of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, an Android phone that appears to offer PSP-like gaming and some ability to run the same type of software (albeit of the lowest common denominator variety, potentially taking some of the bloom off of owning the superior gaming platform if developers target both). This strategy makes somewhat more sense in that consumer energy is really behind smartphones these days, but to my mind Sony should have done the Xperia Play AND made the PSP2 a 7" Honeycomb tablet with the full complement of gaming controls and beefed up hardware. This way they could also sub-license to Android and Honeycomb vendors "PSP-powered" gaming technology. That to me would have made a far greater impact. As it is, I think Sony is not going to make much of a dent with the Xperia Play because Android-powered smartphones (technology-wise) are a fast moving target (and phones tend to get replaced every two years anyway), and the NGP - no matter how inherently cool - is not a distinctive enough technology to pull enough people away from the 3DS and their existing (or future) smartphones and tablets, the latter two of which already make formidable modern day gaming platforms. Sorry, Sony.

Agree or disagree with my assessment? Sound off in the comments!

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Nous
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DOA
Bill Loguidice wrote:

The PSP Go is now dead: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/34178/Report_Sony_Ceasing_PSP_Go_Prod...

Not surprising as Sony really bungled the launch and placement, and they have other products they're now focusing on.

It really was DOA, no two ways about it.

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Matt Barton
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Guess the Go kinda came and

Guess the Go kinda came and went.

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Bill Loguidice
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Sony announces two Android 3.0 tablets

Check it out here: http://www.gizmag.com/sony-tablet-android-3/18485/?utm_source=Gizmag+Sub...

Obviously this is old news, but it's getting closer...

There have been mixed reports of the 3DS's success or lack thereof, but with two million seller software titles and over 4 million systems sold, I think it's safe to say that the 3DS will do just fine...

I'm still not sure what to make of the NGP, but I can see it doing at least half as well if the price is not too outrageous...

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Nous
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Sales

Not sure those numbers are accurate, let's give it another month or two and see what sales actually look like!

Also, for the first time: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2011/04/2topimage924g24801...

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Bill Loguidice
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3DS Sales
Nous wrote:

Not sure those numbers are accurate, let's give it another month or two and see what sales actually look like!

Those numbers are accurate (though it's more like just under 4 million units sold), but even Nintendo has said that the latest results are disappointing and they essentially need to do a better job about getting the word out. So it seems after the initial flurry of just under 4 million systems sold and two 1+ million selling games, there's been some type of drop off.

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Nous
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Not so...

There is no way they sold 3.6m units by the end of March (maybe by now .. perhaps .. but not by end of March, as stated, unless those are "units shipped" not "units sold"). By end of March in japan they hadn't even sold one million units and you might get another million if you add sales in the US and Europe, combined. Again, I emphasise, I am talking about sales to end of March. Already by then sales had started to drop considerably.

We'll soon find out what the actual picture looks like. The million+ selling titles of course are perfectly plausible even if they'd sold little more than 2 million 3DS units to end users.

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clok1966
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Its shipped and "not in

Its shipped and "not in nintendos" stock... many large companies buy in bulk to save money and sit on stock for months. Pick a Hot item (well an item that was thought to be hot) and they stock up so they can move units and not run out. Nintendo was the master at creating demand by not putting enough prodcut out with the Wii... at first it was smart... everybody thought Nintendo was going to be an ALSO RAN with the Wii.. i think even nintendo did.. so they didnt over manufacture... when demand built they seen how releaseing product at a slow but steady stream kept demand high and ran with it (nobody can tell me you couldnt up production in over a YEAR+ timeframe).

MS and SONY are famous for the XXX sold statments while MS counts EVERY 360 sold (rrod replacements too, bonus sold for them, as one dont work anymore) but EVERY company does this... a broken unit is still sold, so what if its not used and you count the new one too, its just a bit more decieving when you have a fail rate as large as the 360 did. When the console wars heated up at christmas the first year teh PS3 was out, SONY pushed specific quantities on retialers to up thier sell throuhg numbers for the holiday season.. many sat in warehouses over christmas but in SONY's eyes they where sold. this is nothing new, or "wrong" with this... depending on how you think. its impossilbe to keep retial sales numbers as many retailers dont want to report them as its such a pain for stocks (panics and such).

I would bet if they say 4 million, its probebly close to 3 or 3.4 sold the rest are sitting on shelves. My local used game shop wont tkae Kinect or Moves and the used ones are cheap... and they have at least 10+ of each of the games for $9.99... Impulse buying of products with no support is not a good thing.

I have got the chance to play with the 3DS for more then a few minutes and now I wont be getting one, the 3D is interesting and I liked it alot in short bursts.. but extended play... no way... so why have one if i just use it like a DS? I was so close to picking one up when i got to test it for short bursts, iw was interesting enought ot make me want it. alot.. And My move and Kinect are both unused (well except Killzone and MOve.. I do like that), I need a closet fr my unused stuff nowdays.. I dont know why I bought my Ipad (cheap from our company when they got Ipad2 upgrades) its unused too... Im a tech guy who loves tech but dont use it I guess.. maybe sitting at a PC all day for 20 years has finally burned me out on the fun part of tinkiering with it..no.. still love to tinker, just not use ...

Nous
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NGP .. err ... PS Vita to retail for $249 ?? !!

Yep!

$249 ... for the WiFi model. It's official.

Few expected that low a price point.

Will apparently be available THIS holiday season!

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Bill Loguidice
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Definitely priced right
Nous wrote:

Yep!

$249 ... for the WiFi model. It's official.

Few expected that low a price point.

Will apparently be available THIS holiday season!

As I mentioned in my E3 blog post, I think both models are at the right price point and the specs and software announcements all look up to snuff. Definitely an exciting system. With that said, it remains to be seen what public reaction will be, especially given the tepid response overall to the 3DS. Sony definitely has a tough road to hoe in this new age of smartphones and tablets, and what will eventually be four consoles competing for consumer gaming dollars...

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clok1966
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4?
Bill Loguidice wrote:

and what will eventually be four consoles competing for consumer gaming dollars...

4? what am I missing? I thought we where at 3 and a bunch of dreamers (like onlive, who if you beleive net traffic is taking a big hit as they are shutting servers down not putting in new ones like they bragged about in july last year).

Have you used onlive more Bill? They just sent me a 12 month free and 2 games offer, im tempted.

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