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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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
PSVita competition and OnLive
clok1966 wrote:

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.

I was referring to what we know of as the "Wii U" as the fourth console. So that's four consoles and a 3DS armed with all the franchise games revealed at E3 that the PSVita has to compete with, not to mention all the smartphones and tablets (some of which are from Sony themselves). It's going to be a tough road for Sony with the PSVita, but at least they got two things right so far--the hardware is well done and the price point is reasonable.

As for OnLive, yep, I've used it more, though mostly on the OnLive console. Actually, I recently pre-ordered Duke Nukem Forever through OnLive and got a free second console as a bonus, which I wanted for the controller (that's a better deal than just buying a second controller, even though I could technically use a 360 controller). They're regularly giving away the consoles free with game pre-orders. Definitely worth it if you have a wired connection by your TV (I'm using a powerline LAN connector for that area, which works well). I only own two games so far if you don't count the Duke Nukem Forever pre-order, Trine and Borderlands Game of the Year Edition. I haven't bothered subscribing to the PlayPass due to lack of time, but I'll probably get around to it when I do have time. I played several hours of Trine and loved it. No performance hiccups and just like playing locally. It really is a great service, and it's nice to see them expand into the UK (I see Mark is on it too, though I'm not sure how he's using it).

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
i may just have to splurge

i may just have to splurge HEHE on a free console the deals Onlive has sent are pretty great. if you think it works ok ( yes I know, net traffic is different everywhere os no judge of what I will get) I may just try it.. cant beat the price.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
OnLive
clok1966 wrote:

i may just have to splurge HEHE on a free console the deals Onlive has sent are pretty great. if you think it works ok ( yes I know, net traffic is different everywhere os no judge of what I will get) I may just try it.. cant beat the price.

Yeah, performance will definitely vary, but even over wireless it was a pretty stable connection. I'd definitely do it over wired or some other steady state connection, though. I think you'll be impressed.

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Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
OnLive again

By the way, I forgot to mention that I put in 30 minutes with Ghostbusters on OnLive as well last week. Very smooth performance. That's the other nice thing about OnLive. You can try ANY game in their catalog for free for 30 minutes before deciding if you want to buy it or not. That's actually better than a demo because you're playing the actual game, not some gimped version.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I think I'll check it out,

I think I'll check it out, why not. I think my main problem right now will be lack of inputs on my TV.. PC/360/ps3/wii, cable HDMI/ps2 I think all i ahve left are crappy comp connections. What outputs does it have again ( guess i can go to their site). The wii hasnt been used in years.. can swap that out I guess.

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
HDMI on the OnLive console
clok1966 wrote:

I think I'll check it out, why not. I think my main problem right now will be lack of inputs on my TV.. PC/360/ps3/wii, cable HDMI/ps2 I think all i ahve left are crappy comp connections. What outputs does it have again ( guess i can go to their site). The wii hasnt been used in years.. can swap that out I guess.

It's HDMI only (the cable is included with the console) and it also has optical audio out. The component video cables are extra. It's really meant for HDMI and 1080p. Of course you can just use your regular computer to demo the service. Apparently the playable iPad and Android tablet versions are imminent too. I'll be curious how those work, particularly with the lack of physical control. Right now the apps are view only.

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Nous
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Joined: 04/07/2007
We were actually all

We were actually all expecting something like $349 or even $399 .... $249 is a shockingly good price point, especially considering two things: 1) the price of the much inferior (i.e. lower spec, cheaper to manufacture, etc) 3DS, and 2) the fact that the PS Vita will still be by far the most high-spec portable device out there, bar none.

While its fate remains unknown, its price point is definitely impressive!

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