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!

Comments

Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
AMOLED

Ever seen an AMOLED screen up close?

n/a
clok1966
Offline
Joined: 01/21/2009
NGP Price leaked
Nous wrote:

Ever seen an AMOLED screen up close?

Nope so is it good or bad?

AND!!! $299 (leaked by gamestop so take with grain of salt) NGP DOOMED from PRICE! taking on the 3DS and having a $50 higher pricetage with no "market speak" tagline of 3D!!!!! to shout... this is going to make the PSPGo look like a hot item :( so sad.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
I don't know, if it really is

I don't know, if it really is "just" $299, it might be a fair price if Sony can market the techno-lust factor correctly and that's a big "if" based on their past efforts. Any more and it's going to be a much tougher sell as we've discussed endlessly...

n/a
Catatonic
Offline
Joined: 05/20/2006
amoled
Nous wrote:

Ever seen an AMOLED screen up close?

Yes I sometimes use a Samsung Wave with Super AMOLED screen as a development device at work. To my eyes the contrast is often so high that it's hard on the eyes, and the colors are unnaturally super saturated, but I never take the thing outside, I think these screens do well outdoors, they are supposed to be less reflective. It also bugs me that there are color fringes and sometimes straight lines look dotted or a bit fuzzy. It is due to each pixel not having a red, green and blue subpixel, they cheat by only using two subpixels per pixel (every pixel has a green subpixel, but only half of them have red and the other half have blue). Another interesting thing is that Samsung deliberately makes the UI of their AMOLED phones predominately black because it extends battery life. Samsung make cheaper LCD phones with the same OS but they have a white-background UI instead.

Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
Big BADA boom!
Catatonic wrote:
Nous wrote:

Ever seen an AMOLED screen up close?

Yes I sometimes use a Samsung Wave with Super AMOLED screen as a development device at work. To my eyes the contrast is often so high that it's hard on the eyes, and the colors are unnaturally super saturated, but I never take the thing outside, I think these screens do well outdoors, they are supposed to be less reflective. It also bugs me that there are color fringes and sometimes straight lines look dotted or a bit fuzzy. It is due to each pixel not having a red, green and blue subpixel, they cheat by only using two subpixels per pixel (every pixel has a green subpixel, but only half of them have red and the other half have blue). Another interesting thing is that Samsung deliberately makes the UI of their AMOLED phones predominately black because it extends battery life. Samsung make cheaper LCD phones with the same OS but they have a white-background UI instead.

The issue you mentioned about sometimes things (especially text in some cases) looking a bit "fuzzy" , that's true but I've only ever seen it on Samsung's AMOLED screens, specifically on the Wave and Galaxy S handsets. There is no such problem at all (*at all*) on Nokia's CBD or "plain" AMOLED devices (N8, C7, C6-01, E7) and I know for a fact that it's also not there at all on the NGP ...

By the way, you are a BADA developer??? What do you do exactly ?

n/a
Catatonic
Offline
Joined: 05/20/2006
super amoled
Nous wrote:

The issue you mentioned about sometimes things (especially text in some cases) looking a bit "fuzzy" , that's true but I've only ever seen it on Samsung's AMOLED screens, specifically on the Wave and Galaxy S handsets. There is no such problem at all (*at all*) on Nokia's CBD or "plain" AMOLED devices (N8, C7, C6-01, E7) and I know for a fact that it's also not there at all on the NGP ...

By the way, you are a BADA developer??? What do you do exactly ?

Sounds good. The only AMOLED screen I've spent time with is the Super AMOLED in a Samsung Wave. Surely the tech improves all the time. Yes I have developed for the Bada platform at work. (We also develop for Blackberry, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7)

Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
Yep!

Yes, definitely ... $299 may be "fair" but it's still very expensive for a gaming portable device. I hope they can also do subsidy deals with operators (for the 3G version) and push other features (a great web browser, document reader and social connectivity would help). Sony is not Apple ...

As for the AMOLED screens .. they're AMAZING ... they are so much better than usual LCD/TFT screens it's unbelievable ... it's hard to explain, you have to see one to understand what I'm talking about ... and the viewing angles are insane, I mean they maintain perfect clarity at ANY viewing angle.

n/a
Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
Battle Plan

While Jack Tretton wasn't ready to discuss the potential of PlayStation Suite on other platforms, a recently translated post-PlayStation Meeting roundtable with Kaz Hirai showed it's definitely on Sony's mind. According to Tech-On, Hirai said "(Sony) might provide the PSS as a killer application to spread the use of the Google TV," while also mentioning Windows and iOS as other mobile operating systems it could target. Still, don't think Sony is gearing up to take on living room gaming (and potentially Apple TV) from a new angle just yet as Hirai made clear smartphones were priority number one, followed by the quickly expanding tablet market. One way or another, even if you're not yet interested in a new PSP or Android phone, expect to see the PlayStation Certified sticker creeping into even more devices eventually.

n/a
Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
XPERIA PLAY

n/a
Nous
Nous's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/07/2007
XPERIA commercial

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.